The posture comes back. Not permanently. But it makes an appearance. When it first cropped up, I began to think it is Verka who moves like that, but it is not Verka. When she is fully, that is not how she moves. She does a little, but not to that extent.

The posture is either me, or it is Verka really fully out when she wasn’t before and I only thought she was, or it is a confluence of Charlie/Annoushka/Verka.

I suspect it is the third one.

But let’s see.

It is not how I have ever moved under any circumstances that I can remember. In other words, it would be a change if I did that.

Annoushka bought credit for my data card yesterday. I don’t know why she was switched out, but I ran out of vouchers in the middle of something I wanted to do. It seemed urgent. I coached her on the way to the shop. Try to act grown up. Just ask for recharge vouchers. Then say 100. It is not complicated. You can do this.

She did it, and my friend was there at the shop waiting for customers to show up and it all went smoothly. I may have switched back into myself in the end anyway. It was fine. I talked to my friend for a bit. I petted the dog. Then I left.

Fine. All fine.

I think sometimes I ought to take them outside more and let them interact with the world. It would help them understand the present better, but it is that kind of thing that scares me. I have never heard their voices—except for Sam, who does sound like he is two and possibly Lana’s but in a kind of mixed state where she’s trying to pretend to be me and her voice is, oddly enough, deeper than mine. I don’t know if they sound different from me.

My job, as a part, is to maintain continuity in the self. So I don’t naturally relax into just letting myself be whatever fragment of personality wants to assert itself. I think What will people think? Will they notice?

It’s served me well. Very rarely has anyone ever noticed anything that would suggest I am in parts. My last therapist said I was “mildly” dissociated.

Fuck that. I’m not mildly dissociated.

But.

I have gotten used to the idea that I am in parts, that this is just the way it is and I am too damn old to go on not dealing with this shit. I have even relaxed enough to let the parts come popping out whenever they feel like it as long as I am in the safety and quiet of my own home.

This is all good. The parts are sliding into each other a little more. We can cooperate better: Annoushka can wear her boots and I can still get my recharge vouchers. It’s still hard to get Verka to eat and the more she blends into me, the more contested food is becoming. But that will come. And the seven and unders don’t pick up after themselves—I pop back and every dish they’ve used all day is still there where they last used it, unwashed and uncleared away—but that will come too.

The problem is I’ve adjusted to this, but the next step is to become the person I would be with all of them together. And this has been happening. It’s been going on for years. It’s been gradual and it’s not been especially noticeable except that my wardrobe got blacker—Verka prefers black—and more feminine (Charlie used to pick the clothes), and I started wearing slightly more makeup (we got past the 2×2 residue). People adjusted. It was not shocking. No one asked what the hell happened to you.

Also, I became nicer. I became more talkative, more at ease with others, warmer and more compassionate. It wasn’t a bad change.

The thing is that I have always had parts. I have always switched at times. They have always leaked through into me. Part of what I have done, in trying to smooth their influence, is a farce I’m carrying out for my own benefit. At times, I see less of who I really am than everyone else does.

I don’t know who I will be in the future. It’s not possible for me to know. I don’t know if the noticeable difference on the outside will be slight or extreme.

It’s scary. To integrate, I have to let go of the need to preserve the continuity of my self-image.

And I have to let in a little more of the reality of what happened to me. I have. Some. Not enough. It is hard—it is harder than it seems like it ought to be—to really take in the idea that I was trafficked for around 11 years as a child, most of it by the Russian mob. It’s hard to break through the image of what ought to have been—the façade—that I was raised in a conservative suburb by conservative, culty-religious parents. It’s not that this wasn’t real, but it covered over a worse truth that was, in many ways, its opposite. The shared element is control—nothing else.

It’s almost as if, now, I have all the pieces I need to know who I was and that would allow me to become the person I ought to be now, but I can’t do it. I won’t let myself.

But I don’t know why.

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