I spend a lot of time as Ruthie still, and a bit more time as Charlie lately. And then, of course, just me. It makes me aware of their different energies, that it’s the kind of energy each of us has that is the most core part of what make them feel like personalities to me. There are also all these things connected to that kind of energy—memories and the thoughts I have about those memories, conclusions they led me to, ways of seeing the world, things I feel like doing in that state. But the basic difference between them is an energy.

And I can see now that when I was dissociating other things in order to occupy that energy state, the transitions between these different ways of being were very jagged and abrupt, especially because some of these states aren’t very regulated. They are extreme. As the slide between these different ways of being is more gradual and as the ways of being themselves get less extreme, I’m going to start to experience all of this as myself, as one person, instead of as several people.

So Ruthie has this very “busy” energy. She’s optimistic mostly, but she’s also reactive. If I drop something, Ruthie will be the one to pop out and register surprise. If a friend comes online and it looks like we’ll get to chat for a while, she’s the one with the screeches. This wasn’t very evident when she first came out, because she just cried and wanted Nata most of the time, but now that the edge is off that, it’s more clear that’s the core of her personality. It’s nice to have her around. She gives me little happy bubbles, and as she gets closer to blending with me, I have more energy to do things, especially after my teaching day is over. And it’s nice.

She has these other functions too: she notices physical needs and let’s me know. “I’m hungry, I’m cold, I’m tired….” That’s Ruthie’s arena, so this part of myself helps me a lot with self-care. And she’s attentive to emotional needs—not just hers, but the whole system. “Charlie’s upset,” she informs me. “Lana’s sad.” Or, “Anna needs to talk.” She doesn’t like to be late, and she’ll let me know when we’re getting behind schedule in the morning, and she generally likes life to have structure and order and predictability to it. She’s happy when I’m washed and clean and there are clean clothes to wear and healthy foods to eat. It’s interesting, because she still uses baby talk, but she’s emerged as this very mature and responsible part of me.

Anyway, it’s an energy that sets her apart now.

Charlie has a completely different energy. It’s very grounded and calm. He has all these other memories that really aren’t calm memories. They’re very traumatic, but he’s calm. Calm and loving. That’s just who he is. He’s protective, but his protectiveness is not an aggressive protectiveness. It’s quiet, and when I can feel that energy it’s very grounding.