We’ve taken some time to contemplate “mourning singularity” after the discussion on Sunday and we’ve read the forum posts. This is still a tough but good question and we’re continuing to consider it.
Something we’d like to add to the discussion that we’ve been thinking of lately is that we’ve decided that “it’s important to respect every part of our system(s)”. That is, we’ve come to the realization that every part of our system _exists for a reason_ and therefore we feel it’s important to take every part of our system into account in terms of major decisions in our life, and that this is likely something useful to consider for other plural systems. We are not the originator of this idea, but because we now use this idea for our decisions it leads to some interesting ramifications, including the specific question about “mourning singularity”.
When it comes to “morning singularity”, there’s parts of us that are able to “act singular” and enjoy “passing for singular” despite the fact that we know we’re not. There are other parts of us that would much rather “be out about being plural”. Despite this, it’s possible to be either thing that different times, and that’s part about what being plural is about. We ARE different things at different times, depending on the circumstances. That’s both the simultaneous benefit AND drawback of being plural.
We know we’re plural and nobody we know of in our system is in denial about that. Our close friends and family all know we’re plural. At the _same time_ we also don’t go around broadcasting that we’re plural to everyone we meet (unless we _really_ feel safe, and then we might), and we might even decide not to be “out” about being plural at work unless we find a reason it could be helpful to do so.
There are (generally) things to mourn about being plural, such as the fact that for tramagenic plurals, we/they were traumatized with no refuge. Simultaneously there are some interesting benefits to plurality, because if we have internal communication between headmates then we have a number of perspectives to look at things from, and that’s very valuable in terms of decision making as well as helping our headmates feel more secure — “we are not alone”. We have help.
From the point of view of “wanting to be singular” plurality is in the way and so not having it feels like a loss. If a system wants that back, it might be possible after a lot of therapy for “final fusion” but there’s about an 80% chance of “splitting” again later if there is any traumatic event later. From that point of view there’s been a huge loss.
From the point of view of “being plural and proud”, we’ve survived the trauma in a way in which the trauma was compartmentalized such that we were able to survive in a way in which we later had more choice of direction for our lives, rather than the trauma leading to a “singular” type of mental disorder. And now we’ve got internal company and friends to help with the work of running our shared life.
And both of these perspectives — wanting something we’re not, and being proud of something we are — can be true at the same time. We have the choice, and we can choose different perspectives at different times. And we can be conflicted and confused about all of this too.
There are systems where trying to “pass for singleton” may not be possible, and we recognize this. And depending on the circumstances that may or may be something hard and something more to mourn. [And we were there sometimes. Life can be hard.]
At the moment most of our system is choosing to be “plural and proud” and yet “act like we’re singular” when we’re in groups of singletons. It will be interesting to see how long that will work and whether we make a different decision on that in the long-term, but that’s how we’re choosing to operate at present. And so we’re very comfortable being part of plural groups and being “out and proud”, and at the same time we’re also comfortable being with singletons and simply not saying that we’re not a singleton. Part about being plural is its a tool that can help us “blend in”, and so with that knowledge we’re respecting our system’s privacy and dignity about our plurality, and we’ll see how that goes.