I have a friend who describes themselves as nomifluid. She defines her various aspects or breaks her persona down into different components each with its own name. At first I thought it was her going through what all trans people do, trying on different names until the right fit comes along. After many conversations she described something completely different. Then I realized I was more like her than I was willing to admit.
I kept this to myself for ages out of fear I would be accused of having a mental health disorder known as Dissassociative Identity Disorder, or DID for short. I also don’t want to be accused of having schizophrenia. But I, too, felt that I had different layers to my identity that I was holding back. Unlike what my friend described where she feels like different names when she has a different part of her personality dominating, for example when she is in a dark mood she uses one name verses when she is in a happy mood. I can kinda see this but now wonder how deep does it go? Is this a natural phenomena more people experience than we currently know or is what her and I experience, while similar not exact, something else than what she is describing? Or is she unique in her experience and going through something new to human knowledge? I don’t know but I will examine my own experiences and compare them to her in the hopes others will come forward with their stories should they have them.
Here is how I describe what I feel. Throughout the course of my life I have always struggled with locking down my identity. I have always known from day to day I can feel like a completely different person with entirely different interests. This has caused some anxiety as I often lose interest in something I am vehemently passionate about only to pick it back up later. I have noticed there are patterns to my different manifestations of my personality so I too gave them names. I don’t wear the names on the outside. But I know them quite well as distinct identities while not being distinct personalities inside me, if that makes sense.
Stephanie is my primary self. I identify as Stephanie at all times. She, her, me, that is who I am. I legally changed my name to Stephanie. The name fits me and it sounds right when people call me that. Anything else sounds off. I have given a name to my primary self as the one who holds us all together. I say us not as in DID whereas I have different people all vying for control of the body, that’s not what this is. Rather it’s more like different components of the whole each with it’s own name, each with its own distinct set of interests and defining attributes.
There is Michelle, the tomboy. She is all that remains of my masculine side. Or rather she is the manifestation of my masculine interests. Michelle would be comfortable in jeans, a t shirt a baseball cap sitting on a couch drinking a bear eating pizza while watching a football game with her girlfriend. She does it enthusiastically as she wants to be noticed. Michelle the tomboy is also the one who has a strong interest in cars. When I am in tomboy mode as it were I don’t feel masculine enough to claim genderfluidity in myself. However I feel masculine-aligned enough that it makes me feel tomboy is acceptable. A girl who has strong interest in male-leaning activities. Not a male figure however. He is dead. THE RAT, that represented deadname he no longer exists.
Next is Ashley. She is the cheerleader. She is superficial. Loves model and celebrity culture, drinks diet sodas, is probably pretty ditzy but might be faking it for show. Ashley is my most feminine aspect. When I am feeling super girly but also snobbish. Quite stuck up in fact. She is the one who loves to remind people of our past accomplishments and our connections to more famous people than us. It boosts her ego to be in the spotlight. She would also love to be a model, actor or photographer for a living if we could pull it together and give her reigns.
Next we have Victoria. She is the witchy one. Her interests are astrology, witchcraft, necromancy, tarot, the supernatural, conspiracy theories and cryptozoology. She believes in aliens, ghosts, fairies, mermaids, Atlantis, gods and goddesses. Victoria wants to use her spiritual prowess to accumulate super natural control over her surroundings to manipulate the forces of nature to bend to her will. She has a light and dark side to her interest in magic. She sees no difference between a benevolent spirit and a demonic force. She gives them equal representation.
Wendy, the inner child. She is the little girl hiding just beneath the surface. She plays with Barbie dolls, sleeps with Care Bears, watches Rainbow Brite cartoons and loves to play pretend all day long. She was suppressed by the others for so long she sometimes fights her way to the forefront. She is the reason we buy so damn many toys. She also has a tomboy counterpart, Mandy, who fuels our interest in boys toys.
Rachel. She is the dominatrix. The raw sexuality. While bodily speaking we have zero libido, she is the one who would ravage a sexual partner should we get ourselves into that situation. She drives our sexual desires and interests. While most of her desires fall under the banner of curiosity there are a few things she has tried we could find comfort in should the need arise. She gets little control over the rest of us. She is mostly silent biding her time.
Tiffany the typical teenager. She is our shopaholic, dancing queen, lip gloss wearing sparkling in makeup and glitter. She loves going to the mall, eating out and watching fun movies at the theater. She is the most sociable of us all. She loves flirting with boys, girls and enbys even if she doesn’t expect anything to come of it.
There is another darker aspect we don’t give a name to. I keep her under wraps. She sometimes lets us lose our temper. She is not evil incarnate rather she is our base desires and our dark side rolled up into a singular entity who could work with Victoria to unleash demons should the opportunity arise.
None of these are real people. They are all pieces of my personality divided into distinct aspects when I am feeling more like one than another. The names are internal. I assigned them ages ago sometime in my youth before I had settled on my femme name Stephanie.
How did I discover this? Well it started at an early age. My parents said I always liked talking to myself. I do but I am not talking to distinct personalities rather the different parts of the whole. I have always done this.
When I was a teenager I started experimenting with the idea I might be schizophrenic or might have DID. After having spoken with psychiatrists, people who have those disorders and having read extensively up on them I don’t think it is either of those, although I scored high for schizophrenia during a recent mental health evaluation. That being said I don’t feel like multiple people rather a broken person who has assigned names to each piece but can unite the whole under a singular umbrella for expediency purposes, that being me Stephanie Bri.