I thought over my “system”, the labyrinth inside my mind, last night while lying awake. The system has always been composed of almost the same parts (wow, I’m talking about my own mind as if it were a machine!), but there’ve always been slight changes and the terminology has changed pretty much.
It all started in August of 2001 with some simple doubts regarding my attitude towards blindness.
I don’t even know when I started to use the typically ninth-grade term “compensation”, but it must have been somehwhere in the summer of 2001.
This “compensation” referred to the need to make good my blindness in some way. It pretty much referred to not being dependent (hence pretending to be independent) and not needing accommodations.
In seventh, I’d felt the elimination of the effects of blindness was needed, and in eighth I felt this was exaggerated, and I should just be a normal, nice child and not try rigidly to eliminate my “special needs”.
But in the summer of 2001, I started to wonder about this. I don’t remember how it all went exactly, but I do remember once having a talk with Mum about schools, community thigns etc. allowing blind people in.
I wondered why I was allowed to take swimming classes at the “normal” swimming pool, why the preschool and kindergarten and the high school had wanted me. Mum said something about them not having to do much extra for me than for a regular kid.
That evening, I started to wonder: they had to provide textbooks and tests and handouts in accessible formats, they had to verbalise everything they did, I had to do different things during P.E., etc.
Wasn’t that much extra? It was then, August 13, 2001, that I started transcribing my own thoughts as if they were a conversation. An example:
“My thoughts are in doubt, again! But why in doubt? I just shouldn’t nag so much! ‘No,’ says the Astrid that wants to be equal to the sighted, ‘and then you’ll certainly express such matters in extreme curtness*!’ ‘Well,’ says the other Astrid, ‘then you should learn not to be so overreactive.’”
(August 13, 2001)
* On August 8, 2001, I’d created a theory of why I could be so curt when folks tried to be helpful at times, which referred to the being frustrated with my need to compensate for my “special needs”.
As you see, at the time I considered there to be two different viewpoints in my mind, both of which I named just Astrid. On the same day, I first referred to myself in the plural form: at first, these folks where the two halfs of me, but later they became two seperate
Astrids, and they started conversing with each other:
“‘Yeah,’ (my compensating* Astrid), ‘we should finally be normal and, as Mum said one-three-quarter years ago, we shouldn’t be so egoistic.’ ‘But,’ (my Astrid that strives for freedom*), ‘that’s already almost two years ago, when we, although the class accommodated a lot to us, kept being curt
and unfriendly. And also, this curtness could be solved to not be so rigid anymore and try to just be ourselves (8 August 2001).’ I (yeah my ttwo halves) think.” (August 13, 2001)
* This was what I called the part of me that wanted to eliminate the system to compensate for blindness related or other “special needs”.
** I felt I would be sort of free if I didn’t need to eliminate myself and could just be myself.
I introduced the “ladies” in September. Well, that was when I first started calling them “mesdames” (French for “ladies”). They didn’t have the names they have now; I referred to them by their opinions on the topic of “compensation” (and used those in all situation, but I applied
compensation to everything that sucked).
Somehwere in March, I started speaking of the three me’s. They weren’t the same as the “mesdames”. I used these Astrids to rationalise my behaviour: there was one little girl who wanted to be protected and just be secure. But she couldn’t survive cause there was an Astrid who wanted to eliminate
herself totally. But she coulnd’t come outside either, cause there was this girl who didn’t care about the whole thing and was pretty indifferent. She’s pretty much what Brenda is now, except that I had adopted a pretty similar attitude at the time.
From about March of 2002 on, I used this “system”, along with the “mesdames” to describe myself, The three Astrid fought to all get outside, and the
“mesdames” were critics who discussed all happenings inside. During the consecutive three months, I had no idea anymore of how it all started and completely lost track of what was going on. I talked about wanting to eliminate myself, about wanting to be secure and hide away, but neither of them
could come outside cause that stupid, careless, indifferent Astrid was there. So, I did want to be nice etc. etc., but it all sort of hid behind this stupid me-mask.
I kept referring to my blindness and its issues and the word “compensation” remained in use, but it had pretty much lost its original meaning.
I had to get everything clear again in the weeknd of 15 and 16 June, 2002, cause I was going to explain what was wrong with my on the 17th, and I wanted something understandable to come up with. So, I somehow managed to get a logical text of how it went: in the first months (November, I said) I had the feeling of
needing to compensate for my disability, but getting frustrated about that, and then in January I didn’t want to do that anymore and I started to let down my school work and be more curt than I used to be. But I didn’t want to act like this.
After June 17, I worked with and on the ninth grade issue as if it were the very basic, blindness part of it. This was mostly successful – I had realisations about disability, philosophised a whole lot and in November wrote my article
What I Realised, which indicated that I hadn’t yet figured the thigns out about blindness, but that I had some realisations and had to work on finding the right balance in the whole standing up for myself and compensating for my
In the first half of 2003 (annex second half of tenth grade) I had some issues to deal with again.
We had these social skills things at school and, while I wanted to behave in the “correct” way, I realised this wasn’t just about finding the right balance and about getting this inner fight to get away (which I could do rationally) – it was about understanding situations.
I struggled cause I figured I had difficulties that weren’t normal, and hence I had the issue of suspecting an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
I still at times had these doubts, but they weren’t as severe as they used to be. I didn’t use the original ninth grade names anymore, but I hadn’t yet “invented” the names as they are now. Basically, it was pretty quiet inside my mind where it came to this.
The whole blindness issue started to play a larger role again in the summer of 2003. I
still also had the issue with suspecting an ASD(basically, in the summer I suspected about half the DSM-IV). But I basically struggled with the weird combination of my abilities (hence intelligence) and difficulties (social, daily living, etc) and its meaning in the light of blindness.
I just had an uquiet mind in general and all sorts of questions kept flying through my head.
Then, somewhere in October or November, I started experiencing about the same feeligns I had had in ninth again. The “ladies” now had names (Carol and Jane) and they were more personified than the original “mesdames”, but the system was further similar. I however didn’twrite about it
till March, cause I felt I had enough issues to deal with and, if I didn’t write about it, it wouldn’t sort of exist. I did write some conversations with the “ladies”, where I had a thought and they sort of reacted to it. Similar to what I did in ninth. But in March it all was so severe. I had
now fully realised that they were parts of me, so it wasn’t as bad as in ninth, but it was still confusing. Then I also “created” Brenda – I didn’t have her inside cause she was one of these three Astrids. Milou didn’t come into existence till later that month, when I was feeling REALLY weird with all these “people” inside. I sent all the three “ladies” on holiday (why should I send Milou? she’s more part of me, the
part that’s bad at life skills etc) last May and for a while didn’t have issues with it. I could even resolve to quit this f*cked “kept from” issue without having a stupid Jane protest (June 1st).
But now… it’s all soo wierd… I’m not having inner fights all the time. Why should I? I didn’t have that allt he time in March, either. Not even in ninth. But sometimes… like when I’m thinking about some deep issue… which I do pretty often… It’s all sooo confusing and sometimes it
seems as if there are contradctions within my mind. As if I’m feeling one thing but feeling something else.
Lastnight, I was thinking about this issue. I was thinking for myself if these muultiple perspectives could perhaps have advantages over just having one me. I thought that on the one hadn it’s causing me to be confused, cause there are contradictions within my mind. But on the other hand, mainly the concept of having this little girl (Milou) inside, helps me understand and deal with some contradictions within my mind (the ones sometimes called “asynchronous
development”). But it sucks cause I can more easily just see Milou as me (which at lesast for now wouldn’t help me) then have Jane and Carol quit fighting and have Brenda away (Brenda’s also more personified than Carol and Jane). I can decide that I’m an intelligent girl who’s bad at whatever other skills and who is emotionally young
etc, and so to speak eliminate Milou as a separate part. But I can’t eliminate Jane and Carol, cause they keep fighting and sometimes my own conscience doesn’t agree with either. And Brenda? Well, I can see her as just part of me, like I can do with Milou – Brenda doesn’t say much either (she
doesn’t care), but then… I don’t know… how this all goes together…
*End of lecture*
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