United Front: System Safety Plan Course
Introduction: The Ship Thing
TL;dr We use a ship-based metaphor both for the body/system. It can be a sailing ship, pirate ship, or we prefer a spaceship (we consider ours an organic mecha flying in Human Space). The main idea is that all residents of the ship are fully reliant on the ship for all life support, so the ship’s crew & officers need to take good care of their ship. More hands make light work — if everyone chips in and helps out, it is much more likely to be smooth sailing. More below.
Oh, yeah, the ship metaphor. Gotta talk about that, right?
Yeah, so we Crisses — we were working on United Front back when it was going to be one book, when we finally realized the house metaphor was broken. That’s the metaphor we used for the United Front Boot Camp (blog) on Kinhost.org; a house metaphor. We decided to fix the metaphor. And since we “write what we know” this is what you get. We’re going to talk about spaceships.
Here’s why spaceship. (In a nutshell.)
Plurals live in 2 worlds. We have our internal world where we’re all separate, and we have the external world where we come as a bundle, like it or not. The external world is a hostile environment in general — by which I mean that if you were to somehow find your consciousness separated from your body and naked in the world, you’d be toast. You can’t live out there without the atmosphere and neurons and life supports of your body. That would be kinda like a spacesuit if there were only one of us in here, but no. So it’s more like a life support mecha, a big organic life support mecha that moves through the external “human space” and docks into ports and encounters other ships (other humans) in human space and goes on adventures out there in the world. Like we’re the crew of the Enterprise, kinda, but the ship is organic. Yeah, kinda like that.
It’s a metaphor. Don’t stress over it. Just accept that we’re in this body/ship, that it moves around in the external world (which we jokingly call Human Space instead of Outer Space) and that if it dies, we all die. There’s no escape hatch that we know of. No external breatharatus. No escape pods. You can think of your body and your internal landscape however you want. It can look like whatever it looks like inside. We don’t recommend you change to our paradigm.
But we did change it. Once we had the realization, we started remodeling our internal landscape from a house to a spaceship. We made it much larger inside, because there’s a lot of us. We added more meeting space and specialized space, and restructured the bridge, front, the back rooms, gave everyone quarters and quadrants on the ship per sub-system. We made some very cozy cubbies, and the 2 flex/meeting rooms can be repurposed for other things like a holodeck, a test kitchen (we spent some time making recipes and editing cookbooks, and it’s fun testing recipes in your head while editing — like wow, what would that taste like? Someone whipped up a batch and we tried it — inside. Mmmm.), a danger room, etc.
It’s far more comfortable, and we’re 100% ready for adventure. As inside, so outside (and vice versa): we’re now nomadic at least some of the time. Petsitting, travelling to conferences, sleepingin our car, etc. In other words we’re homeless. But it’s part of our adventure, not part of our panic points. We’re (mostly) good, promise. Winter notwithstanding.
So we’re going to be referring to people’s “plural system” as a ship in this book. Because as far as we’re concerned, a system includes its boundaries and we ought to include our body when we consider what we do in life and how we take care of ourselves. It’s our ONLY life support system, for every entity on the ship, whom we call residents overall. The residents on the ship consist of the officers and crew, the passengers, and the stowaways.
Rebels can be any of those. Usually hanging out in the passengers and stowaways groups, but heck you may have some lingering rapscallions or folk who are partly reformed and signed up to be on-duty but can still use some pointers and to rub others’ faces in the mistakes they’ve made when dealing with you (mainly to get some apologies. Maybe.).
Officers have taken the bulk of the responsibility for internal and external life. Hosts, main fronts, major protectors, etc. The crew runs a lot of the behind the scenes stuff in many capacities, could be internal caretakers, people who have skills needed for work, who make sure the ship has fuel and repairs, and keep an eye on things and report back to the crew or officers when there’s issues, etc. There’s a lot of talk of crew and officers in the book Recruits.
Passengers are the folk who are co-aware to some degree, and somewhat or mostly present in the here & now, but not taking much if any responsibility. They may seem to be doing not much of anything important at any given time. The larger your roster on the ship (your headcount) the more passengers you probably have. But they’re also not particularly causing trouble, so it’s generally Ok. The ship can handle that. There may also be rebels and troublemakers who are “passengers” and appear to be in the here & now at least to some degree.
The stowaways are generally hidden folk, folk you may be barely aware of out on the periphery of the ship. They’re potentially stuck in the there & then more than passengers are, may reflexively hide or run away as they’re living in their PTSD visions/senses and may sense anyone or anything as a reflection of a threat from their past. Some rebels are stowaways. They’re not particularly present in the here and now, maybe enough so to cause problems, but definitely not fully aware that it’s today and that we’re adults now, or not aware of the harm they’re causing, or whom they’re really causing harm to. There’s something not quite fully *present* about them. Stowaways can be troubling, doubly so if they’re gaining access to front and mucking about in both internal and external life.
I’m going to write like both the passenger and stowaway rebels can hear me. Because many of them can, and will. And because even though some may not know they are rebels or stowaways, I bet some of the information gets through to them, too.
You’re not alone. And there are people who may want to hear from you soon.
So your ship is home to at least these 4 contingents: officers, crew, passengers, and stowaways. I usually speak about the goodie two-shoes and rebels instead.
Why? Because I’m a rebel.
—Buck, 24, male internal persecuter -> protector