Earlier this week my best friend had his first meeting with a cult-loyal alter. Until now we had been able to make sure he wasn’t affected by any of that. Lily refers to this set of alters as the ‘Number People,’ and I know who their real-life counterparts are. The role they play both internally and externally is not good, to be euphemistic about things. They speak a language composed of numbers, and they work quite alot with biometrics. My best friend noted that they even sounded robotic. They asked him questions about defining human interaction and wanted him to explain what makes me *me,* as in what separates who I am from who other people (external) are. Apparently they even used the word ‘essence.’
When we moved to the US all those years ago, I was basically forced to give up the essence of me and take on the characteristics that the cult wanted me to take. It’s very difficult to try to change yourself in order to fit someone else’s design, and the toll it takes on your psyche is hard to describe to people who haven’t been through it. Dissociation is a natural process. However, when the cause is severe trauma, DID develops. That’s not at all new to anyone reading this post. DID isn’t a charade (in spite of what some people think) that you have to work to maintain. What I dealt with in terms of fitting the profile the cult wanted me to fit was a conscious and ever-present effort to display on the outside the person they wanted me to be.
It’s not like merely being told to act a certain way or speak a certain way destroyed the essence of who I am, and I refuse to keep working under that guise. Part of getting to know my internal folk and piecing together the bits of my life has involved this sort of reclaiming of self in the larger sense of the word. It’s been about learning to assert my right to be who I am instead of who I’m expected to be. This has been an incredibly long process, and it certainly isn’t over yet. It involves some external stuff as well– there’s quite alot of paperwork involved in changing my name back to what it was before we moved and meshing together records from both sides of the pond. With every little obstacle that we overcome, though, I feel happier and more settled. It’s definitely been the long way round, but at least I’m finding my way back.
A line from Sting’s song ‘Englishman in New York’ seems appropriate here– ‘It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile. Be yourself no matter what they say.’
Here’s to being yourself, then, even in the face of those who wish to destroy that concept.