I have just been completely thrown off by this week. I’m glad I blogged the crap out of Pith last week because I’ve been a complete slack over there this week. But whew, not having a schedule really throws me off. And not knowing what days I was going to be working and what days I wasn’t did just completely throw me.
I have gotten a lot of my own writing done, so that’s good. But here’s the thing I realized as I was trying to fall asleep last night. For all of my schooling and reading, I don’t know how to write a book. So, I decided, I would just get a first draft of this one done and, even if it doesn’t go anywhere as a book, I feel like I need to get it under my belt as a process, you know?
Still, I have to admit, I’ve been thinking about folks here clamoring for a lesbian love scene and I’ve been wondering what happens when Abigail and Lurancy masturbate. I spent time yesterday farting around on websites devoted to people with multiple personalities, and I found folks who cover “what does it mean to date?” but I didn’t find anything about sex, specifically. Both probably because it’s so deeply private and because it seems like a lot of people who have multiple personalities who are functional rely heavily on understanding themselves as an internal family, often one that is healthier than their external one.
So, I think talking about sex within themselves might be problematic considering the metaphors they use among each other.
I also imagine, though, that people who are dealing with this have already worked this stuff out for themselves and discuss it, if they need to, in more private spaces than I feel comfortable prying.
It is interesting, though, to hear people really wrestling with more of what I thought I’d be wrestling with–does the fact that I experience this about myself make me crazy? Do I/we really have a disorder if I/we can function in the world and live happily?
As I write, though, I realize I’m kind of moving away from those questions with Hannah (the bird woman) because she and the people around her understand what’s happening to her in either a religious context or as a matter of physiological health that might be having some psychological repercussions, but is something that is physically happening to her.
But here we are in the middle of the third chapter and Abigail has just shown up. And I do wonder if she’ll bring up more of those questions. But this also means we’re getting to Lurancy, which makes me feel more anxious about how to get up to Watseka.
It’s interesting. When the Spiritualists were first gaining popularity, there were a lot of theories about what was going on. And a very popular one was that each individual is an accumulation of her experiences and her memories. But of course, we don’t remember or consider important everything that happened to us. So, the thought was that it would be entirely possible to construct a whole other personality (or personalities) just by shifting the emphasis. I imagined it, as it was being explained, like a keyboard. The whole keyboard might be “Betsy,” and I might have only one song I play on that keyboard so often to the point where I conflate “Betsy the instrument” with “Betsy the song” as if they are the same thing. And they are saying that something could happen and another song would start to play occasionally, using a whole other set of keys (with maybe some overlap) and that song could just as easily be called “Sarah” or “Phil” since it would have its own memories and important life moments, even if they happened within the body of Betsy, using the same instrument.
Now, obviously, this isn’t how people who were housing spirits while in a trance state understood what was happening to them at the time and it’s not how people with multiple personalities now understand what is going on with them, but it was the metaphor that kind of let me in to even wrapping my mind around not only how this would be possible, but what it might seem like.
The mind is a weird place, I’ll say that. And I think it’s obvious that evolution isn’t survival of the fittest so much as it is survival of the least unfit. Nature throws a lot of stuff at the wall to see what will stick and, as long as your variation makes it to the wall, it doesn’t go away. There’s room for a lot of variety and a lot of variety to be passed along.
It’s not hard for me to imagine that one personality who understands himself as human is and has been the majority experience of what it means to have a personality, but that there’s no reason why nature wouldn’t also spit out people with more than one personality, just because and, since it wasn’t a horrible detriment, just an uncommon variation, it pops up from time to time.
I don’t know. All this is kind of beside the point of what I’m writing about, since Abigail is having a straight-up spirit possession. But it’s still helpful to read the first-hand experiences of people who are living with something similar.