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we're plural.

protomagicalgirl Dec 31st, 2018 (edited) 37,725 Never
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  1. Let's start 2019 off right.
  2.  
  3. I'm plural.
  4.  
  5. We're plural, even.
  6.  
  7. In the past, we've talked about our notion that the persons alexis and Protomagicalgirl were, metaphorically speaking, different. A cute, femme, affectionate girl and a big, boisterous, confident, streamer entity hellbent on success.
  8.  
  9. It turns out there was no metaphoricality about it! alexis and Proto are completely different conscious entities in our shared mind. Over the past month-ish, we've been working hard to understand our plural self, and now it's time to share that understanding with everyone.
  10.  
  11.  
  12.  
  13. -- what is this "plurality" thing? what the heck are you talking about?
  14.  
  15. https://pluralityresource.org defines plurality:
  16.  
  17. "The most simplified definition of the term plural that includes all people who take the label is “someone who shares the same physical body with other individuals.”  Such a group is sometimes referred to as a system, though many plural groups use different terminology.  Because plurality can take many vastly different forms, it is difficult to expand this definition without excluding someone who might otherwise share characteristics or concerns with most other members of the community.  It does seem this basic trait is the only thing groups of people who refer to themselves as plural universally share.  In other words, there are many, many ways to be plural, and no two systems are the same even as far as basic characteristics.  There are a lot of trends in the community, however, and various types within the umbrella term of plural that seem to be subsets.
  18.  
  19. "There is a prevailing theory in the community that sees plurality as a spectrum going from singlet (one person in one physical body) to median (a term describing groups that have one main member plus others who are somewhat separate) to multiple (a group of distinct individuals in which more than one person can take control of the physical body).  Groups who deviate from these subsets are seen as occupying an in-between ground along the spectrum."
  20.  
  21.  
  22.  
  23. -- Who exactly are "you," then?
  24.  
  25. We consider ourselves a median system because we're not fully separate - we mostly share the same memories, perspective, beliefs, et cetera, but separate in some significant ways. We're like a venn diagram!
  26.  
  27. [median is the halfway point between single and multiple and means a lot of different things to different people. our experience of medianhood is not universal. -a]
  28.  
  29. Nothing about this should be very new or scary since y'all already basically know us. Some of you might be more familiar with our streamer / branding / Online Personality side, others more familiar with the girl behind the marketing mask. If you've ever noticed how we tend to rapidly and unpredictably switch grammar / tone modes from "imma cute girl i love cute stuffies!!" to "Hello, this is an Official Brand Announcement from Protomagicalgirl, Inc.," well... yeah, that.
  30.  
  31. So let's formally introduce ourselves for the first time ever!
  32.  
  33. hi, i'm alexis!
  34.  
  35. my pronouns are it/its and she/her, and i'll be tagging tweets and posts i write from here on out with -a. i don't like capital letters. i'm a girl, and basically the source of all of our gender. i'm the magnemite liker, the plushie hugger, and the feminine, giggly, bubbly girl who loves her partners very, very much. also i guess i'm the autistic traits? or at least most of them? read further down and that claim will make more sense. -a
  36.  
  37. Hi, I'm Proto.
  38.  
  39. I'll be tagging posts with -P. I'm not sure what pronouns I'm going to be using yet as long as it's not he, so she, they, it, or xe would be fine. Xe/xir is the frontrunning candidate rn. We thought about giving me a "real people" name, but we've been Proto about as long as we've been alexis, so the monicker has stuck, and it makes a heck of a lot of sense for me to have an internet/streamer-y name, anyways. I'm genderless as far as I can tell, but that could change, as I'm still working on decoupling my experience of gender from alexis'.
  40.  
  41. I'm the Video Game Antichrist, the smooth talker, interview hoster, and so on and so forth. I'm our confidence, bravado, competitiveness, and drive to succeed. I'm sort of what one could describe as a "flat character" right now. I don't have a lot of memories, experiences, or grander personality traits to call my own since I've been hiding within alexis for so long, but with time, just like any conscious entity, I'll grow. -P
  42.  
  43.  
  44.  
  45. -- What does being plural really mean? What's it like?
  46.  
  47. This section is gonna be kind of rambly. Brains are weird and it's hard to describe experiences that come from within them in ways that make sense externally.
  48.  
  49. Being plural is sort of like just being with someone else all the time, except you also share the same brain and body. Learning to communicate between ourselves has been, and continues to be, rather difficult. We can only really do it effectively when we have total privacy and are in the right state of mind, but as time has gone on the past few weeks we've been getting better. When this all started, we couldn't communicate at all! Then, we could, but it was terse and emotionless, but now we can have real human-like conversations!
  50.  
  51. Plurality is sort of like multiple people having a remote to control the same RC car, wherein the car is your body and the people are headmates:
  52.  
  53. "Your body is an RC car that everyone in-system can control remotely. You can be talking and screwing around in the mindscape while the body pours a drink, or changes channels on the TV. Sometimes, for more intensive tasks, whoever has the controller at the moment will have to focus more than usual on what the body is up to, and sometimes they will be less occupied."
  54.  
  55. [quote from "Your Body is an RC Car – Watcher" at https://tulpa.io/possession-and-cofronting-tips-and-articles]
  56.  
  57. In a sense (and with some limitations), plurality is really just a significantly more dramatic form of compartmentalization - if you've ever said "one part of me wants x, but another wants y," that's sort of the deal!
  58.  
  59. Plurality isn't always smooth sailing. As with seperate people, headmates can be in conflict. A major part of the reason we haven't been streaming much in the back half of 2018 (besides school) is that we're struggling to decide /how/ to stream. Proto wants the fancy layouts, graphics, alerts, cameras, all the big bang production, while alexis wants exactly precisely none of that, and struggles deeply with feeling like our stream in its current state is "dishonest" of who she really is.
  60.  
  61. Before we knew we were plural, that "internal divide" seemed completely insurmountable. Now, however, it's not so scary - just like in physical friendships, we can communicate, express our feelings, wants, and needs to each other, and make compromises, and so we can work out our different streaming goals! Or, at least, we will. We're still working on that. i (-a) still have a lot of trouble giving up control, especially when it comes to our stream, which has been an issue. In the future, you might see us do our own individual streams now that we're out as plural. Or something. Just like in physical friendships, making compromises and agreements over polarizing issues is difficult.
  62.  
  63. The past month has been full of unique and interesting experiences. Talking to each other, learning to switch who's in front (aka controlling the body), trying to figure out who we are, and finding out in all sorts of little ways what being plural is like.
  64.  
  65. For example, last night, alexis tweeted about making a magnemite gijinka cosplay. A few minutes later, Proto took the front (we've found that Proto will often just jump into the front when alexis thinks about xir. we can't fully control switching yet. -a), and saw this tweet, and "I" (that is, the front) had a moment of "wait, what, I didn't write this tweet!"
  66.  
  67. We consider our plural relationship to be one of working together. Each of us have skills, strengths, and weaknesses that compliment each other. It's kind of like one of the big two-person mechs from Pacific Rim, except not really, but sort of.
  68.  
  69. Hopefully that gives you something of an idea of what our brain is like. Trust me (-P), we don't get it either.
  70.  
  71.  
  72.  
  73. -- Ok, that's nice, but how will this effect MY life?
  74.  
  75. It probably won't very much! Since we're so deeply connected as a median system, we'll both be around and generally continue to act as "normal." For now, we'll still be sharing all the same accounts and profiles, and you'll be able to communicate with both of us as before.
  76.  
  77. Like we mentioned above, we might try having dedicated Proto streams vs alexis streams.
  78.  
  79. We'll be using we/us/our interchangeably with i/me/my depending on the situation. The large number of things that we two share (ie, our love for video games, Megaman, and speedrunning) means that we do a lot of things "together" mentally, so saying I would often be disengenuous.
  80.  
  81. When things are done seperately, we'll be marking them with the tags -a for alexis and -P for Proto, or doing something similar and more situationally appropriate.
  82.  
  83.  
  84.  
  85. -- How did this come to be? How did you become plural?
  86.  
  87. There's sort of two questions to be answered here. "How did you realize you were plural?" and "how did you become plural?" One of these has a concrete answer, the other does not.
  88.  
  89. 1. How did you realize you were plural?
  90.  
  91. Our journey to plurality happened roughly over the course of 3 or 4 months. While the seed of potentially realizing plurality was around longer, there were a few specific events that created the conditions in which we were able to ascertain the nature of our seperation.
  92.  
  93. First, my (-a) partner Charlotte, aka @EeveeRespecter, realized she was plural. We were able to get some up close and personal experience with plurality through spending time with Charlotte and Lily. We got to see switching, fronting, and cofronting, and experienced what it's like to interact with and as a plural system. We also got to see what kinds of conflicts plurality can entail when Charlotte and Lily's wants didn't line up.
  94.  
  95. Second, our friends Samara et al., aka @squidlarkin, realized they were plural. We got to directly witness their journey to accepting and understanding their plurality by seeing much of their internal dialog transcribed, which gave us really helpful insight into the way plurality works internally and all the diverse forms plurality can take (Samara and co.'s plurality is very, VERY different than our own).
  96.  
  97. All this time, we (or maybe i, alexis? unsure.) had a sense of our own "interest" in plurality. We didn't mention it to anyone because we were scared it was an unhealthy/creepy/possibly fetisishistic interest.
  98.  
  99. The final nail in the coffin came in the form of a private message convo with a member of the Power up With Pride community. They asked us if protomagicalalt (a meme twitch account run by a friend of ours) was an alter of ours. "Oh, haha," we responded, "no, I'm not plural. That's just a friend of mine."
  100.  
  101. We proceeded to talk more about plurality, and eventually admitted to some of our feelings on plurality - "it seems really cool and interesting," "it seems like a thing that's helpful for a lot of people Who Definitely Are Not Us For Sure," "in a way, we kind of wish we were plural," so on and so forth.
  102.  
  103. Those of you reading this who are trans might see where this is going. The parallels between being trans and being plural run deep and are not lost on us.
  104.  
  105. A sudden moment of realization.
  106.  
  107. The way we felt about plurality was EXACTLY the same as the way someone who doesn't know or accept that they're trans feels about being trans. They want "the happiness it gives other people" for themselves, being [gender] "seems cool," they're scared that the creeping interest they have in it is gross and objectifying, the whole bit, play for play.
  108.  
  109. [btw, if that's how you feel about being trans, you're trans. our discord messages are open if you wanna talk.]
  110.  
  111. There was no other explanation for this. We're plural.
  112.  
  113. Over the following days, we took our first steps into plurality, such as trying to have conversations, switching who's in front, and calling ourselves "we." We searched and filtered through our brain to try and figure out who and what was alexis or Proto. Since then, it's been a gradual process of learning, reading, conversing, and trying things out, and now here we are.
  114.  
  115. 2. How did you become plural?
  116.  
  117. Disclaimer: The following discussion is ENTIRELY SPECULATIVE. While the theory we are about to present is fairly well substantiated, we cannot objectively prove it.
  118.  
  119. We believe that Proto was created to step in for alexis when she was forced to go through ABA therapy.
  120.  
  121. For those unaware, ABA therapy is a {cruel and unethical, if you ask us, and also completely ineffective) "treatment" for the kinds of "social difficulties" (read: differences from neurotypical people that they're frankly too lazy to learn to work with) autistic people have. In ABA therapy, alexis was essentially forced to spend hours Acting Neurotypical - making eye contact, having "regular" conversations (read: forced, uncomfortable conversations with an extremely high emphasis on alexis never being allowed to talk about herself or anything she cares about), etc. This therapy experience was extremely traumatizing for us. We're still learning the full extent of that trauma.
  122.  
  123. alexis couldn't handle this ""therapy"" to the level that her neurotypical therapist and family demanded of her, so her subonscious created Proto to do it instead.
  124.  
  125. As we said above, Proto is the smooth talker, the host and emcee, the pro streamer, the interviewer and interviewee. Proto's strongest desire in life is to succeed, to be the absolute best, and for everyone in the world to know her name (that's a pretty big goal, but hey, shoot for the moon, right?). Proto came into existence not only to play the neurotypicals' game, but to win it - xe came in to play the game better than any of them ever did. Revenge in the form of success. The perfect plan!
  126.  
  127. And so, Proto took over to carry alexis through hell.
  128.  
  129. ... Like we said, that was entirely speculative. It would make a very large amount of sense if it were true, but we'll never know for sure.
  130.  
  131.  
  132.  
  133. -- tl;dr
  134.  
  135. Hi, we're plural, which means there are multiple entities / beings / consciouses that make up "us."
  136.  
  137. alexis (it/she, indicates itself with -a) is the bubbly femme. Proto (???? literally anything? but probably xe/xir, indicates xirself with -P) is the smooth talker pro streamer.
  138.  
  139. We're median, which for our experience means that the two of us are fairly strongly connected and operate in tandem most of the time.
  140.  
  141. As far as your life is concerned, things shouldn't change much other than the way we refer to ourselves.
  142.  
  143.  
  144.  
  145. --
  146.  
  147. Thanks for reading this. Here's to a 2019 that's better than 2018 was, cause god, we really need it. We hope that by starting off 2019 with being open about plurality we'll be able to make our life and social world a better place.
  148.  
  149. With love,
  150.  
  151. alexis & Proto
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