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Trigger Topics: Conformity (004) Transcript

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<voices overlapping, music in background>
Oh! Good morning — oh! Do we have to get up?
Keep it down; I’m trying to sleep.
Yeah, we want to make that recording.
What are we going to record today?
What? What recording?
You know, the one about multiplicity.
You know, the usual — we’re trying to make a difference in the world or something.
Oh, yeah.
Well — I just really wanna help people!
I have no idea what to say.
I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there who have really good questions, and need really good answers.
Why talk to them? It’s not like anybody gives a shit.
Well what makes us an authority?
I don’t really think it matters how long we’ve been multiple, or how long we’ve known we’re multiple — we’re multiple!
<Aliessa laughs richly>

Episode Four: Conformity.

Conformity. I don't think there's anything that chills me more to the bones than the idea of being in the pack. And I'm not sure why exactly. And I'm exploring that in my head, just for a moment. Why is it that I have such dig-in-my-heels resistance when I see people being invited to an event? Or when I see people take on a new fashion? What is it about it that just makes my skin crawl? It's obviously a trigger for me. And I think about that idea, like, why I'm so resistant to it. And the answer starts to come to me. It looks an awful lot to me, like doing what people are telling me to do. Like, I'm gonna get hurt, because other people are telling me to do this thing. And I actually have a precedent for that in what little I remember from being abused. When my babysitter said it would taste like a banana and that his girlfriend did it, there was this pure pressure type of thing. Like, if this other girl is doing it, you should do it too. And I don't know how often that was used on me before that day that I remember. How often was I told to do something because other people were doing it? How often was I told that I should do the position that a girl in a magazine did. How many times was I told that I should take off my clothes because somebody else was? I don't know. I don't remember. But something tells me that's where it comes from. So there's this big group of women, Braveheart Women, and they're doing a wonderful thing. And I completely recognize it's a wonderful thing. I wrote a whole book on it. I wrote a book on 'Surrender to Passion'. I talk about oxytocin. I talk about the power of oxytocin to banish anxiety. And I go to one of their meetings. And I knew already, I had a lot of trepidation and I had resisted going to meetings before. And I go to a meeting. And I know I can't partake. I can't get into that circle. I know it's going to happen, I'd heard about what they did. I heard about the oxytocin breaths, I heard about this little ceremony they do, putting their hands on each other's hearts and looking into each other's eyes. And I couldn't step in. Couldn't. We're not even talking about didn't want to, or even afraid to, just couldn't.

So why is it? What what is it about this, I see the validity in what they're doing. But I can't bring myself to conform. I can do my own oxytocin breaths, and enjoy all the showering of oxytocin inside of my body, and banish my anxiety simply by thinking and by feeling and allowing myself to be and breathe. And I know it works. But you're not going to get me to step into your circle. Conformity, I can't do it. I recognize on some level that there are aspects of this circle in the breathing in the loving in the looking into each other's eyes, that are love bombing. So there is an intellectual part of me that has resistance, just because there are some techniques being used there, that parallel, that overlap that, that have a Venn diagram overlap with what cults do. And I know that eventually there's an ask - come and join an inner circle and pay money and come to our monthly group or our weekly group or whatever it is, it doesn't matter, the details are not important. Whatever it is, I know that at some point, there is the money aspect, but I would agree they're not a cult. They're not separating people from their support system. They're not trying to alienate them from the rest of the world. That's the difference. It's not there's no money. It's not that there's no love bombing. It's that they're not being isolationist, I guess. So I recognize this is not a cult. But there are some cultish things going on and I find myself resisting that. But that's an intellectual resistance. That's a resistance because I see what you're doing and I know what you're doing. But then there's the resistance that has nothing to do with that, that I could go to a free circle and I could enjoy this high that everybody else is enjoying, this natural, from inside of my own brain high that I could elicit with another person. And there's not a single part of me that wants to. In fact, there's parts of me, there are individuals in here who will actively resist, who will sabotage my moment in a group like that, if I were to allow myself to partake. I could not fully enjoy the exercise because there will be parts of me, literally, or I guess the new version of literally, figuratively taking their mental daggers and stabbing the person I'm looking at in the eye. Because, because they can't allow themselves to be part of a whole group. I could do this one on one with somebody, maybe? I could certainly do with my partner. As a Tantra exercise. It really is. It's, it's straight out of tantra classes. But it's the very act of conforming, the ritual of it that I resist. I can't. And this is why I'm not in a coven. You know, I have been a practicing pagan for, goodness, 30 some odd years. I've been a practicing pagan, but I'm a solitary practitioner. I can't. I have a coven, it's in my head, and I can't do anything with the coven outside of my head. I can't. I can go to an occasional Beltane., it's not as ritualized, I guess. It's not as conformity-ized as these little rituals these women are doing.

It's interesting to poke at myself, and I don't know how many other multiples have this issue. I don't know how many of them were pressured into doing what they were going to do in a peer pressure way. You know, where, where, "Well everybody else is doing it? Or, women are doing it? Don't you want to be a grown up? Don't you want to be a big girl?" I don't know what they were saying to me. These are all in the list of, or the realm of possibilities for things that were said and done to me. I only really remember the words spoken to me that one time. I don't remember what they said all the other times. I do also have now I found stacks of Playboy magazines underneath my, my sexual molester's bed. I mean, stacks. We, and Playboy. Cosmopolitan. I would go through these magazines. And maybe this is tied to it. Because I would go through the magazines and I'd be looking at these women, with their legs spread and everything all out and look at them and then think of my own body and not get it. I couldn't understand how what I had was going to become what they had, I couldn't picture it in any way. Like I was comparing myself to them. Maybe other people had taught me to compare myself to them. I couldn't understand how men and women fit together and stuff. And I would look at these magazines baffled at the idea of sex, because these magazines were displaying women, but not actually displaying the act of sex. I was looking at, like, what's going on? I don't get it. Where am I getting this hair? Where's all this stuff, you know, going to look like this and, and that's never going to be me. I think I was taught to compare myself on some level.

So anyway, you know, I see an ad, I get actively invited to a local Braveheart Women group. And I, I always twitch. I like the person who's inviting me. They're a client, they're a customer, I want to please them, I want to go to their event. And I can't go. I can go to general networking events, it's not a conformity type of thing, but have a lot more trouble thinking about paying for a ticket to a gala, and having to get dressed up. And I'm going to have to do that this year, because I'm on the board of directors of a group that's having a gala. So now we've got this conformity issue. It's a little less resistance for this one than for Braveheart Women, but I have this conformity issue, I'm going to have to go to a gala. That means I have to, and here's—we're layering on layers of obligation. I'm going to have to get something to wear. And then that triggers a whole other cascade of issues, because then Aliessa is going to probably want to put on some makeup to go with whatever it is we're wearing, and so other people are resisting and saying, "Well, we're not going to go and get a dress, because then that'll really trigger you and you'll be, you know, Mrs. Makeup and Earrings." And then and then we'll have to worry about whether our hearing halls are closed and things like that. It's just—it's a cascade of problems for me. being on a daily basis, a basically gender-neutral being that happens to have tits and a vagina. This is an issue for us. Who are we going to be if we go to the gala? What are we going to wear? How comfortable are we going to be? What if we switch? Are we still going to be comfortable? We had this happen to us at the conference—the QED conference, it was Hoganas Quede Education Dynamics, I think was what QED stood for. It was Quede Consulting's conference, and I was one of the backend coordinators, working on their program, helping with the website. I was a presenter. And this happened. So one year I'm going to present and we were given the opportunity to videotape ourselves. And as a good business person, as a conforming business person, we talked ourselves into it. We're like, "Okay, we hate being on camera. We hate having film and footage of us. But it would be stupid to give a presentation for an hour and pass up the opportunity to have it on video." So we put in the money. And we got ourselves, you know, the guy who was coming in to videotape many of the presentations. We booked him and he filmed us and that got screwed up, which is why it's not plastered all over the web. But in preparation for the conference, we go back to conforming again. Here we go.

So here's the inner conversation the Crisses have, it's like, "Okay, we're going to be on camera. We should look good. What are we going to wear?" Oh, boy. So tug of war begins, as a group of beings start vying for well, who were going to put on camera? Who's our best person on camera? Who has the stage presence that we want to put them on camera? Well, hands down, we all elect Aliessa. And that comes with every femme detail of that you could imagine. So we're going to put Aliessa on camera. Great, terrific. She'll have a great stage presence. Can she handle the material? Okay, so it's going to have to be Aliessa with a backup of somebody who can really handle tech issues. Okay, fine. So now it's kind of a blend, or somebody's doing pass-through information. Okay, fine. We can handle that. All right. So Aliessa, what are we going to wear? I want to wear a dress. Okay, fine. We pick out a dress. Okay, day of the conference, she puts on the dress. Well, I'm going to wear this dress, I have to shave my legs. Well, if I'm gonna wear this dress and shave my legs, then I also have to wear these shoes. Okay, fine. If I'm wearing this dress and wearing the shoes, and I'm going to be on camera, I'm going to need some cover up. We've got some deep circles under our eyes, we're gonna have to take care of that. Okay, fine, we put on the makeup. And then of course cover up becomes blush, because then you lose your cheeks. And then, you know, well, are they gonna be able to see our lips move on camera? So that becomes lipstick. Are they going to be able to see our eyes that becomes mascara and eyeliner? Is the whole deal. So here we are, we're all made up. And we're going into a conference where nobody has seen as made up ever. We'd been in, I don't know what, two, three years in the local business community - maybe four years by then. But we have been in the local community for years and nobody had ever seen us with a stitch of makeup on. And our hair done and wearing a dress and wearing the shoes. Okay, so this is like, completely out of left field. This, this was an interesting day and I can go into that. So here we are. We're conforming, we're doing the woman thing. We're like fully dolled up. We're, we're overweight, but we're wearing a dress. We didn't care, Aliessa doesn't care. She, she thinks she's all the shit and she is. And so she walks into the conference, and we start getting some comments from people, including some of our friends about, you know, how we look and how we're dressed. Oh, and to top this off, okay, just the icing on the cake is, that day we have a cold. So we're stuffed up. And we're considering taking as like a Sudafed or something, you know, so we can get through our presentation. So we're sick. And we had just come out—so this is got to be 2009. We just came out as being multiple to this community and told them that we were writing our book and about to publish. We told a small group of people. I think we had told our women's group by then, and that was all we had told. So we had told a group of maybe 10 women, a couple of whom were at the conference, but they were well connected.

So we're all dolled up, people had never seen us like that before. And Marie, my really, really good friend Marie, we were just getting close around then. We weren't terribly close, we weren't, you know, as close as we are now. But Marie comes up to me—I think this was before my presentation. She comes up to me and pulls me aside and tells me that somebody told her that I'm multiple. I don't know what must happen, because you know, we've got Aliessa front, heels, dress makeup. All of a sudden we switched, because our inner guardians like, "Uh-oh, people are talking about us." So Almerissa's front all of a sudden. We're already struggling with our brain fog from the cold, maybe whatever meds we'd put ourselves on to get through thism blowing our nose in the bathroom, you know, the whole ninem check in our makeup bubble blah. And Marie's like, "We know your multiple." And it like, it hit us like a ton of bricks. So Almerissa's front. She's another one who can pull off a dress and makeup, don't get me wrong. She's just like ultra femme, also. But another friend of mine saw the look cross our face. She's one of the people who knew, but she had never seen it. And she saw that, I guess the eyes of steel, you know, and and the—I mean, what can I say? It's Almerissa. Almerissa is really like—well, Cindy, Cindy put it perfectly. Cindy said, like all of a sudden, she saw ice bitch from hell. And she had never seen us look like that before. It's sent her into a whole yizzy over the next several weeks. So here we are. And all of a sudden, because because we're tired already. We're, we're at this conference, we're doped up we're sick. Our Criss mask wasn't on, and we didn't even realize it, I guess. You know, we must have lost the mask sometime that morning in in letting Aliessa come fully front so she could be on camera. Maybe we just left the basket home, whatever it was. Almerissa is on our face. And somebody sees it. And you know, all kinds of hell broke out. We didn't know at the conference, we found out afterwards that she had seen that and all the conclusions she came to and all the thoughts she had, and we had to clean up a big mess. And you know, now she understands. But whoa, that was a big multiple moment for us. You know, we didn't realize in our weakened state, what was happening, and yeah.

So conformity, conformity has all kinds of issues for us. And that's another case of conformity - to be the person we needed to be, to be in front of the camera, to wear those heels, to wear the dress to wear the makeup. Urgh, yeah. So yeah, it can be really messy sometimes. People aren't used to seeing us as who we really are. And hearing all of the different voices and seeing the different faces. People don't fully get it until the day I guess they get it.

Back to the topic at hand, I'm—I apologize to people who know me. I'm apologizing here and now, I don't necessarily apologize to them publicly, for a bunch of reasons, but I'm sorry, I can't conform. I have trouble going to gatherings where I I know there's going to be expectations, I guess. I prefer a very casual gathering where there's no expectations, I can bring my Criss mask, I can be perfectly comfortable like that. Or I prefer very, very quiet and personal one-to-one, one-to-two type of things where if the mask falls off, and the people really know me, it doesn't matter. A high anxiety environment like the QED conference, or what would be a high anxiety environment for me like Braveheart Women, is not a place I feel terribly comfortable. And I'm on edge, and I'm prepared for trouble. I've had so many problems, you know, in addition to the Braveheart Women idea here. I've had so many trials and tribulations getting close to women. And I have reasons for it and I can go into that at some point. But there's so many troubles and tribulations with getting close to women for me. Women have betrayed me on masterfully skillful, emotional, mental, traumatic levels that, that men haven't. Men, the abuse is generally blatant—or at least my childhood. The abuse was more blatant. There was more physical, it was more demonstrable, it was like a part of my head could say "That's wrong, and I know it." With women. It's been more subterfuge, neglect abandonment. My best friend when I was a kid, pulling the whole "I can't be your friend anymore, because everybody else doesn't like you" kind of thing. It's been that utter backstabbing, betrayal stuff. That's not to say that men have never done that, but that's usually been in my adult life, when men have pulled things of that colossal a level. When I was a kid, it was the women and the girls who pulled that and, and so I think there's another layer on top of the just conforming layer, is also being in a crowd of women. And this is really ironic, because I run a women's luncheon once a month, but my women's luncheon I find very safe. It's very authentic, there's no rituals, there's no expectations, there's no conforming. I am not required to put my hand on somebody else's heart, and repeat these words, and say this, and sing this song. That is a big difference for me. There's no song for me to sing. There's no ritual for me to stand out if I step out of. And that day that I went to Braveheart Women and there were 60 or 70 women in the room, I was not the only one to stand on the outside, thank goodness. And that's part of why I felt safe enough to even be there, it was so big. And not everybody participated. But in a smaller group with 10 or 11 women, it's gonna stand out like a sore thumb if I'm not participating. And that's one of the millions of reasons I will not step into that room. Do I have to step into that room and explain to you and list the trauma that has happened, the, the pain and the abuse and where I've been and why I have this knee jerk reaction about doing a, you know, "Do this when I say do this" kind of thing? Do I have to follow your script? Do I have to sing your song? It used to actually disturb me even in my herb classes. We would do our little herbal thing and occasionally Robin Rose Bennett, my, my teacher would break out into one of like Alissa Thielle song or something. You know, "the mother of the plants has come to me in the form of a beautiful dancing green woman," or whatever it is. So you know, things like that, like we would have, like little song breaks. And there's a part of me that digs in his heels and hates that. Hates it. Oh my god. And you know, since I've gotten Alissa Thielle tapes, and I listened to the songs myself, and you know, I can feel the vibes and the energy that are intended, and I understand it. And yet still, "Hey, everybody, we're going to break into song" feel so much like Disney movie-esque, or what was the name of the—Romper Room. You know, it feels so Romper Room or something? I don't know, there's some level of me that like relates it back to 1970s. It's so 1970s. Yeah, that's it, that 60s and 70s. Like, "Let's all sing. It's s the sing-along show. Follow the bouncing ball." Yeah. And maybe that's even part of it. It's just like, ooh, this is so 70s I don't want to go back to the 70s. It doesn't like it there. I'd rather be, you know, either capering through Central Park with drunk and high hippies, or maybe go occupy something with some millennials. Yeah, that's me - born in the wrong time. Sorry, I switched.

Okay, so that's it for this episode, because I really don't want this to go like any further. That's really the reason. So if you have problems conforming, please take a look at the show notes. Put some comments in. And, you know, I'll try and address what anybody has to say. And have a great day and don't conform. Whatever you do, step out, be yourself. Bye.

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