So, what's up with me anyway?

Who are you?

I'm Mack, and I am a plural, neurodivergent, mentally ill, median collective. My plurality is of traumagenic origins fitting the criterion for DID/OSDD, and we collectively identify as queer, transgender, genderqueer, nonbinary, bigender, aroace-spec, and bisexual. I am white, ethnically Jewish, autistic, psychotic, physically disabled, low support needs, and non-religious. I am also an adult, and I can not easily ascribe to any AGAB/ASAB/transmisogyny-related binaries.

Okay. Now with THAT out of the way...

I'm currently in school to get my Bachelors of Arts in Human Development. After that, I have plans to attend graduate school for my Masters in Prevention Science. I'm intent on working with children in the foster care system, as well as eventually expanding research into protecting children and teens on the internet from manipulation and grooming through proactive education programs for parents and their internet-savvy kids.

I'm a radical inclusionist, and I believe that everyone with a good faith identity deserves respect, support, and encouragement from their communities. (Outside of obviously hurtful subcultures or labels, of course.) I am very anti-bullying, very anti-pedophile, and very pro fascist-stomping!

I'm an avid selfshipper, a prospective furry, a toe-dipper into the kin community, an on-and-off Dungeons & Dragons player, a so-and-so writer, a sketchy sketch artist, a freelance dogsitter, a laid-back Resident Advisor, an AWESOME Pokemon TCG collector, a horrible Pokemon TCG player, and a very, very cool big sibling to two creatures resembling human children.

Wow. You talk a lot. Can you phrase this in a shorter way?

Unfortunately for the both of us, no. I am a very wordy person, and I often need at least twice the word count others may need to establish my points thouroughly in conversation. Otherwise, I think in short, unreadable fragments that turn into word salad as soon as they hit the page. Run-ons and big words will be common here - if this is an accessibility issue, please message me at my Discord (Kafkaesque#0003) to ask any specific questions you may have about me or my website.

Thank you for understanding!

What do you mean when you say you are 'plural'?

Fantastic question! This will take a while, so buckle in.

Imagine the inside of your brain as a house - no, really, please do!

Everyone likes to decorate the inside of their house in different ways - that is to say, we all have different emotions, thoughts, and feelings inside our heads at any given point. The inside of my house might have kitschy wallpaper, while yours may have a coating of blue paint. I stock my fridge with dairy products galore, while you might be lactose intolerant, and prefer almond milk. Likewise, I might spend my day thinking about Pokemon cards and getting happy-sad at dog adoption videos, while you may spend your day thinking about...well, whatever you think about!

Now, in this hypothetical brain-house we've built together, I want you to imagine having roommates.

Suddenly, you have to take into consideration the wants and needs of the other people inside your house. Stuff inside your fridge disappears mysteriously at a much faster rate than it did before, someone bought a lamp for the table in the entryway and it's the ugliest thing you've ever seen, and now you have to...gasp...talk to other people on a daily basis! The horror!!

Sometimes, these roommates impact your daily functioning; they might lock themselves in their rooms with weeks of repressed trash, they might clog up your thoughts with loud music and incessant talking, and on some bad days, they might kick you out of the house entirely!

When you have roommates, you have to remember that you aren't the only one that signed the lease. You are not the sole owner of this house, and you have to share resources and space in order to function healthily.

That's a decent understanding of what it's like to be in my brain, wrapped in about five layers of metaphor. Sometimes, I have thoughts, internal experiences, or feelings that don't exactly feel like my own. Sometimes, they're not mine at all. My interests may change from day to day, my opinions of people and things may switch at the flip of a dime...hell, even the very basics, like my gender, internal appearance, sexuality, religion, politics, mannerisms, and personality are completely subject to change...because they are not entirely mine!

I also have to keep up consistent communication with those I share a brain with - otherwise, one of us may decide to go AWOL, or worse, take over the body and change our way of life entirely. (I mean, if you lived with roommates that wouldn't speak to you about any of the crazy shit they did with the decor, wouldn't you get frustrated too?)

In other words, I live with other people in my brain. In a sense, 'I' am multiple people. That often affects my actions, behaviors, worldviews, relationships, and anything else one may consider intrinsic to their own identity. Think of me as a collective, not as a single person, in the same way you'd see a house with roommates, as opposed to a house with one person.

Okay. That definition didn't make sense. I'd like a more in-depth definition for the term 'plural'.

According to Pluralpedia, a community edited, definition-based resource for plurals and people with questions about pluralhood alike:

"Plurality is the state of having multiple headmates collectively sharing a single body."

This means, to put it simply, someone who is plural does not fit into the bounds of being 'one person'. Most often, this means someone who is plural shares a brain with other people. These people someone shares a brain with are often called 'headmates', 'alters', 'states', 'lenses', or any other term one prefers to use.

These people, who share a brain and body, may prefer to call themselves a 'system', 'collective', 'polyplex', or any other title. This is often referring to the multitudes of identities present in one body; a 'system' or 'collective' of people rather than one person.

While having different states of mind is extremely common and quite mundane for the average person, people or collectives who are plural experience shifts in their core identity traits and/or drastic changes in behavior. Having a different mood from day to day is normal; feeling like you're a different person from hour to hour is not.

Some plural people, or people in systems/collectives etc., may experience a significant amount of distress or an impact on functioning because of their plurality. Others do not find the experience to be a negative impact at all. In fact, some enjoy every aspect about being plural. Some rarely notice their own plurality, while others consider it with every move. You will find that most plural people are somewhere in the middle of these spectrums!

Plurality, for many systems, is caused by trauma that fragments one's identity into dissociative parts. Many of these systems fall under the criteria for diagnoses such as DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), OSDD (Other Specified Dissociative Disorder), OSDD-1a, OSDD-1b, P-DID (Partial Dissociative Identity Disorder), or any other dissociative diagnoses that get added or revised with time. These diagnoses often rely on a plural person being repeatedly exposed to traumatic events, though this varies from diagnosis to diagnosis and from practicioner to practicioner. A system that has formed in this way, or for any other reason stemming from trauma, is almost certainly traumagenic.

On the other hand, many systems feel that they were born plural, or that they may have been born with a predisposition to become plural later on in their lives. Some systems feel their plurality is caused by a spiritual or religious experience. Some systems intentionally created their headmates to improve their functioning. Some systems feel they are plural because of a non-dissociative diagnosis. When a system forms for any reason outside of experiences applicable to a dissociative identity disorder or outside of the bounds of trauma, they would usually be labelled an endogenic system.

Some systems might have multiple origins, while others may want to avoid origin labels entirely. Either way, one's origin can dramatically affect their experiences of plurality. This does not mean an endogenic system would necessarily always be distinct from a traumagenic system in functioning; rather, a system's origins can affect functioning or the internal experience of one's own plurality.

TL;DR: Plurality generally means 'multiple people, one body'. There are about as many ways to be plural as there are plural people.

I still am not entirely understanding what 'plural' means.

Totally reasonable! The topic can be really hard to understand, especially if you're new to the subject.

MoreThanOne.info is a spectacular site built to help people new to the concept of plurality get accessible, basic definitions to common terms related to plurality. If you're still confused, this is a fantastic place to start.

I am also open to being asked questions about my personal experience. Feel free to shoot me a question through Discord (Kafkaesque#0003), and I'd be happy to give my best shot at answering your (good-faith) questions!

What's it like being plural? Are you 'normal'?

It's pretty boring being plural, honestly. Outside of weird questions I get from strangers, being plural usually just means I get really large spots in my memory, as well as around ten-thousand unfinished projects lying around my room that I don't remember starting.

If you thought I was 'normal' before reading this, I'm normal! If you didn't, then I'm not! Frankly, I don't care!

Why haven't you told me this before?

In short, it's super personal to me, and it doesn't affect the way I behave externally much, either.

In most cases, for us, revealing our plurality would be comparable to us hypothetically revealing the way we wipe after using the bathroom - mostly pointless, a little TMI, confusing in almost every context, and deeply uncomfortable for all parties involved!

Why would I waste your time (and mine) by revealing a deep, personal secret about myself that didn't change the way I behave or present at all?

Why would you tell me this now?

Simple! I'm tired of feeling like it's something I have to explicitly hide! So, I will tell you here, and nowhere else! :)

Are you like the system in the movie Split?

NO! Stop asking this!

Split is to Dissociative Identity Disorder as the overused phrase "omg, i'm SO depressed!! XD" is to actual depression. That is to say, it is offensively obtuse, and entirely inaccurate.

So, in regards to your plurality, what should I call you?

If in doubt, call me my name: Mack! All of us will respond to that name.

Certain headmates of ours may front and announce themselves in plural spaces and group therapy. In those cases, feel free to call them by their names, and avoid calling them Mack. (Unless they are Mack. In which case, please call them Mack.)

We prefer the term 'system' when referring to our collective presence, though 'collective' is also okay.

For refering to individual members of our system, 'headmates' and 'alters' both work.

We prefer the label 'traumagenic', in regards to our origin.

We also prefer singular language (you, your, you're) rather than plural language (you all, you&, etc.) in conversation, unless you are specifically referring to our system as a collective presence, or referring to multiple headmates at the same time.

And, in general, if you're in doubt, just ask!

Now that I know you're plural, how do I treat you?

Well, the good news is that, if you've known me before reading this, I expect very little changes in the treatment I've been receiving from you so far!

I just ask a few things from those reading this site:

Do you guys ever fight?

In short, yes! A lot, actually.

However, I'd like to point out that it is extremely rare to find anyone who doesn't fight with themselves from time to time. While we are multiple people, our internal experience regarding disagreements and fights is fairly similar to that of self-contemplation. You'll likely never see us fighting out loud - if we are having an argument of any sort, I'll likely just look a little distracted, or confused at nothing in particular.

While bigger fights have, in fact, taken place in our system, they are extremely rare, and we always handle those in private. Don't worry about us lashing out or going berserk at random; when we fight, it's usually over what kind of bagel we'll order.

How do relationships work for you?

Externally, we function in almost every relationship as one person. This is intentional, as we dislike having our inner machinations or our front roster public. My hypothetical romantic partner, close IRL friends, and others I deem trustworthy are people I have had in-depth conversations with about my expectations and boundaries. Otherwise, casual friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and most online buddies either don't know, or are currently reading this site!

Regarding details about who is fronting and whatnot, we interact with our plural friends a little more openly, solely because they may understand what we are going through a little easier. However, we still primarily function as one person in these friendships.

Internally...well, it's complicated.

I guess you could say some of us share bonds similar to that of siblings. Others may be in relationships similar to a romantic or sexual partner. Really, it's hard to draw a parallel between our internal relationships with each other and relationships outside of our body. There is no 1-to-1 comparison I could give you that would entirely describe our experiences.

So, in short, some of us are family (sort of), some of us are dating (sort of), all of us are friends (sort of)...it's best not to ask about it.

Does ____ like me?

Probably! Some of us are friendlier than others. If they don't, they certainly won't tell you, especially not if you ask up front like this.

Really, how awkward would it be if one of the people close to you in your life randomly asked you if you liked them?

Asking this is extremely unproductive. If one of us happens to be offended, hurt, or annoyed by your behavior, they will let you know like any decent communicator, or they will let it go. Simple as that.

How do you 'fix' your plurality?

To answer your question with another question, à la Socratic Seminar, why should I have to fix it?

We've lived our entire lives this way, and though its caused us some personal strife throughout the years, we've come to find peace in a collective identity.

To give you a bit of perspective, how would you feel if I asked you how you could fix a certain harmless trait about yourself?

"How do you fix being blonde?"

"Can you fix being tall?"

"Living your life as someone who doesn't need to wear glasses must be tough. Is there any way I can help you fix that problem?"

You can probably see how that becomes a very hurtful question to ask someone who has just come out to you as plural. While I don't fault you for asking, I hope this can provide you with a little more perspective on how this question sounds to me.

I don't necessarily need to 'fix' it. Some people want to achieve final fusion (a process that involves becoming one singular person), and that's fantastic for them! If that happens naturally to me, I'm okay with that!

However, this doesn't mean plurality is something to 'fix'. It is a trait, much like one is short, tall, neurotypical, autistic, gay, straight, cisgender, transgender, curly-haired, or straight-haired...is it an unusual trait? Certainly! But that is not a bad thing, at least, not to us. And, as of now, we do not want anything to do with 'fixing' ourselves, thank you!

Are you professionally diagnosed with DID/OSDD/PDID?/Are you endogenic in any way?

HAH! Trick question!!

That, my friend, regardless of if you are plural as well or not, is none of your business!

If you really want to know for any reason, my rate for disclosing any more personal information than I already have is $50 USD a question! You may DM me on Discord for my PayPal.

Assorted silliness!

Peanut butter, or jelly?

In what world is there more than one right answer to this? In what world is peanut butter accepted without jelly, and vice versa? Are you out of your fucking mind?

Are you a dog person, or a cat person?

Depends on who you ask! Some of us like one over the other, some of us like both, and some just...don't like all that fur. However, we all agree that we are definitely bug people! Our current pet goal is a tailless whip scorpion!

Do you have different preferences for snacks, music, etc. based on who is fronting?

We have some changes in preferences based on who is fronting, yes! However, we don't like keeping our playlists or our snack stashes separate. So, in turn, we have a rather large selection of snacks in our dorm room, and a huge 20+ hour playlist! If you happen to know us in-person, feel free to ask for access to that stash at any time!