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Originally appeared in Chrysanthème,
Actually, It Goes Like This
If you'd caught us a few years ago, there would be absolutely no chance of our telling you that we existed as a plural. Find our site? We'd deny it. Catch us tripping over our own defenses? We're just a really weird singlet, don't mind us.
But these days, we're coming to roadblocks when it comes to knowing people. Just where do you draw the line between which part of information they need to know to get along with you, and how much should be kept tactfully off in the corner so as not to worry them? Is it really so necessary for them to know that they will deal not with one person, not with one person and their character that they see you as, but with a whole trotting mess of you?
These days, we're discovering that we care a lot less about hiding ourselves.
People who are multiple know well how many excuses you can come up with to cover up that there are twenty people involved and pretend there's only one. Maybe that one will come out looking strange, or confusing, or completely opposite than what you intended--that's only more reason for working harder the next time, right?
But then there are the people who tell us that they'll stay with us regardless, and then there's the fact that there are, whether we like to admit it or not, a lot of people out there who can be friends with us instead of the ones who won't. So one person leaves us because they don't think we exist--so? There are other people that we get to know who will, or who at least will respect what one of us says long enough to tolerate the fact that we believe we are more-than-one.
We are online. We are on our lists and our groups and laughing as much as anyone else and sometimes we're even listened to as well. And when people drive the questions down to ask us why exactly we behave over one topic as we do, or why we prefer being able to hit on attractive people regardless of gender, it's easy to call ourselves bi--but it's just as easy to point out that some of the guys like girls, some of the girls, guys. When people ask us why we talk about how we'd rather be male sometimes and then wear girly things without a problem, is it easier to look like we don't know what we really want or to point out that some of the guys would really prefer to be male?
Some people are arguing that letting others know early is better, because they won't feel betrayed later on and if they leave us then we won't be as hurt. Some people are arguing that letting others know later is more beneficial, for then they've have had your example as a person-group and if they're your friend then they'll understand. But above all nod the sterner heads who are watching all of this and, for some reason only they know and aren't telling us, saying that the important thing is that it gets said.
Maybe it's proof of our failure as plurals, but we're tired of having to come up with the endless excuses that make others stare--why are we so easy to claim devotion to one thing as another? Why do we have 'occasional allergies'? Why are we so virulent about jokes against multiples on screen or on stage? We're more tired of having to pretend and start over with groups of friends when one person gets too close to the truth of us and so we shy away.
Losing everything each time in order to hide these secrets that shouldn't even have to be that way to begin with gets tiring. Even more than that, we think we're willing to brave the stares that will come from admitting to us to our online and offline friends, because otherwise we look like an utter wreck of explanations for trying to pretend we're one person instead of fifty.
We're exhausted from having to run. Okay, society. You've got us in a corner. You've told us we're hunted and that we risk everything to be known. We know that we can only say so much by talking to people about our 'hobby' that's plurality and how much we can accomplish just by living as our own example. Okay, society. It'll be hard. But so will be hiding for the rest of our lives as if the real shame were our own existences.
We're not going to keep fleeing. And if you don't want to be our friend--if you want to tell us we don't exist and that we're actually unhealthy and just want to pretend we can put food on our own tables--then you can do that all you want, but I'll still be bringing home our paychecks and laughing with the people who have grown used to us anyway. You can deny that plurality exists in a form that is only in hospitals and headcases, but we'll be living the point right in front of you until you stop looking. We don't have to be the ones who turn away first. We don't have to hide things to protect your sense of outrage. No one hid them for us, and if *we* came out fine then surely you can tolerate that other people exist, can't you?
We've had enough. We're not running anymore.