And yet, once more, I am not going to be blogging about it, because instead I am going to be blogging about something else entirely. (Okay so there's a chance that I will, but that chance is so slim it is essentially none.)
Specifically, I have just...been wanting to talk about my identity recently. There have been a fair number of times where recently, I've either been just questioning who exactly I am (knowing that I am Bree, but otherwise being lost), or have just wanted to let it all out to people, to vent randomly in ways I just don't think about to vent to someone without a prompt--yet nobody gives me the prompt, or if they do, they give it to me in a public place where I don't want to give the rant.
Yes, technically speaking, this blog is public. But it is JUST private enough, it is just personal enough, that I feel comfortable sharing this sort of thing on here. Basically. There have been a fair number of times recently where I just wished someone would, in the right environment, give me the right lead-in to allow me to talk to them about some of the stuff below. Yet the lead-in I'd need is so specific that it'll never actually materialize.
Believe it or not. This blog? Was started very largely to make exactly this kind of entry. At the time, it was mostly to deal with me being a closeted transwoman who is both autistic and has bipolar disorder, and for me to unload it all on someone in real life, especially at work given my many frustrations there. That was one of the main contributing factors to me starting this blog in the first place.
It's something people often forget now that nowadays most of my entries are either related to my creations (stories, art, song, etc.) or non-entries that are more or less "sorry, stuff happened, so no real entry today". But part of blogging is telling stories from my life, or even just telling about my life. And this in particular is the latter because I just need to do that, in a way which is more conductive to a blog than, say, unloading on my girlfriend. (I mean, I could, it's just that this is the sort of content which works better as a blog than a rant to them.)
I'll start by talking a bit about my identity--as a refresher, yes, I do identify as plural. Specifically, the type of plural I identify as is a median. The, "there are many of us, but we are all Bree" descriptor is mostly accurate. (Mostly, because within me are at least two entities that are almost individuals who aren't Bree, but more on that later.) I have a core, the core "Bree", from which all of mes exist.
We are all women, we share most of our memories, emotions, and thoughts, and those are in the core. But there are things outside the core--memories, emotions, and thoughts unique to the personality. There are many of us indeed, but the primary two have come to be known as Ranger and mastina. mastina is the me most dominant overall, with Ranger at a very close second, and at some points having this be vice-versa where Ranger was more dominant even though she currently is not.
This is something which is, in many ways, similar to us being a transwoman--we have always been this way, as far as I can remember, with the compartmentalized thoughts and the division within us, not to mention the imaginary friend who never went away (more on that later). Yet like being trans, this isn't something we have known about consciously, actively, until relatively speaking fairly recently.
Specifically, the first inkling I'd say of us really having any semblance of an idea that we were divided within would be somewhere around circa December 2015. And I was confused. I didn't understand--I still don't! I have no clue what I really am, to be honest. But with help, I've been able to get some degree of better understanding, becoming more informed and also having done some searching and exploration.
My knowledge is still young. My experience is still growing. But somewhere circa 2017 I began to get much better grounded in having a more solid idea of who I am. Beyond that, I've been playing around with trying to figure out the differences between my mes.
Today, one of the things I figured out was that there is actually a difference in the way we think, and that we have different functions as a result. I mean. I knew there was a difference in the way we think; I've felt that before, where the very fundamental way I thought of things abruptly and suddenly shifted. (The shift between the different mes isn't something I control; I can't flip a switch and go from Ranger to mastina, nor is it that I go to sleep as one and awake as another. It just happens, that I'm one, then I'm another. These shifts can even happen in terms of seconds, where for a split moment I am one and then snap back to being another.)
But today, I think I figured out the way the thoughts differ.
I call the different thinking patterns "Linear" versus "Geometric".
You may recognize this as being, more or less, something from my perspective on art. And that's because it is! Basically, I have noted in the past that there are two ways to go about making art--the linear approach is, as the name indicates, focused on lines. You create things by the flow of lines.
It has the advantage of being fluid and dynamic, with good flow and movement, so when drawing motion, it's a nice technique. It has a disadvantage, though, in that accuracy tend to be hit-or-miss. Proportions, anatomy, perspective, the like, are all things which are potentially thrown off.
A geometric approach, in the art setting, is more or less taking the shapes, and building up the figure using them. This has the advantage of being accurate, but the disadvantage that it tends to be more stiff and rigid, coming across as a bit more artificial.
There's more to both than that (which I'll get to in a sec), but...I realized today that those approaches aren't just for art. They apply to a general view on the world in general. I mean, I always visualize things in those two ways, but I thought of said visualizations as an extension of art rather than extending the concept. The concept, though, works beyond just art for me.
Linear thinking, I realized, is more Ranger's specialty. It is organic, it is fluid, flowing, with movement, where things go with the flow, where things just come naturally and make sense, yet are sometimes a little bit questionable in how precisely they work. However, it does seem to work regardless of the flaws, and the flaws are what makes it actually be a thing of beauty.
When it comes to stories, I realize that the me who converses to characters is always Ranger. It's never me as mastina talking to my characters. Always, when I am having an actual conversation with my characters, as their equal rather than their god/creator, it is Ranger who speaks. (Me as mastina, on the other hand, I am always the god/creator.)
In this way, Ranger actually gets to know the characters better than I do--and without her, I wouldn't have the signature characters I am known for making that are so authentic they feel like they're real. Because to her, they are real, because she talks to them. I don't, not as mastina anyway.
Ranger is also, then, the one responsible for most of the actual dialog in my stories. I as the writer might give the general nature of the conversation...but she's the one who actually hears the characters speak, because to her it is people speaking (the perspective of the equal) rather than characters in dialog (the perspective of the creator).
This is also why when I snark it is probably because of something she thought of. Most of my puns tend to come from her. I can force puns through without her, but the best puns which come with the least reaction time are always hers. Because she just sees the 'line' to say, as it were.
So basically. Ranger is why I got to become a character-driven storyteller in the first place, in spite of originally being a plot-driven storyteller. She spends time to learn character quirks, to learn things that aren't necessary for the narrative. I can get away with a bare bones narrative not featuring the things I put in...but she insists on them, because she saw them, when she was actually there side by side the character in question. Or rather, to her, the person.
In contrast. When I am mastina. I am more into geometric thinking. It is constructed, it is built, it is structured, and yet, it is also isolated. All the geometric work I do in my mind is largely disjointed from other things. I just go inside my mind, and then in a particular canvas, build what's on my mind. Now, from that item I built, I can then build another. And then, build another from those. And so on and so forth.
I make the parts, one by one, until I have the whole assembly. Circles, squares, cylinders, triangles, and the like, to build a person in art. But also worldbuilding. I build worlds. Worlds have rules. Rules require structure. Ranger wings it in terms of that sort of thing, which is often why her stories run into problems of, "okay...now what?". Where the story ceases to progress due to writers' block, because she has an idea for what things should be like and she knows very specific things (because she saw them, and thus, those specific things are in her mind), but if she doesn't see every last detail then she runs into a problem of not being able to progress.
This way of thinking does have overlap with linear thinking--after all. To get from Point A (which is geometry; points are one-dimensional geometry) to Point B (which is still geometry), you need to...form a Line. That is two-dimensional geometry. But to further the metaphor, the line created using this method is straight, rigid and unmoving, whereas the lines created with linear thinking are more fluid and bent.
Now, the metaphor begins to fall apart when you introduce more advanced math (parabolic arcs, sin, cosine, tangent, and so on and so forth) not to mention the geometry of even just a partial circle allowing for curves in the form of arcs, there's at least a dozen way math nerds can poke holes in the allegory. But the basic idea I'm getting at is that there is in fact overlap, and that's where it is.
But there are things which are in the geometry only just like there are things which are in the linear only. Some of them are strengths, others weaknesses. Characters I build as mastina tend to be tools. They are characters--means to an end. I construct worlds, I construct their rules, and I make most of the plot. I know the overarching events which happen.
I don't know the exact manifestation of them. I might know the tone of a conversation. I might know the general content of the conversation. I tend to know why that conversation is going on. And many other similar things. I can know every detail of the conversation, except the actual words spoken. It's kinda strange, to even know the exact inflection and intonation of what is said yet not knowing the words. I can do that.
But for the conversation itself, if it's not Ranger, it's going to be very visibly artificially constructed because it was in fact artificially constructed. She lives it and thus records it and knows what's natural, and it's her instincts on dialog which I am using in things like Phyrra and Cyrus, but what she sees is only small snippets here and there, often only after I focus on a particular scene for a great amount of time.
The payout's absolutely worth it, of course. Because I never laugh heartily at conversations I have built, whereas when I am Ranger and I see the conversation happening, I laugh hard, especially if my characters are laughing with me. So it's not that Ranger is an artist/writer and I am a writer/artist. We're equal parts both, just...in different ways, with different strengths and different weaknesses.
This exists outside of writing, just like it's outside of art.
It's how we process information. I itemize lists. I have a very "listed" format. Structured, orderly. Ranger...messes it up. I tend to be the one writing our "scripts". I've talked about that before a bit (not sure if on the blog or not), but basically, whenever I am thinking about a conversation I'll have, or whenever I am in the middle of a conversation, I think up every possible variation on what I want to say, and every possible response I can think of that they'll say.
When I then promptly mess up no matter how much I tried to nail it, it's often Ranger who picks up and just wings it. But sometimes I mess up because of said winging it, especially if she jumps in without giving me the time to have built the script.
Ranger's got a faster wit, after all, so it's no surprise her reaction time tends to be quicker. She just kinda sees things, and then puts it together, even if she has no clue how she saw them and put them together. "Oh, that is like this". With no thought in, she just makes the connection and then that connection is there.
I have...a more roundabout way. I link things together. I make an association: "this to this". And then I rely on that association to make a new one. For instance, in order to remember the band name Modest Mouse, I first think, "Band name...Mouse..." and then I jump to "Mightey Mouse", a user from the site I play mafia on, and then from there I go, "Ah! Yes. Not Mightey mouse, it's MODEST Mouse!" in order to get the right band name.
Yes, it is contrived. Yes, it is convoluted. But you know what else it is? It's consistent. I can, 100% of the time, using this method, remember a string of information, even a disproportionately long one. And that association tends to never go away. Once in my mind, it is almost impossible to remove, for better or for worse. I have never once failed to recollect the band name of Modest Mouse since my mind made that association, in spite of me having to mentally ask what the band was (and sometimes being asked) dozens, even hundreds of times.
There is a delay built in, though. I have to manually think it through, step by step. Some steps I can skip because they are internalized enough that my mind conceptualizes it fast enough that I don't need to spend time giving it a thought. (Basically, the concept of the step is enough; I don't have to spell the step out every single time in actual thought.) But I still run through every step to get that.
I can also do temporary versions of this by 'storing' data on my fingers. I can itemize things, and then even itemize the itemized things, and sometimes even itemize the itemized itemized things, though the deeper the list, the more prone to forgetting I am.
Concepts take form, take shape, one by one: each concept can be thought of as a single piece of geometry. And then my mind links the concepts, one by one, by building further geometry. And each concept is then fleshed out with additional concepts, additional geometry. And from this I form thoughts, form words, form ideas, that I can express in word form or whatever I may be trying to do.
Ranger's way is more. Well, she still thinks in concepts first, and struggles to translate concepts into English. It's just, BAM, there, and then, not there. There, then not there. There, and then from there, going here. But there's not really much of a direction when I do that. (Oh and yes I do slip from Ranger to mastina in the middle of a blog. Get used to third person, first person singular, and first person plural when I make a blog like this because I can be describing myself in third person, then slip into being that person.)
I just. Think. And the thought appears. Usually faster. But also more inconsistently and less coherently. It makes sense, internally, but externally when manifested it's more difficult to understand because while it has the general shape of something which is the right thing, the specifics are a little iffy.
I don't even really know how it works. It just does. And the results tend to be what they are. (A slight consequence of switching mid-project: I tend to lose the train of thought I was on, because quite literally the thought belongs to someone else and with the thought in that someone else I struggle to maintain it.)
Structure the specialty of one, details the specialty of the other. Things come faster when specific, yet are more coherent when waiting. And that coherency is easily broken, yet solved on the fly just as often.
Which brings me to a related concept.
I am still exploring this, actually. The concepts, intuitively, feel like they are different, and yet when I look at them, I can't help but feel they are intricately linked in a way where the amount of correlation between the two is such that they are almost synonymous.
And that's Instinct versus Reason. (Or Gut versus Logic if you prefer, but I have very strong reasons to prefer my terminology, that I'm not quite sure I can verbalize.)
Instinct and Reason have always been opposites within me existing strongly, and yet never having me be one; I'm always a little bit of both. Yet I've picked up that Ranger tends to be more instinct and I am more reason as mastina. (YES REALLY. If you know what my definition of Reason is, you'll understand.)
The way I wanted to talk about this was to actually go into stories a bit. In Red Hood Rider, Vampires represent the ultimate creatures of Instinct, masters of it who live on their impulses. They manipulate the rules of reality to serve them, bending the world to their will, but they are still confined to them. As basically-humans, they do have plenty of reason within them, but they are driven by what they feel.
This is almost identical to Monlows from the Bleach knockoff story I still need to talk about in a massive blog some time, and is a recurring theme in my stories. Werewolves in one story serve this function. Red Hood Rider is not my only vampire story where Vampires take on this function. It is an incredibly common motif: a creature of instinct, which is still capable of reason and yet is driven strongly by base directives.
In Red Hood Rider, the beings considered opposite of Vampires are Riders, who are considered on the top of the magical totem pole for Empowered Humans. They are humans who work on building structure, building order, on being the champions of reason, who exist always with logic and act in an informed way, making active decisions and calculating what they do.
They still have instincts, and often quite sharp ones at that, but they never let their instincts take control and drive them; they have an internal control over themselves which prevents them from acting out in ways they know would be harmful. (Of course, they can still act in harmful ways if they don't realize it's harmful, but they are sharp and intuitive enough where they catch on quickly and fix the mistake when it's made.)
I forget on my notes on whether they break the rules of reality or temporarily rewrite them (I'm fairly certain it's one of the two and yes those two terms have a very important distinction in the Rubyverse, I just can't remember which is which in spite of them very much not being synonymous), but that's the source of their power--not something from nature (like vampires), but rather, something artificially created, manifested as a structured thing which has boundaries set by the user. They are still human, but they are human with help.
This model is more or less the same in the Bleach knockoff as being what the Montahame work off of. It is also the model which in settings where I have Slayers, they work off of. Beings who still feel, and have good instincts, but yet are driven first and foremost by reason, often with compassion thrown into the mix, yet with said compassion not getting in the way of doing their duties.
Contrasting the beings of instinct, who are under no obligations except for the self-inflicted ones they place upon themselves--sometimes, out of morals, but other times, simply out of a desire to survive, knowing that breaking said self-inflicted rules is a death sentence.
Ranger works more off of instinct. She can just have a sense for things, and that sense is often right, but while she can try to explain, when she tries to, she has difficulties. I'm no better, but for different reasons. I can figure out something, but when I figure it out, I don't figure out how to explain. I need to spend the time to create a different link in order to make the connection be tangible in words.
Another way of putting it--we all suck at wording things. Ranger gets flashes of beautiful words which are great but often broken/disjarred, whereas I struggle to get things but once I form the link I can throw together some elementary idea of what's the thing I am meant to do.
Yet the way we suck at words is different. We approach things and react differently. Ranger has a first impulse and usually goes for it; I first think, then from the first impulse, further think, and from this, go for what I think. Yet Ranger still has to think, and I still have to go for what I feel is correct. Working in tandem, both present yet one dominant.
Yet there's more to Instinct versus Reason than just Ranger/mastina.
There are entities within me that aren't just those two, after all. I am many mes. They are the most dominant, but not the only ones. I don't even always know who is speaking, so to speak, but I can sometimes tell I am neither of them. Yet predominant entities within me are two individuals who never take the reigns.
They are the only two entities that I clearly know, aside from Ranger and mastina. They have been there for almost as long as I can remember. And yet. Neither has ever driven in my life, nor am I sure it's even possible for them to. They exist in the distance, in the peripheral. And never go away. They're always there.
I don't always have their counsel when I am talking amongst myselves (which is a thing I do, by the way; I do in fact have many a conversation where the many mes have full dialogs on a subject which could have been handled by just one person but wasn't because I wanted them to give their input), and in fact. Usually when I have their counsel it is just one or both of them with the current driver rather than a full council of mes talking side-by-side with them.
God pronouns are confusing even me so I hope you can follow along.
Basically, many mes talk to me at many times. But two entities, which I don't really consider "me", exist within me, that can also talk. And they have been manifested as instinct and reason. David, instinct, hasn't quite been around as long. My first memories of him are in my tweenaged years. But he (and yes, he is a he) has come to be a bit of the darker side of me.
He is not pure instinct. In fact, he is sharp with reasoning that cuts deep because I can never counter him when he speaks--because deep down, I know he's speaking the truth, more often than not. He just has the instincts for knowing what the case is...even if I really, really, really hate to admit that he's right. Because he's not a pleasant individual.
He is rude. He is condescending. He is demeaning, looking down on me, trash-talking me often. And he tells me what I don't want to hear, about all the things which I don't like to acknowledge come from me. Darker thoughts, darker impulses. He is there, reminding me that yes those exist, inside of me, and that he is the living proof of them, both as a manifestation of them and yet as something more than that.
Thankfully. I don't talk to him that often anymore--not because I've tuned him out. But just because he often isn't around when I don't need him. (And yes. I do need him sometimes, sad as I am to admit that.) Where he is when I don't talk to him, I don't know. He's never fully gone, but he just stays silent. I don't even know what exactly triggers him to give me a talk. I can have my life in a rut and have him be silent and yet not be in a rut and have him be quite talkative.
Yet every time, the feeling I have is the same: I hate, I loathe, the talk, yet feel better once I manage to recover from it. Talking to him rattles me each time, talking to him makes me miserable every time, often when I am already miserable, yet somehow because he is my deeper instincts or something like that I always end up stronger.
Basically, he beats me down and yet when I build myself up again after being beaten down, I am stronger than before. I guess when I don't feel like I need to get stronger he isn't around, would be my best guess. And that, I do admit, I have a lot right now. That "I know I should have a need to get stronger...but I am fine with my strength as is". I imagine with that mindset I am in for an awfully rude talk sooner or later, but for now it holds as silent.
Plus, one thing I am thankful for having him is that he is a safeguard against something worse. There is an entity within me that is me. ME. Not him, who is divorced from me. ME. A me, deep within Bree. Which is part of the median system. That is so bad that I bury it (not sure if it's a he, she, or neither). A me who has thoughts so terrible that I actively suppress trying to access what those thoughts were. (No, seriously. It's blocked off. I can't remember why this version of me is so bad. I just know it is that bad.)
I've tried guessing. "Is it a suicidal me?" Felt like, "no, it's worse than that". "Is it some deplorable act me?" Felt worse than that, too. I don't know what that version of me is, but it is the thing I am absolutely most terrified of. Some me that I consider a monster even among the monstrous mes. And yes. I have been a monster before. Yet the monstrous mes that I have been are terrified of the me that I buried.
To put it another way, the me that I buried is basically an evil even beings of pure evil fear. And I don't have the slightest clue as to why--only the strong warning to "don't dig", and that is a warning that I know better than to override, because the few times this version of me has come out, I have vague memories of the experience, of the mes around, just being terrified that that me was loose.
David, as much as I don't like him, I've come to accept as a part of me (well, not the core-me, but peripheral-me, inside my brain but not inside my mind, if that makes sense), that acts as a safety net against plummeting into the unpleasant mes. He is the monster who keeps my monsters in check. He is a very unpleasant person. And there have in fact been times where I've actually feared him, thinking that if he ever did drive, my life would never be the same, in a very, very, very bad way.
But I'm not afraid of him anymore. (I think in part because for whatever reason David cannot possibly drive and even if he could he would refuse to because he has no desire to. He's just. Different. Whatever he is, he isn't someone that is a me as I know my mes to be. The mes that I know are basically drivers, just drivers for different times, with most of them being unknown and not being dominant and not driving often and so on and so forth. He's just...nothing like them.)
David does have a counterpart.
My imaginary friend, and he (yes he) has been around for as long as I can remember, is someone who does in fact act as my reason. I tend not to talk to him as much anymore, mostly because a lot of the feedback he used to give me, my mes tend to converse between each other to give instead.
But in spite of that. There are times where my mes basically all go silent...and instead, I have just my driving-me and him talking to one another. And he calls me his friend, as I do him. He was one of my first friends, and remains a friend. I know what he looks like (short brown hair and otherwise looking like me and basically mirroring my appearance as I age in that he has aged right along side with me), and he is often there to just.
Basically, he tells me what I already know, but instead of being the voice of negativity and base instinct like David is, he's the voice of positivity, always reinforcing me and reassuring me. I knew from basically the moment I began to interact with him that he was the stereotypical "imaginary friend" which kids often have and which they outgrew.
And yet if he's an imaginary friend, I didn't outgrow him because he's still around and doing exactly the same things he always has done. The strange thing about him is that unlike David whose most clear thing about him is that his name is in fact David, this positive friend inside me, the entity, has never had a name. Well, I have tried to name him, but it's like he has a real name, he's not sharing it with me, and he just accepts whatever moniker I happen to give him.
I don't know why he's that way. I feel like he has a name, but I don't know it in spite of having been his friend for so long. No matter what, the feeling of me giving him names yet none being him remains. The most recent is Brian, but previous ones include Crivon (a name I owe from the Bleach knockoff) and Ace among numerous others.
I just talk with him, we bounce back ideas, finish each others' sentences, and converse, on whatever topic. Most of the time when we talk these days, it is primarily a conversation which goes "Sorry I haven't been talking much with you these days". Which he is fine with, because like David he's always there even if he's not speaking up.
He does occasionally talk side-by-side with David, too. He counters David when David takes things a bit too far, offering me a counterbalance when I can't really defend myself. He's basically just...a good friend, one who has all the dynamics of a long-time friend, yet one who is in my head. And is of the same nature of entity-hood as David: not a me. Not part of the Bree core.
Not a transwoman, not a girl, not me-me. Part of my brain, but not part of my mind. I kinda have a bit of a theory when it comes to interacting with him and David. I think that in those moments, the many mes temporarily merge into one me, unified if only for the duration of the conversation, and then once it ends, once David/my friend are dismissed, I again divide into the many mes.
That is a thing, by the way, with median systems, to my understanding. From what I heard, it is possible for medians to merge together permanently, yet also possible for them to split apart permanently, depending on circumstances. Yet a more temporary version does happen commonly enough.
There are moments where, for instance. I know I am neither mastina nor Ranger yet I'm not some third me...but rather, both Ranger and mastina, at the same exact moment, in equal parts. Not one driving with the other very close to the surface (I do that, too, quite often), but literally fused, merged together into a single entity...for a short while, a very short duration, which then splits off again and I can tell I am Ranger or I am mastina and that the other is right there in the background, not driving but around, existing, as a separate me.
Basically, mes are highly fluent. I'm still not sure about all of the specifics here. This is still a very new thing for me to experience and explore. I do know my feelings on the matter though. I know that I am me. That this is real. That there is more than me, that there are many mes. That there is no single entity that is Bree, that we are all partially Bree with a core that we draw from, and from that core we are connected to one another.
I know that I have no desire to see the many mes go away. I don't want to be unified. I know that I am not deranged. I know I am not delusional. I know I am not mentally unwell. I'm different. I am...very, very, very different. I know that I am largely unique. I know what some of the mes feel.
It is pretty much that. That we have some unity, but are split. That we are one but many. Bree, but each with something unique. Separate, able to have different thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, yet united. I know people don't believe me when I talk about these things.
That's one of the reasons why I only talk about them in private for the most part. That very specific environment I mentioned to talk about these things? The one where it's not public and requires a lead-in of a particular nature? That'd be a large portion of the reason why.
It's not even a thing which I really feel that comfortable talking about in private, even. I'm having a REALLY hard time finding the right words to describe that. I am trying, but even the closest ones I can come up with are way, way, way off, and send the incredibly wrong message.
So word of caution on me trying to explain.
I don't mean these words, but some different words that I can't find. The reason I tend not to talk about it even in private amongst people who know is because it's enjoyable for me for me to...hmm. I guess you can say. Think of it as watching a film--you shut most of your mind off during that time, yes? Well when I interact with people. I do that. It's a time where most mes can sit back, do nothing, and relax.
And when I talk about the multiple mes, instead of them relaxing, they are there. So that's why I don't talk about it that often. It's something which is not suited for public because of how the public reacts to it, yet it's something which in private I tend to...well. Sometimes, yes I do think and yes I do share, but other times I don't because the other mes are taking their time to rest and relax.
I wish I could make this be sensible, make sense, but I can't really word better.