It’s me again! And I’m back with another blog post about stuff that’ll probably be of zero interest to my audience because you’re all here to listen to me ramble about Anime and video game related stuff! So instead I’m choosing to, once again, write about something that isn’t about either of those things so…
Feel free to skim past this or give this one a miss if you aren’t interested, I guess.
So… If anyone’s still there… Hi! I hope you’re all doing well today and that the recent weeks have been kind to you! I’ve been doing really well myself, although there have been a few bumps in the road towards happiness, but for the most part things have been really great!
And with that in mind, I suppose before I get into the main topic of this post that I should clarify something first:
No, this isn’t becoming a blog about Plurality. I’m still going to primarily be an Anime and video game blogger (I’m currently making an active effort to bring things back to the early days of the blog where I writing more regular posts about those things on a weekly basis).
However, with that being said, being Plural is who I am. This is my identity we’re talking about here. And as such it’s a very important topic to me. And I want to be able express my thoughts about it using my platform.
So consider this a new series I guess! One that’s separate from my usual Anime and video game stuff, where I discuss Plurality and Plurality related things! And seeing as I’m horribly lacking in creativity, we’ll just call it “Plurality” for now. I might change it later. But that’ll do for now. Because I’m still a lazy boy, even after all these years.
I actually got the idea to do this when I was in the process of writing an Anime related post that aimed to focus on good examples of Plural characters in Anime. And then upon doing some research into Plural characters in Anime, it turns out that outside of maybe like two examples, almost every single character that could be considered a Plural representative was either portrayed negatively or simply wasn’t an accurate representation of what we’re really like as individuals. And that kind of annoyed me!
So with that experience fresh in my mind, I then decided to turn that post into a more general one, where I figured I’d share similar experiences, good and bad, in one big post.
So… Here we go!
So, let’s start with the positives! Because there’s nothing worse than starting a post out with negative stuff! We’ll save that for the end!
There are many things I love about being Plural, but these are the 5 most important ones I could think of.
1. I’m able to fully express myself
One of the best things that’s happened to me since coming out as Plural and accepting the other person within myself, is that I’ve finally been able to fully express every part of who I am to the world.
My other self, Yuki, had been locked away from the world, buried in the deepest recesses of my psyche, for years. And as such her unique personality, preferences, world views and everything else that makes up who she is as a person, were also locked away and never brought to the surface.
Now that I’ve accepted Yuki as a part of me and willingly allow her to front when she wants to, there are parts of myself, ourself, that I can finally express to the world and it’s incredibly freeing and uplifting. It feels like a huge weight has been taken off my shoulders and that I no longer have to hide parts of myself that I was previously ashamed of letting out into the world.
I’m a person who has always loved expressing themselves and wearing their heart on their sleeve, and for the first time in years I feel that I’m finally able to do so with no restraints. And it feels amazing.
2. I’ve never been more comfortable with myself
It’s probably no secret to anyone who’s followed this blog for a long time but… I’ve never exactly been the biggest fan of myself as a person.
Truth be told, there have been many times over the last decade where I can honestly say I’ve hated myself. I’ve never really been comfortable with who I am. I’ve always found it difficult to love myself and overcome my inner demons, having fought a long, difficult battle with depression and social anxiety since the early days of high school.
But after embracing Yuki, I’ve finally started to become more comfortable with myself and have learned to accept my flaws. And I think a big part of my self-hatred stemmed from the fact that I suppressed her from the world for so long.
I always felt incomplete. I always felt like a part of me was missing. And truth be told it was. My other self was missing.
Now that I can finally share my experiences with Yuki, I feel a lot more comfortable with myself. Because for the first time in my life I am myself. Fully. Unashamedly. I’m no longer half of who I am. I’m whole. I’m complete. I’m my true self. And it feels amazing.
I’ve always wondered how it would feel to be comfortable with myself, and I think I’m finally starting to learn.
3. I’ve reconnected with old friends
Another positive that’s happened to me since coming out as Plural, is how it’s allowed me to reconnect with old friends who I stopped talking to years ago.
Since I wrote my initial Plurality post, I’ve had so many old friends and long-time readers of the blog either leaving kind comments of support in response or reaching out to me privately congratulating me on having the courage to go public, and it’s felt honestly great. Many of these comments and messages have led to me catching up with these people and reconnecting with them, and it feels really nice to be surrounded by old friends again.
For a long time, many people made the decision to cease contact with me. And in retrospect, I honestly don’t blame them for doing so. Despite my status as one of the bigger and more well known people in the Anime blogging community, I was often accompanied by controversy for a variety of reasons that I’m sure are no secret to anyone who’s a long-time follower of me at this point. People chose to cut me off as a result of that, and I would have probably done the same if I were in their situation.
But now? I’ve cast all of that aside in favour of being more positive and open-minded. This new discovery has led to a new me. A better me. One that is less argumentative and less negative. Someone that people actually want to talk to. Someone that people actually want to be friends with. Someone that people actually want to support. And that feels nice.
As someone who suffers from a really heavy case of abandonment anxiety, having so many familiar faces reach out and offer their support and friendship has really meant a lot to me this past week or so. You all know who you are. And I love you all. Thank you.
And while we’re on that subject…
4. I’ve become a more positive, open-minded and accepting person
I already alluded to this in the last point but before realising my own identity, I wasn’t exactly the most open-minded person sometimes. I’ve always believed that every identity is valid and that every viewpoint is valid, so long as that identity or viewpoint isn’t actively harmful or hateful, but I also wasn’t above making edgy jokes at the expense of other people’s identities or making generalised statements about particular groups of people because of a handful of bad apples I’d encountered at one point or another.
But since coming out as Plural, I finally understand how it feels to be a minority in a world where the majority doesn’t understand you and isn’t willing to make an effort to understand you. I now understand how it feels to be treated differently, not just because of my personality or my world views, but for literally existing in a way that is different from the norm.
Until I came out as Plural, I never really understood what discrimination felt like. How hurtful it can be having someone hate you because of who you are. Because of something you have no control over. And now that I know from first-hand experience, it’s made me a much more open-minded and accepting person.
Because, at the end of the day, people can’t help who they are. We’re shaped into who we are by our experiences, our environment and other factors that are beyond our control and understanding. Sometimes that causes us to identify in ways that are anything but “normal”. For some people that’s identifying as transgender. For others it’s being non-binary or genderfluid. And for me, it’s being Plural.
Even the more “bizarre” identities out there, like Otherkin, are completely valid and I genuinely feel awful for poking fun at them and hating on them so hard in the past. Because honestly? They’re just being themselves and they aren’t actively harming anyone. Is it weird to identify as a dragon or a fairy or whatever the fuck? Sure it is. But it’s also not exactly normal to identify as multiple people in the same body or as someone who wants to change their biological sex to combat gender dysphoria.
That’s not to say all of these identities share the exact same struggles or that they’re necessarily comparable. But I think that everyone has a right to exist, no matter how they identify, and coming out as Plural has made me realise just how important it is for people to be accepting and understanding of other people’s identities. No matter how far removed it may be from whatever society has arbitrarily decided is “the norm”, which never seems to be fucking consistent anyway because what society deems as “normal” is always changing as the human race continues to grow and evolve.
But in short: It feels nice to be accepting. It’s made me a more positive person. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.
5. I finally feel like my true self
But my favourite thing about being Plural isn’t becoming more accepting, reconnecting with old friends or learning to love myself. It’s a lot more simple and less complicated than any of those things.
Simply put, the best thing about being Plural is that I finally feel like my true self. I feel like me. I don’t feel chained down any more. I don’t feel like I’m putting on a mask or that I’m forcing myself to blend in for the sake of making the people around me comfortable.
If people aren’t comfortable with me and Yuki co-existing in the same body, and having her front from time to time, then that’s a flaw in their character. Not mine. I should be proud to be who I am and I shouldn’t have to apologise for being myself.
I have never felt more complete and more fully realised than I have since I accepted my Plurality. This is who I really am. This isn’t a phase. It isn’t a mask. And it most certainly isn’t “bullshit” as some people have claimed. This is the real me. My true self. And it feels amazing to finally accept myself for who I am and share it with the world.
I know this isn’t normal. I know this is strange. I know it’s hard to understand. But at the end of the day, this is who I am and it makes me happy. And that’s what matters. It’s all that matters at the end of the day.
But, as with anything in life, being Plural isn’t all sunshine and rainbows unfortunately. There’s plenty of downsides to it as well, and despite how happy and euphoric I’ve been since coming out and accepting my identity, I’ve already experienced my fair share of hardships and struggles, which I feel are important to share with people who may not be super informed on Plurality as a topic.
That’s not to say that being Plural is a negative experience for me. It’s quite the opposite. But there are low moments, as with anything in life, and I feel that illustrating some of these struggles may help Singlets be more mindful of our feelings and the things we need to deal with sometimes.
I should also make it clear that these are just based on my own experiences as a Plural. This isn’t universal or anything, this is just 5 examples of what I have found to be the hardest things to deal with. Others may feel differently!
With all that said… Let’s get into it!
1. Misinformation and misrepresentation
So, funnily enough, this first one is actually the entire reason I ended up making this post to begin with! And it’s to do with the the way that Plurality is horribly misrepresented in media and how said media misinforms the average person about us and what we’re about.
I’m all for representation in media. And I think every identity should be given a chance to be in the spotlight of a movie, TV show, Anime or whatever else. I’m not even against those identities being portrayed negatively, because every identity has its dark side. There are evil gay people. There are evil trans people. And I’m sure there are evil Plurals too!
However, when almost every single Plural character in fiction seems to be a psychopath with multiple personalities that they can’t control and that compels them to do unspeakably evil things, or their “other self” is a “dark side” that “takes over” and makes them do bad things… That’s kind of a problem. Especially when it ends up becoming the basis for what most people think being a Plural person is.
The movie Split is the most famous example of this. And while I think the movie was unintentional in its offence, and actually think that it’s an entertaining watch, the damage that movie has done to the Plural community and how we are perceived by the general populace is staggering. Thanks to movies like Split everyone just thinks that being Plural means we all have a dark side and that it’s like having a split personality and that we’re all a danger to the people around us.
When truth be told being Plural is nothing like Split. At all. And the fact people are basing their knowledge about my identity off of a fucking horror film, that has been criticised heavily by psychologists who actually know what they’re talking about, is just really disheartening to me.
That’s not even getting into the countless other examples. I originally wanted to do a Listless List post titled “Good Plural Characters in Anime” only to realise there aren’t that many at all. There are plenty of Plural characters, but almost all of them are just “this character has a dark side and they are bad and ruin their life” and while that is a valid representation, it isn’t the only one.
Truth be told, the only good example I could find was Alluka/Nanika from Hunter x Hunter. Nanika is originally presented as a “dark” other self to Alluka, but once we get to know her better, it turns out that she’s actually just really misunderstood and isn’t bad at all. She has emotions just like everyone else and loves her brother just as much as Alluka does. And I think that’s very powerful and it’s something I’d love to see more in Anime.
And media isn’t the only thing. Misinformation about Plurality in general is something that’s commonplace all over the internet, and there are so many misconceptions and flat out lies that people just blindly believe about Plural people solely because they haven’t made a conscious effort to research the topic themselves. From people calling us all inherently mentally ill (while failing to understand what mental illness actually is), to claiming that healthy Plurals can’t exist, to saying that we’re all just “faking it”, the lies and misinformation surrounding Plurality and Plural people are so high in number I could probably make an entire post about them. Maybe I will.
Anyhow, it’s disheartening to see and I wish people would take the effort to educate themselves, rather than just blindly believe what they see in movies or what they read from some viral Facebook post online. That and having more positive Plural representation in media would be really nice. Perhaps one day, but for now, that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon.
2. Plurality is stigmatised
Another unfortunate fact about Plurality is how stigmatised it is by the general populace. Most people hear about Plurality and immediately come to (very wrong) conclusion that it’s something that needs to be “fixed” and that it’s something that can get in the way of you living a normal life. And while this is true for some people, most notably those who suffer from mental conditions like Dissociative Identity Disorder, it is far from universal and a vast majority of Plurals are both healthy and are capable of living perfectly normal and functional lives.
Despite being Plural, I have a mortgage, a full-time job that I work at 5 days a week and I’m surrounded by friends and family who love and support me. I can drive. I can take my baby girl out for days out at the weekend. I can go on holidays to foreign countries. I can go to concerts. I can write this blog. I can do everything that a “normal” person can do, and yet if the average person were to learn I’m Plural, they’d probably assume I can’t do any of those things. That I’m “sick”. That I’m “dangerous”. That I’m “delusional”.
But truth be told, I’m just a normal person. But I also just happen to have another person inside of my body. Yuki isn’t a voice I’m hearing in my head. She isn’t a delusion. She isn’t some big, scary dangerous part of my psyche that deserves to be stigmatised. She’s a real person. Just like you. Just like me. Just like all of us. She just happens to share a body with me.
This social stigma is hard to live with because, despite coming out online, it has prevented me from coming out in several other places out of fear of it being taken negatively. I can never come out about being Plural to my workplace out of fear that they’d fire me or deem me as mentally incompetent. I haven’t come out to my family because I know they’d take me to a specialist and try to get me “treated” despite there being nothing wrong with me. And that hurts, because I wish I could.
Perhaps one day the stigma surrounding Plurality will disappear and I’ll be able to. But for now, I’ll just need to be content that I’ve been able to come out at all.
3. I’ve lost long-time friends since coming out
While coming out as Plural has allowed me to reconnect with many old friends and long-time readers, the opposite has also, unfortunately, happened as well.
I’ve had several of my friends, some of who were people I considered among my closest friends, make the decision to cut ties with me because they couldn’t support me any more due to believing in the misinformation and social stigma surrounding Plurality.
I even had people, who I considered some of my best friends in the world, refer to my identity as “bullshit” and claiming that I “need help” and that to say otherwise is “enabling and advocating for unhealthy mental health”. Apparently I’m ableist for… Not being ableist? And they’re all totally not ableist for saying my literal existence is “bullshit”?
I’m not a fan of throwing shade at people, but man did it hurt to see people I did so much for, and would have given anything for, people who I considered my family, toss me away over something like this.
In particular it made Yuki very upset because she felt responsible for me losing these particular friends and believed it was her fault. When truth be told it was their fault for deciding that their narrow worldview and being right was more important than their friendship with me.
On the bright side, coming out as Plural has helped me realise who my real friends are and who really has my back no matter what, and as much as it pains me to lose these particular friends, it’s probably for the better if they were willing to cut ties with me over something like… My literal existence.
4. I’ve experienced gender dysphoria (and it fucking sucks)
So… This is kind of a weird one and is one that’s probably going to be controversial but…
My Plurality has caused me to experience gender dysphoria. And I hate it.
I’m a cis male. I am not even remotely close to being transgender. I like being a guy. I am 100% comfortable with being a guy. And I don’t want to ever not be a guy.
But Yuki? She’s a girl. And she’s in a mans body. And sometimes she finds that really hard. Sometimes when she’s fronting, she finds it hard to look in the mirror. She sometimes hates her body (my body) and wishes she could be the cute, feminine girl that she imagines herself as.
Yuki has had me evaluate my gender identity in ways I never thought I would and it’s hard to explain because I honestly don’t fully understand it myself but… I know that it feels awful and I hate it.
Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often, but it’s been often enough that it’s been a notable bump in an otherwise smooth, happy, euphoric journey.
I’m not sure what the solution to this is, or if there even is one, but I hope some day we can both overcome it…
5. Discrimination will always exist, and we will always struggle to find true acceptance
Like I said earlier in this post, since coming out as Plural I’ve been unfortunate enough to be the victim of discrimination, both from people I considered friends and from strangers who decided my identity wasn’t valid and that it was totally okay to just shit on me for existing.
And while I’m a tough guy and can generally handle it, often just laughing it off as close-minded bigotry (because that’s what it is), that doesn’t make it any less hurtful or upsetting to deal with. Yuki in particular really finds discrimination difficult to deal with, especially because she’s only just had the courage to put herself out into the world and try to make friends. And for her to do that, only to be met with people telling her she isn’t real or is “bullshit” really upsets her.
We can converse with one another, and she’s often told me that she sometimes wonders if she should just go away. That not being here any more would make things a lot easier because it would allow me to go back to living a life free of discrimination. But I’ve told her time and time again, that the joy she brings to my life, and others, is worth it.
But it’s hard sometimes.
It’s hard living in a society where Plurality isn’t widely understood. It’s hard living with an identity that is constantly misunderstood and misrepresented both in the media and in fictional stories. It’s hard to find acceptance when the first thing you’ll often hear in response to telling someone you’re Plural is something along the lines of “So you’re crazy?”, “Like Schizophrenia?!” or “I hope you get better soon, it must be hard hearing voices in your head!”
And it’s even harder knowing that, even if Plurality were to become more widely understood by the general population, that we would still always struggle to truly be fully accepted in the world. Even with the facts, people are often still set in their ways and refuse to budge out of stubbornness and close-mindedness. I’ve already seen it happen with a handful of those former friends I mentioned above, who I was kind enough to provide facts and resources to, only for them to continue to tell me that I’m mentally ill and that I need help, rather than acknowledge that they were wrong and have been proven wrong by science and psychology.
Of course, just being accepted at all is wonderful and having so many of my friends, fellow bloggers and readers support me and Yuki means more than anyone could ever understand.
But I still wish we could live out in the open, free of judgement. That we could live in a world where people hear about us and simply reply “That’s really nice. Good for you.”
I wouldn’t wish discrimination on anyone. Every identity is valid and deserves to be respected. And I hope one day the world as a whole can learn that.
And… That’s it. That’s all I have to say on this particular topic.
I appreciate that this is wildly different from your not-so-regularly scheduled programming, but for those who took the time to read all of this: Thank you. It means the world to me. To us. Thank you for taking the time and effort to understand us and learn about us and what we’ve experienced. The good and the bad.
I have a blog update post in the works where I’ll be discussing my plans for Lethargic Ramblings going forward, and I hope you’ll all look forward to it!
But until then…
Stay safe. Live your best life. And I’ll see you in the next one!