Let's expound on my theory of how our head *works* here.
So quickly, we all respond to "Criss" as a whole and as individuals. Not derivations of Chris, Christopher, or Christina — though some individuals in here may have names derived from these, we as a whole and individually respond to "Criss". We also love being called "Crisses" when being addressed as a whole, as we can instantly tell when we're being addressed as a group.
So The Crisses is, literally, "there are many Crisses in Criss."
As appropriate we prefer to be addressed as individuals but mostly have given up on this. It's become such an ongoing disappointment, why bother to expect it. It's a sore spot. We rarely display who is speaking as individuals in public spaces, and just kinda chug along. This encourages some of the depersonalization and LegoCrisses discomfort and other issues below, such as creating LegoCrisses to handle situations, or Crissing Out. So we definitely prefer plural-safe spaces where individuals can front fully even if they don't announce who is fronting.
LegoCrisses: a Relationship-based Modular Sub-System
A good portion of our multiplicity is based on relations and relationships. Who we're with has a greater effect on who we are than we might like to admit. Our abuse history is partially situational, sometimes based on our location — but always dependent on who we were with. So when we're with someone, we mould -- misc independent fragments will mesh and blend in with fragments of established people (skills, knowledge, consciousness, values, etc.), like the colors in a kalleidoscope. Similar to how singular folk shift how they act and behave at work, school or home, having some elements of their personality compensate for the company they keep and the environment they find themselves in. But we take it to a much stronger and consciousness- and memory-influencing place than singular folk do.
Each actual person of the Crisses -- the 3-dimensional persistent identities with names, histories, full psychosocial repertoires, skillsets, memories, emotions, spirituality, beliefs and personalities -- can have their own individual masks, fragments, and so on that color their personality. [In terms of structural dissociation, each of our named people (listed on our Who's Who of The Crisses list) has their own traumas, (C)PTSD, ANP, and EPs.]
When we are alone, or have access to plural-safe space via a trusted friendship or relationship with other plurals, we can be more "put together" in our persistent individual identities. We stop using our Criss2 mask, set aside our LegoCrisses, differentiate, we may switch more notably, and if we feel fully safe, then our distinct individuals can fully front as their unmasked self. This is a preferred state for us. It's relaxing. We become more creative, more self-realized. Less dissociated, more present.
"Crissing Out" - Mashed Potatoes - the Kaleidoscope
Other times, when we are anxious, in uncertain environments, interacting with strangers, etc. — it's a slide into the kaleidoscope effects and can become quite pronounced and disorienting if it lasts over a period of time. We call it "Crissing Out" when we're employing the Criss2 mask and LegoCrisses to the point that we start to lose ourselves as individuals.
After a while of Crissing Out due to stressful interactions, we can become "Mashed potatoes" — unable to tell who is who internally. It's messy, probably depersonalization. We start to feel like no one at all. Like we're putting on a show; it's not authentic, or comfortable. Memory doesn't work as well at these times, and we're just altogether frazzled and discombobulated (literally). Sometimes we go through the motions and don't even realize what we're doing. We lose the ability to be proactive, make choices, have agency, make group decisions, etc. We just react.
We realized long ago that we were just slapping together some type of automaton to do Fronting stuff and go through the motions at these times, someone who could be adaptable, temporary, to whom it didn't matter what happened externally. Someone detached. Disposable. These are our LegoCrisses.
So this is the opposite of what we're aiming for in life. We want to work together as a team, as individuals in harmony, like a well-run business or organization where things are getting done and shit really matters.
This state is neither being singular nor being plural. It's more like being no one at all. It's not healthy. It's also highly disturbing for us, and for our friends around us who miss their friends in our system, or who may want us to be more engaged and authentic to ourselves.
We have a bunch of "go-to" formulae for "who to be in certain situations" and it's not something we do consciously. We also create constructs on the fly to fit situations. These constructs have a low level of investment in life and are pretty distanced from what matters.
We have some are blends that get names - Heidi is one such blend that is named. So is Pandora. Buck New & Faun New blend in a strange way where they can split our body physically in weird ways, we just had the name Harlequin come up for that blend/ability. We don't consider these to be LegoCrisses.
But there's a bunch of "Crisses" (as in entities responding to the name "Criss") that are specifically just lego combos of fragments and some are random/as needed, where others are somewhat more consistent. We have started just tossing names like "ShoppingCriss" or "RedTapeCriss" at them, like temporary placeholders to make it clear that it's a LegoCriss we're referring to.
We don't have a list of LegoCrisses. They happen subconsciously, on the fly, and are the opposite of persistent. They're more like recipes and can be adjusted as-needed to specific situations.
It's possible that our masks are LegoCrisses as well, as in they may be attached to this "subsystem", modular/adaptive in nature, and just common go-to blueprints. As such, we realize that we had (for example) a "Spike" mask (our nickname there was "Spike of Bensonhurst" because we were from Bensonhurst) while working at Rogue Music in the 90s. When poking around to make sure that "Spike" didn't end up being a headmate, we realize we actually fronted while working there and likely didn't have another LegoCriss taking over so much as a pre-made go-to overlay over other headmates like Erin or Aliessa who were fronting at the job.
So the Criss and Criss2 masks may be made up of Legos or fused from Legos, the question is currently on the table.
This brings us to the maps we've been creating. We almost always have some minor tweaks to publish...and of course the very act of making the big map changes the inside of our head and we find even MORE people *arghs* or at least pieces. Sometimes subsystems shift, and trade folk between themselves, or new conduits are found or created between subsystems or individual system members, making different people or fragments more available to others.
Some of the pieces listed by name on our headmap are surely just fragments, but most of them are people. We're working from "names" rather than "people" on the headmap, because the people keep changing names over the years to denote that they've pulled a permanent transformation or rebuild maneuver -- they've dropped a fragment, or perhaps adopted another fragment, whatever -- and thus they're different than they were…and really feel they need a new name. The name changes on the list may not all denote changes. It's possible someone simply wanted a name change for various reasons.
Every time we go "Ok, everyone hold still" *snap picture* Dammit they moved! A friend, Jenn, said "::snap photo, when flash clears:: ok, where did the extra 5 people come from?" -- and that's really kinda what happens. :) We have to keep tweaking a map while working on it, and when we decide it's done, and hit save, often we see something else that would need to be adjusted to make the map more accurate. Then something else. Drawing headmaps could probably be a full-time exercise if we were inclined to.
We had a headcount of 65 or 66 going into doing the 4/1/04 headmap...counted afterwards and there were 71 people on the map. It's amazing: How the hell did that happen? Have we forgotten how to count?
And there are more. Some are simply unrecognized or unnamed. Some may not want to be talked about, represented, or found. The more respectful we are when we do find fragments or people, the better, because it might help convince others to come out of hiding. We can't dare say any name in particular is not a person until it's proven to only be a fragment. People might pose as fragments, but fragments are unlikely to pose as people.
Between map generation, we at least attempt to keep the main Whos Who list updated. So there always might be a few more people on the list that haven't made it on the latest fully drawn up map yet — if they let us put them on the list.