United Front: Please Wipe Your Feet Before You Come In (019) Transcript
<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.
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>
United Front: Please Wipe Your Feet Before You Come In. I'm going to read the article that I wrote in 2011 called 'Please Wipe Your Feet Before You Come In'. It's actually the first real post that I did in the United Front boot camp. It sets up the paradigm of your head being like being in somebody's house. And a lot of United Front, if you think — I always think of United Front as like your typical little house with a white picket fence. And your head is the house and the white picket fence in the yard. And everything outside of that — this is just how I picture it — everything outside of that white picket fence is the outside world. And that's the model that I use just for the paradigm, the metaphor, for the entire boot camp.
I'd like to welcome you as a guest in my head briefly. However, before you come in, please be polite, and wipe your feet so you don't track ice and mud into my house.
I'm really glad to meet you all. Every single one of you. Here, let me shake your hand. Let me take your coat. The bathroom is the first left down the hall. Does anyone need something to eat or drink? I'm so happy you took the time to come to visit me. It can get lonely in here with only about 70 of us. So it's refreshing to have you all come by. Won't you please have a seat? I've been so excited to have this precious time for some conversation with you.
You know how everyone's on their best behavior when they have guests. Well, it's not really any different when you come to visit. Guests are well-behaved, you show them hospitality, offer them a snack or something to drink. Even if you've got a new housemate or roommate, you'd be on your best behavior for quite some time after they move in. You don't start misbehaving as soon as they've moved in, sitting around and just your underwear, farting and burping unshaved and unshowered, right?
But of course, my head mates are not new roommates. I mean, they started "moving in" when I was a very young child between, ages three and seven years old. However, back then they kind of snuck in. They played various roles in my life hiding in my mental closets, wearing masks to look like me when someone rang the doorbell, saving my ass several times without me even being aware of it. Perhaps like the elves and the shoemaker, they sometimes mended my shoes, or gave me nice clothes to wear - perhaps the house was suddenly cleaned when I wasn't looking. Sometimes they were so good at pulling off "being me" that they even had me fooled. There were plenty of hints, some overt, some covert, but it was easier to overlook the hints than to question myself and my comfortable take on reality."
But when I turned 15 everything changed! I started to notice these sneaky denizens, asking for their names, seeing their faces, and listening to their voices. I thought I was channeling them from somewhere else. LIke their voices in my head were the results of a spiritual antenna picking up on distant radio voices. It took about a year for it to sink in that these people, these internal voices and faces, were entrenched — they were housemates (or “headmates”) in my mental home — and they weren’t going anywhere. I, some value of “I” anyway, made a decision to get along with them. It’s like we decided to start all over again, starting at the “Hi, my name is ___. Won’t you please wipe your feet on the way in.” What started with just 2 or 3 people in my head who were in agreement turned into a full-fledged welcome wagon that invited more and more internal entities to show themselves and get welcomed into the fold. By age 17 we had identified 16 entities, nearly all of these early-emergers agreed to take part in the welcome wagon. Then the number became 24. And it kept growing over time. Our mental apartment became a commune. Some of our rules were explicit, and we carried out a variety of disciplinary measures, round-table meetings, elections and votes, etc. and created a modified democracy in our own head. We invited everyone who could to participate in our governance, to become part of our volunteer-run welcome committee, and those in the shadows saw that we were safe, and when they felt ready they came to join us.
After all of that, we did eventually decide to dig around in the mud in our head, and came up with subsystems and more entities until our headcount reached about 73, fragments included. We did all this work with very little help from a psychologist. Most of our work was with self-help and abuse recovery books, and coming up with our own tools, maps, paradigms, rules, systems, and governance, without any external aid whatsoever. There’s still a few holdouts, those so buried and so hurt and damaged that we decided it would do more harm than good to challenge them to become co-aware. They don’t insert their opinions and actions on us, so we simply nurture them where they are and are ready in case they ever change their mind and decide to participate in life. We know they hold the worst of the things we’ve experienced and “forgotten.” And it’s our deliberate decision to live as a functional entity and go on without requiring them to participate and without 100% recall of our early childhood.
The journey to becoming functional wasn’t all roses and happiness; we made plenty mistakes along the way, took many paths that wasted time and resources, and discovered many challenging things while "working on our head." In the United Front paradigm, we want to bring you the cream of the crop of our experience, so that you can put it into use as quickly as possible.
Many of us multiples have allowed ourselves the self-image of being broken, of being abused, of being trigger-happy, of being helpless, of being childish, of being in desperate need of being saved.
So, that's what I wrote. And the date on that was June 4th 2011. That's what I wrote in 2011. And I would say for the most part, I still agree with everything in it. I still have personally decided to start to explore some of the the triggers and things that have have been tripping us up, and to employ a health professional to help us. Somebody who's a trauma expert, somebody who's not going to pressure us to integrate, somebody who knows their way around DID and has had some experience with people who have DID. And I'm inviting her to help me. So that is promising at the moment. Only had two appointments at this point, I'll keep you updated. But I still believe this is 100% true. I don't think it's necessary to bring our baggage to the conversation. The conversation of United Front is coaching. It's life affirming. It's moving forward. We all have PTSD in my system, or at least we haven't found anybody who doesn't. You know, we're all created by different circumstances, some of which we're really awful, some of which were less so. And we all stand the chance of retraumatization one another from time to time. And sometimes somebody in here can crumble to pieces and other people get triggered because of it, and so on. And, you know, it can be a little bit of a domino effect here and there, because we share our mental space, and we care so much about each other. But we don't make our life about the trauma. Our life is really circling around where we're going from here. We've found that there were things in our way, that the PTSD we all still have is, is creating a barrier for us. So we've chosen to do something about it. But we're not, we're still not bringing that mud to each other. And if it happens, we'll deal with it. Because we love each other, because we care about each other, and because we share this life together, and we want to move the life forward.
So I invite you to try that. You can use my tools with United Front, with this podcast and with Kinhost org as a way of focusing more on your relationships and where you're going from here, and leave the PTSD, the damage, the abuse, history, the trauma to your health professional. You can work on United Front with your health professional as well, that's perfectly fine. And I would hope they would see what it's trying to do is forward facing. We're not digging in your past. You know, like I said, leave your baggage at the door, leave the dirt, the mud, the ice at the door. Take off your shoes, come on in. But it's a matter of, of at least trying to strip down to the bare basics. To try and, and relegate the PTSD to the PTSD pile. And the DID issues, which is that there are many people in your head, and they're not necessarily getting along, to the DID issues. Okay, the fact that those people also happen to have PTSD just makes it more complicated. It doesn't make it impossible, just more complicated. So I look at it as, no matter what your internal landscape looks like, I look at it as a matter of respect. If you can't do the 'leave the mud and ice at the door' for everything going on in your internal landscape, try and make a safe space. Make a room or a house, a meeting area, a grove in the woods, I don't know what your internal landscape looks like, but make an area where everybody does leave their junk at the door. Okay, so that you get as pure of an interaction between spirits, between people, between headmates, without the baggage and the luggage.
And that may mean some people are sticking their head in the door because they don't feel comfortable leaving their baggage outside. They may be sticking their head in the door or listening outside the door and trying to figure out what you're doing in there. And that's okay. Let them. That's fine. You want them to hear people getting along. You want them to hear healthy interactions. You want them to know that people aren't running around trying to betray each other, that you're not there to punish one another, that you're not there to start pointing fingers and blaming. You want them to hear supportive talk about moving into the future together. You want them to hear you having your discussions and your meetings and carving out what your values are going to be. What are your shared values? You know, what, what, what does each individual in your system value that you can bring to the table? So if this one's all about love, and that one's all about creativity, there's no reason love and creativity can't coexist. Maybe you start weaving that into your, your mission statement I guess, or your vision for where you're going to go as a group. So the whole idea of 'Please wipe your feet before you come in' is that whole idea of you can separate that. You know we are nothing if not dissociative. And each of us as an individual can, for a few minutes of conversation with each other, leave our crap outside and come in at least as clean as possible. And have the conversation and make it healthy and productive. Now, that doesn't mean that nobody's gonna be standing in the room with their hands crossed across their chest and looking angry and pissy. Or that someone else is unable to communicate, either due to age or their own personal disability. Maybe somebody in your system is deaf or blind and can't participate as fully as others. Figure out ways around it when you can. You know, put put the idea on the table, "Hey, you know, so-and-so can't hear us. Is there something we can do? Is there another way we can communicate that they can participate? Is there somebody here who can interpret? Is there somebody here who can talk to them. Anybody here can share what we're talking about." Put your conversations on a loudspeaker. Let everybody in your system hear it. When you come to the table — and we'll talk about meetings later. But when you come to the table, and you're going to start laying your stuff out. You know, make it so that other people can hear, it doesn't matter. This isn't a secret meeting, basically. You're not trying to exclude anyone. And you're not trying to make it so that the people who can come to a meeting are better than anyone else. Just because you're welcoming people to quote unquote "your house" or "your meeting room", doesn't mean you are the leader, it doesn't mean you're the "host", it doesn't mean you're better than anyone else. It just means you're the first one to say, "I'm sick of this, we really got to talk." You know, "We got to find a better way of doing this, this isn't working." That's all it means. You're just one of possibly many of you, who said, "You know, Criss is right, we got to stop doing this. You know, we're just triggering each other, we're just creating cascade failures, were just dominating, we're just, we're eroding our relationship with each other, we're eroding our internal trust, we have to do something different, different, different. You know, like, do the same thing over and over again, you get the same results. We have to do something different."
So I know I'm a little preachy about this, I understand, people may get sick of it. But as inside, so outside, and vice versa. If it works in the external world, I bet it will work on the entire internal world. If people leave their ulterior motives outside, if they leave their selfishness aside, if if they come together truly looking for a win-win relationship with each other, if they decide that this shared life is a something they value and they want to see move forward, if they want a more livable shared life, if they want a shared life that contributes to the world, if they want a shared life that doesn't feel like it's a waste of time, then this is a very solid way of doing it. It works with externals, probably worse than it works with internals, believe it or not, in spite of all of you having PTSD. In the external world, people can have hidden motives. In the external world, people can lie more easily to each other. Now, I'm not saying you can't lie to people in your system or hide things from them. But I wouldn't highly recommend it. You know how often people find out that someone else lied in the external world? Well, it's a little easier in the internal world. If everybody starts working at reducing the boundaries between you and eventually you start sharing everything, and you become more and more co-aware and information passes through the separations between you more easily, you may find out that somebody is not being honest. So why not just be honest? Why bother lying? And then there's the people who are mistaken. They misremember, they, they have pieces of information that are wrong, and so on. That, that can happen to. Just forgive it and move on. I just want to encourage you to have an open mind towards one another, towards the ideas in the United Front system. And I'm not going to ask you to trust me. I am going to say I really did this. I really did this. I mean, I put it into a paradigm where it's easy to talk about. It took a lot longer than than my system, you know, took me about 30 some-odd days. to write out my system in the boot camp. And certainly what I did in my head took much more time than that. You know, it was about what 20, 20 some odd years, about 25 years after I discovered I was multiple that I wrote the United Front boot camp. So I'm giving you about 20 years of experience, and boiling it down into something you could probably do in a month or two. You know, that, that you could at least start working on and start getting the hang of and make it into a habit over the course of a couple of months. Is it going to be perfect for you? Probably not, you know, your system is your system, and you're going to have to tweak things and customize things and massage things a little bit and make it work for you. That's obvious. But as as one multiple to another, I'm handing you what I think of as pretty much a gift. I'm giving you a gift. You can choose to accept it. You don't have to accept it. You know, the the naysayers in your head may be right. I could be full of shit. But I'm not. I mean, as far as my system goes, it works. And I know other systems who've done a lot of the things that I've suggested, and they've found it works for them. And I'm giving it to you as a gift in the hopes that will work for you. But you know, just like any gift, I could have bought the wrong size shirt. Could be the wrong color. Could be something you'll never need. I don't know that. So maybe you should open the gift and decide whether you want to try it on. Do you have something better to do? You have something else huge and important and that looks more promising on the horizon that, that you're gonna try instead. Because if you do, I want to hear about it. But if you don't have anything else going on, and you don't have anything better going on, and you don't have anything better to do, try it. See if it works for you.
So that said, I'm really looking forward to doing more United Front posts, because I'm really considering going back into the actual book. So I'm going to do more United Front boot camp posts and parallel some of the boot camp while my brain and and, you know, a subcommittee of my head are off thinking about and hammering out details for the big book. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna try out some ideas and flesh out ideas here in the podcast on the way into the book.
So I really want you to enjoy each other. Try make friends and cherish each other. Really. I mean, even the ones you don't think you get along with today could be your best friends, protectors, allies, your soldiers, your, your saviors a month from now. How fancy is that? That's pretty fancy, actually. So, have a great day. And please, whatever you do, take good care of yourselves.
Thanks for joining us for this episode of Many Minds on the Issue. Your Patreon support will keep this podcast coming. You can find more information, resources, and our Patreon link at K-I-N-H-O-S-T-dot-org Kinhost.org.