I have realized, in the time I have spent with the parts, that each of them has a distinctive kind of hum in the background. They feel different to be in a way that isn’t exactly about mood and isn’t exactly about being a particular developmental age. I think this is what feels like our “personality” to us, although it’s not something we’re conscious of and it’s hard to pin down and put into words. I’m only conscious of it because I’ve moved in and out of them: I’ve done something that gave me perspective on it. But I think there is a kind of rhythm inside, a beat or a hum or an energy, that has a “me” quality for each of us.

In dissociated parts, it’s probably more static—I’m guessing that the division of the self into parts naturally leads to more rigidity. Other states end up leading to other selves: Charlie, for example, doesn’t do frustration. He won’t feel it. It will get dissociated, or I will switch into a part who feels more at home with that emotion.

My hum, the background noise in the “host” if you want to call me that, is a constant flow of words. It is like wheels turning. I am constantly making sense of things, linking this idea with that idea, and I am doing this with words.

It’s necessary to do this. It’s necessary to do this when life is so very, very confusing as it was when I was a child and still is as a result of my childhood. It’s also sort of annoying. There are large chunks of me inside that wish I would just shut up.

In working at integrating, I have to work very hard to silence this hum: I suppose it’s why people meditate, and maybe you could say what I do most of the time is just meditate, because I am trying to silence the hum so that other things can be heard over it.

At the same time, I get the sense that a certain amount of this hum isn’t necessary. It’s just a way of fending off anxiety. I have words, I have logic, I have a way my world fits together for me and so I have a defense of some kind against the uncertainty of all the feelings: I have a way to protect myself from all the “not-me-ness” inside, which has been the parts, with their messy, childish emotions, their needs, their demands, their unreasonable fears. I have a way of making sure that I do not have to be them, because I can be this hum of words and sense-making. Everything else can be them.

Today, it crossed my mind that when I said I will go away, this is what I meant. The hum of words that is my core sense of what it feels like to be me will go away. I won’t become the parts—I’m not going to just slide in between 8 different kinds of hums, because they are all dissociative too. The hum will be entirely new.

I hadn’t really connected this up before as being a part of the change that will need to happen in me as I integrate. I knew there were the feelings to comfort. And I knew there were beliefs that needed to be modified. But it hadn’t completely sunk in that this would need to change. I knew, but I also didn’t know.

Or maybe I just didn’t know how frightening this would be. I noticed how my understanding of my past changed. The facts of my life changed in my mind. I noticed how some of my habits changed. I noticed some of my beliefs changed. Many of these things changed less than I thought they would. Many of these things had already begun to change quite a long time ago, but there hadn’t been a framework or an explanation for why they had changed or why they needed to change. And the framework was nice to have. Overall, though, these were expected changes. They didn’t scare me. Not all that much anyway.

But I hadn’t exactly expected the hum to change. Also, I hadn’t expected the change in the hum to create so much fear for me; maybe because I didn’t realize I wouldn’t know in advance what the new hum will feel like. There’s no way to know this. I just have to start feeling it as it happens.

I think there is an idea that, in integration, the new personality, the whole personality, is necessarily going to be wonderful and the only thing holding you back is fear of the unknown. But that’s not true. The whole personality is still working at healing trauma. The whole personality still has enough baggage to fill a box car. This personality may not turn out to be wonderful at all. It will most certainly feel more alive, but that’s not always a pleasant thing. Alive involves pain, it involves a certain degree of messiness and sliminess, it involves uneasiness and a sense that things don’t quite fit and aren’t right, because life is that way. It hurts and it is messy and it does not always feel comfortable. All of these are “more so” when your history involves so much trauma.

And so I just really don’t know.