Written by Dervish and Ophelia - 1/3/2022
The purpose of this essay is to write out our views on our own individuality as a way to promote understanding of how some systems see themselves and so people can get an idea of how we want to be treated. You may see your own personal system differently or know a system who treats these matters differently, and this is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The thing with being more than one is everyone is different and we want differences to be respected.
First and foremost: we are different people. While we share a body chemistry there are differences in emotional reactions and even aspects of our neurodivergence and mental illness, to treat us like we're the same is to undermine progress we make with our individual struggles and ultimately is reductive to how complicated recovery and progress can be. The body treats each of us very differently and we have to learn to cope in our own ways. While there might be similarities in reactions, we're all going on our own goals for progress, recovery, or whatever else we're working on.
Individuality for us also extends to independence. Anyone in our system is allowed to make their own accounts online as long as they follow TOS of the site and are not doing would could get the rest of the system in serious legal trouble, and we also do not force people in our system when using individual accounts to disclose they are a part of a system and which system they are in. We also allow people in our system to have their own physical journals, art projects, and collections within reasons.
In the current state of things "system accountability" seems to be treated like a like a law that every system must follow for how to handle accountability, which it really isn't. It's rather a way that individual systems have to learn how to handle for themselves. We have seen some systems act like headmate-focused accountability is a way of saying "it's not me, it was my headmate", but rather it's "I'm the headmate, I'm very sorry for this problem, I will try to fix it myself".
For us, problems we'd rather have be addressed with the individual. We apologize for ourselves as responsible individuals and not for ourselves as a system. As an analogy for this: if someone in our system accidentally drops a gallon of milk. The person who dropped it cleans it up. Another person cleaning it up for them wouldn't be right and would be like having your roommate clean after you, but we might still help if they don't know how to clean or panic over spilling something.
For other systems they might all share the blame for spilling milk or switch to handle spilled milk, but for us with how our system sees themselves, that would feel closer to dodging responsibility. This is a case where systems may differ and there's nothing wrong with that as long as you still address the problem.
Person-hood is complicated for some systems and there's no one way to see it. Our system does still acknowledge that we have similarities and that there aren't always as distinct lines between individuals, but to us that still doesn't negate what we see as our person-hood. As we grow older as a system, we shift to valuing individual respect and uplifting ourselves as people and treating them how they want to be treated, now how we might want to be treated.
There is the question of how much of you is in your body and for our system it feels like we hit a balance of that question. There is a body and that bis a body that we use to interact with the world and something that limits us to needing to share everything, but at the same time there's the drive all of us feel that we are people and being seen as small parts of a unit is uncomfortable.
That's how we see ourselves as individuals. While no one should feel pressured to force themselves to fit into how we see ourselves, we hope this might have opened some people up to the idea of individualistic systems and respect to systems different from themselves, and there's no correct way for systems to be seen beyond "as the system sees themselves".