<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>
Hey, welcome back everymany to the Many Minds on the Issue podcast. We're the Crisses, this is Aliessa.
We are very proud to announce that we have finished all transcripts for prior episodes. They can be found on kinhost.org, go to Many Minds on the Issue link in the sidebar, and then you will find it on the homepage for the podcast.
We recorded this episode earlier this week and the transcript will be out shortly.
Episode 25 Loyalty
This is tied into a memory we were working on healing today (Monday): trauma responses around being exiled from community/losing friends.
Where to start, what to share and what content notifications to put on our story? BUT shame lives in dark/silent places. and some things need to be aired out.
Welcome to our teen soap opera. Or maybe it's a fable based on a 100% true story. Some names may have been changed to protect kids because kids are kids and kids can be such pollywogs sometimes. In 1980s Bensonhurst Brooklyn, naming the names we need to name means nothing. Also, changing the names means nothing. This is pretty funny to us. They're all popular names for kids in the area back then.
This happened in a phase of denial, amnesia & dissociation about our sexual trauma. We were raised in a Roman Catholic neighborhood with a culture that taught that premarital sex is a sin and we ought to be "saving ourself" for marriage. It was also 1980, there was no Internet and parents routinely didn't teach much about sexuality. Our education was being handed some books that were supposed to explain stuff to us so our parents could get out of it. So we were pretty convinced about abstaining from sex.
Here's the series pilot episode…
We were a part of a little group of kids on our block in Brooklyn around when we were turning 13 years old. Hanging out, talking, laughing, playing games, and so on. Dad had left, so when our mom worked late shifts we sometimes let our friends into our apartment to continue talking and hanging out. One night it was getting late, kids filtered out as they had to go home. Only Ralph, a boy our age, was left. We ended up making out then he got handsy and started talking about going further. He wouldn't take no for an answer, so (in retrospect we're pretty sure Almerissa switched in…) we took him by the ear, and we tossed Ralph into the hallway outside our apartment with a firm see you tomorrow and locked the door in his face.
Apparently, HE must have been shame triggered. He got up extra early, beat us to talking to our whole friend group, told them all that WE had made a pass at HIM and that HE had to leave before we — I dunno, I guess forced something…? and thus all the kids declared us a slut and flat left us. In other words, most of the so-called friends in that group never spoke to us again.
We wouldn't have said anything. As far as we were concerned it was done — in fact, we might have started dissociating that it even happened already. Of course, everyone making such a big deal out of it made it remain front-of-mind. Ralph could also have come to us first in the morning, and we could have had a talk. But he didn't.
Loss of belongingness Part 1. That's where episode 2 of the soap opera begins.
Corey and Fernando come to our door and ask us to hang with them in the hallway. Then they tell us that all these other kids don't want to talk to us anymore and what Ralph had said. We were — actually pretty baffled. Autistically baffled. We don't really get it. But what sunk in was that we weren't "in" the group anymore. And Corey and Fernando listened to our tearful story and believed us and said they'd stick by us.
Our bestie Denise who we'd been crushing on since we were like 8 years old, when she first moved into the neighborhood, comes over to our apartment building where we're hanging with Corey and Fernando, and she pulls us over to the side and says that she believes us that we didn't do it, that we had kicked Ralph out, and she'll be our friend — but only when the others aren't around.
<Record scratch> — say what?
This is where we need some flashbacks to all the other kids in the neighborhood over the years starting the summer after Kindergarten who had pulled the fair-weather-friend card on us. "I can play with you during the summer, but I can't be your friend at school." Or "there's no one better around, so I'll suffer through playing with you." Other autistic kids are bobbing along to the soundtrack here. Are they nodding their heads or stimming? Maybe both; let's go with that.
So our C-PTSD raised its alarm bells. It said "No way." <Sound of a vase crashing to the floor> That was the sound of our heart breaking. We just lost our longest/first girl crush. Bye-bye, Denise. It didn't make it hurt less, but we never spoke to her if we could help it again.
Loss of belongingness Part 2. Interlude: Loyalty Part 1
So, if you remember, our upstairs neighbor Corey (who is still our brother to this day and won't give a fudge about being named) and that other kid Fernando stuck by us. Loyalty. And that's an important theme here.
B: [Yawning] whaaaaat…
Did you know we're about to break for commercial?
B: Oh, yeah--
Here it comes…
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Now back to our episode…
Corey was our first D&D dungeon master, and when he wrote our name on the character sheet, he named our cleric Sister Criss. Spelled like that. Suddenly we went from Chris which we kept wanting to change, to Criss which we all really liked and adored, and was a gift to us from Corey (and Peter Criss — Corey was an avid KISS fan).
Note, our first character was a cleric. We wanted to be a schoolteacher or in the helping professions, a nurse or a veterinarian. Then we wanted to teach special ed. And our first character was a human cleric because you had to be human to be a cleric in 1st edition D&D. We chose healing people over anything else. Always.
Our brother by another mother, Corey may have saved our life. In so many ways. I don't think he knows this. But we'll make sure he gets the message.
Nothing Matters Like (Ralph's) Family
SO — the saga continues. Ralph was apparently so ashamed of what he had done (I guess) that he continued to lie and told his cousins the story about what we didn't actually do. These cousins decided to take turns defending Ralph's reputation and virtue — mind you we were too young for any of this nonsense! He was our age! Lisa, the older cousin, was a 16-year-old high schooler and her sister, Teresa, was maybe a year younger than us but twice our size.
These sisters would stake out different areas around our apartment house and wait around for us and pick fights with us. We got into a string of fist fights. Including being terrorized one day when Lisa was outside our junior high school waiting for us. So we turned around and went right back inside the school and waited for our mother to pick us up after work. Much to the annoyance of the school, but they didn't bother doing anything about it. So, we were terrorized for a while by these 2. To defend his honor. Because we kicked him out of our apartment and said we'd see him tomorrow. And it's a wonder we have a hard time making friends huh?
So why are we telling this story? Not to garner sympathy for the cringe parts — but shame hides in dark places so it's also important to air that out. But this is also where trauma response healing comes in. We can focus -- brain and body -- on all this terror, on losing the love of our admittedly very young, infatuated life, being back-stabbed and betrayed… OR — and this is where everything changes: we can focus on the loyalty.
We've had a few good cries already about the loyalty.
Corey — we love him fiercely. We loved him enough to run interference and take hits from the neighborhood kids when they went after him. He's always been there through a lot of shit for us and with us. We were bigger than him. We often won our sibling wrestling matches. Of course, we defended him like the younger brother that he was.
The Final Act: Loyalty
Now we look back at all the other loyal folks in our life and that brings us too today. We're feeling somewhat guilty because we have been keeping parts of ourselves from people because we're afraid that friends will break our heart or flat-leave us or back-stab us for 40 years. And thats why the story needs telling. Loyalty.
It's not about Denise. It's not about Ralph or his cousins who tried to beat us up. It's not about the other kids. It's about Corey. It's about Steve (may he rest in peace), the first boy we dated who was ALWAYS loyal even through breakups and proved that we could date and still be friends. It's about all the other ex's who remained our friends. It's about the business friends who have stuck by us through thick and thin, economy shifts, changing our business to pursue our passion, and moving to nearly all online instead of local. It's about loyal customers like the web maintenance client who started with us in 2007 and still sends us a monthly maintenance fee.
It's also about friends, intentional family, students, and everyone else who is willing to stand up to bullies and tell them, "No, you don't know Crisses." It's about our ex-husband who had a heart attack & surgery last week and we were afraid to reach out — so we timidly emailed well wishes and if you want to talk to us…and he said, “of course I want to talk to y'all!” <choked up> And then because of dropping masks in health care he ended up with COVID from the hospital and is back in with pneumonia.
We never held back anything important. We inspire loyalty because we are loyal. We're patient. We listen to people. We always help when we can. We do our best to keep our word, to be where we say we will be, when we say we'll be there. We've been hurting ourselves over losses for 40 years without fully appreciating what we have gained along the way. That's what we've been holding back.
In part this damage happened because of that other trauma issue we've been talking about lately. We were always trying to prove that we weren't a burden, and that we deserved to live. We healed that about 8 weeks ago. We always thought people were putting up with us. It's been very hard to allow ourselves to feel loved, or to appreciate everyone who returns our loyalty. It got lost somewhere between having been looked at as a burden by our parents and because some 12-year-old girl we were infatuated with was a fair-weather friend and broke our heart. C-PTSD is so unfair!
So now we see how we've inspired a lot of loyalty in our life by being fiercely loyal ourselves — and how we have been overlooking the gift y'all have been paying us back. Folks who passed our ship in the darkness and asked for directions who we led in the right direction or beamed over an extensive starchart so you could continue your adventures. We don't want squealing fans. We want to continue mapping the stars and helping folks figure out where they'd like to go next.
Thanks to everyone for your loyalty. We do really gratefully appreciate it, and we will continue to work to earn it. With a lot less perfectionism.
[Spoken fast, NYC accent, imitating Luis from Ant-Man] Just the facts — only the facts. Okay, so 10 years ago, I'm running a women's lunch group with my bestie and working on websites -- but it's not my life calling, get what I'm saying? -- when this super-crazy-fine life coach who's flashing some big creds says, "Yo, Crisses, I got some mad connects in the coaching world, and you seem like you're halfway there, so how about you be Peter Parker to my Tony Stark and learn to be a life coach. And we're like, "For real?" And she's like, "Yeah!" Now we're all trained up, had our life coaching credentials and clients for years, so why not take our superfresh internal community Mojo on the road, one-to-one style, get it? Check out liberatedlifecoaching.com and book an appointment in our mad high tech appointment scheduler today.
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