Back in March, I first posted about them. That is what I have come to collectively term the presences in my head–though not quite with affection. If you read any of the posts tagged with “them”, that means that somewhere in there is a reference or brief mention of them.
I must choose my words here carefully, lest you misunderstand them for being voices. They are not all voices, and they do not all speak. To limit them to the term “voices” is to fail to recognize the scope of their influence. I say this not to give them more power, but to make you more aware of what they are. If anything, underestimation here is not exactly harmless.
Since wading through pages of interwebs and archives of old posts is a bit much (and rather inconsiderate of me) to ask of my readers and occasional visitors, I have created this page. The following are brief descriptions of each presence. It is important to note that not all of them have genders, and that some of them are more developed than others.
Between this and the original post concerning them and their descriptions and behaviors, you might also note that they aren’t described exactly the same way. I have modified this so that it might be as current as possible. With that in mind, I may be updating this page from time to time. Now, without further ado, I’m sure you’re just bursting to meet them. Shall we?
Waste is clever and likes to hiss, to whisper, to entice; the best destructive ideas come from this one, regardless of who, what, or how they damage and destroy. Has a particular love primarily for knives and blood, but is also fond of heat, fire, and other masochistic methods. Generally romances the idea of pain.
The Child is something like seven years old in appearance, but mentally nowhere older than around three. She usually whimpers and pleads and begs in murmurs and mumbling; recently, she has been able to form phrases and simple, elementary sentences. Although throwing a tantrum isn’t out of her range, it is quite rare. She wears a white dress, stained and splotched with black and red. She is gullible, naive, and fearful, but has found comfort with Mommy.
Most often she curls up in a corner, stays as close to walls as she can, and shrinks away from human contact–whether it is social or physical–because it is about as abrasive to her as sandpaper on a sunburn. Her eyes vary between grey and green, whether she is shutting out the world or terrified of it, and she is most painfully thin. She has long red-black hair and moon-white skin.
The Protector is a recent addition and a sort of counterpart to The Child. His ages are sort of paralleled to The Child’s, something like eight or nine, but can appear to be four or five. Usually not present for long, The Protector leads Mommy to The Child, and then disappears. He’s like an older brother to The Child, and like a son to Mommy.
He looks like a schoolboy, with a young face and eyes that vary between dark brown and troubled blue. His clothes are usually dirty and smudged, because he spends a lot of his time in a wooden crate in the dark. As his name suggests, he keeps a close watch on The Child. He also is the only one who can get Mommy, and she is the only one who talks to him. He doesn’t talk, but has an incredible sense of responsibility and obligation towards The Child.
Mommy is also recently awakened, and the only one who can effectively communicate with The Child and The Protector. She has all the sweetness of a grandma and the tenderness of a kindergarten teacher. She acts as an adoptive mother to the two, who are like brother and sister, and is somewhere in her early to mid twenties. She is a sort of “mind” who can mediate between the two children and the rest of them. So far, she is the only one capable of successfully calming down The Child, most impressively through quiet words and a gentle touch.
The Unbearable Ones are a subgroup composed of everyone who with demands and expectations that are both impossibly high and incredibly devaluing. These demands and expectations most often come from societal, religious, racial, and familial contexts. Something could be said here of stereotypes, but most of these go beyond that realm. This subgroup is often the most condescending, seizing any and every opportunity to tear any personal values to shreds and severely diminish belief in worth, meaning, goodness, and beauty.
The Lord Skeleton and The Cruel Goddess Ana know that being thin is the best thing in the world. They embrace the gnawing sensation of a hungry stomach, and criticize everything I eat. Why be healthy when you can be skinny? Bones are always better.
They have a habit of haunting me with whispers, clinging to my shoulders or my side with a grip that is always incredibly cold. The Goddess demands worship and sacrifices made to the Lord Skeleton brings her favor upon me. But the Lord and the Goddess are never pleased and never satisfied–every punishment is a reward, and every reward a punishment.
Daddy is a monster. He’s possessive and always angry, and has a tendency to shout and likes to hit me. He is only satisfied when I am pleasing him, and no one else. He likes to hurt me. He made me what I am. By far one of the most brutal of them.
He’s got thick black hair and a scruffy beard–and can be quite charming when he wants. However, there is always an ulterior motive, a sick pleasure he wants in reward. His eyes can shine with a greedy, menacing, insatiable, lust–or beg forgiveness with perfect remorse.
Tiny is strong-willed and defiant. She will say whatever she has or needs to, without any thought to the consequences. Unlike The Child, Tiny is not afraid to fight and will stand up for herself. She will stand her ground against all odds. Her defiance of The Unbearable Ones and Daddy are her strongest assets.
But, this does not make her immune to throwing a tantrum here and there–she will raise hell if she feels slighted in any way. To her, she claims little as her own, and therefore must protect those few things she sees as her rights, lest she be stripped of everything that makes her who she is, that enables her to fight to live.
Dirt is Daddy’s doing—a masochist who’s all about sex, and usually flirtatious and seductive. Although obviously explicit and inappropriate, this one is also quite careless due to having an extreme lack of self-worth and personal value. This one doesn’t believe that there a choice in such derogatory behavior, and that even if there were a choice, making the right one wouldn’t matter after making so many wrong ones.
Fix is selfish, cranky, and cowardly, always whining and looking for a way to escape reality. Drugs, alcohol, and any other mind-altering substance or situation are favorites. Ironically, sometimes this one ends up in social situations just to force some measure of splitting or breaking.
(Splitting and breaking are the acts of creating a chasm between sensory and mental reality. A smaller fissure lies closer to a break; the larger the distance between the sensory world and the mental haven, the closer it is to a split.)
The First Mind is the original referee of the veterans, and usually tries to keep the peace. This one isn’t afraid to lay down the law, and often keeps me in line and alive. Not only does it take care of ensuring I make it through daily stressful situations, but also does its best to pull a tight rein on the others in high-stress situations. I owe most of my “normal” appearance–calm demeanor when highly stressed, quiet words when most of them are shouting–to this skilled presence.
The Brother’s Mind is a recent “mind” who functions like an older brother or close best friend. He doesn’t speak when he doesn’t have to, but he often throws out comments when he senses that I need a distraction between the chaos in my head and that of the outside world. Though these comments are often dark, cynical, and morbid, he knows that they help to keep me calm. When I normally shrink from physical touch, he often is the only one who can put an arm around my shoulders and sit with me. He provides a sense of safety, and often is the one who can talk Tiny out of her indignant rages and tempers.
Beloved is quiet, but she is alive. She is strong. She does not tear down, cave in, or give up. She knows Truth. She has seen Beauty. Though she rarely speaks, every day—every moment—strengthens her faith, solidifies her belief that we are loved. She says it over and over. Her heart sings it, in times of sorrow and times of joy. She repeats it softly to herself. She knows.
When she prays, she takes ownership of the promises written out for her, whispered in her ear, spoken into her heart. She puts her hope in nothing less than the God who saves. She grabs tight hold of that nail-pierced hand and walks with those torn and dirty feet. When she is tired, she rests in those out-stretched arms. When she is delighted, she dances in them. When she is grieving, they shield her in a gentle embrace.
She is at peace, in her skin. The mirror reveals not hideous truths, but beauty mixed with brokenness. The scars are not lingering ghosts, but a map of the deep valleys she has struggled through and the soaring peaks she mounted in between. She is light, but not paper thin. She is neither lost in clouds nor buried beneath dirt. She is grounded on earth with a heart for the heavens. She is solid, but she is transparent.
She has eyes to see. She has ears to hear. She is, by far, the most deeply rooted and the most powerful of all the presences. Her lack of words is countered by the forces of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty that radiate from her.
This isn’t all of them, but these are the most defined. There are others, but they are mostly ghosts of those that were or dangling remnants that aren’t quite sewn in anywhere else. Each of them have an effect, though not all at the same time or to the same degree. I am thankful for some and have accepted others; every day brings new opportunities for doing the hard work of living and loving and hoping.
It’s not easy, but it was never supposed to be and I would never want it that way. It’s the battles we fight and the wars we wage within ourselves that prove us to be both incredibly stronger and much weaker than what we actually realize.
Them and Me,