[Note: Rowan’s name was initially hidden by the codename “Ash.” Though I’ve changed the text to reflect how I will no longer be protecting them, you will still see ‘Ash’, meaning Rowan, in the screenshots below.]
No sooner than I wrote my last blog, the prelude to the castle of glass I’d built before Vali’s arrival, than a new source appeared. Scorpio season is Very kind to me this year.
They even let me use their screenshots. Happy early birthday to meeee~
My source has also been kind to me. They reached out after hearing I had been abused this year, and was checking in on me. I’d known them as someone who’d fallen out with Zara, and who was subsequently dropped by the rest of the group. Unfortunately, I had believed this group’s word about my new friend. That this person, who I’ll call Spectre, was this poor, misguided shallow person led by their chronically cheating “boyfriend” into questionable behaviour. With the same manipulation this group also tried to pull on myself, Spectre was discredited as an ally. (Also, they had unfriended me first. Out of fear, I now intimately understand. My first instinct, however, is to say, ‘Well fuck you too!’)
And honestly? I’ve been open about my alters. I’ve been open about how they’ve taken advantage of in the past. I mean… how many people with DID have Googled past-lives? Or alternate planes of reality? Or demon possessions? Or tulpas? And how many manipulators use this for their advantage?
I was both giddy with the feeling of validation and also sick with the feeling of, “Shit, did it happen to me again?”
In my last blog, I’d questioned whether it’d been real. If Rowan and Arkady were telling the truth, there are people channeled through them that have seen the atrocities that have been done to me and… didn’t intervene. There’s no variance in the opinions of this cruelty. That’s… unlikely, but if Rowan and Arkady are actually channeling people, they’re locking away friends, family, and partners away from me out of spite. If it isn’t real– and it’s looking increasingly more like it may well be some sort of manipulative ploy– then my DID has been made into someone else’s game once again.
But what if it’s something in-between? Rowan and Arkady are both part of systems. (Lot of DID in these parts.) Systems have a way of convincing you that you don’t have DID. Not only has Arkady only begun to discover his DID, but Rowan had mentioned that they had DID in childhood, but has since ‘integrated.’ One of my friends more knowledgeable about DID gave me a half-smile and said, “I’m sure they think that.”
Given the stress that Vali has brought onto the household, their respective systems might’ve been in shambles. And who swooped in at just the right time?
Zara, also known as Sara.
Here’s what I knew about Zara before 2019. She was a recovering alcoholic, fresh out of rehab, and had decided to replace the habit, in both frequency and over-indulgence, with weed. Definitely seemed like a sweetheart– nice to everyone, seemingly, and had a 10/10 on aesthetic.
Yet I just couldn’t seem to connect with her. Part of it was the fact that she was high Every Single Time we’d ever hung out one-on-one. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of buzz for anxiety, most of my friends tend to do that through their substance of choice. But she was always to the point of completely losing track of conversations, forgetting what I’d Just told her, etc. On one outing, we went to see her friend star in an outdoor rendition of Macbeth. And her eyes were so hopelessly dry and irritated from smoking all that day that we couldn’t even stay through the entire show.
But after everything with the Vali debacle, it was refreshing to have someone in the house that hadn’t been embroiled deep in the drama. Just– her own, but we’ll get to that.
She began coming over every single weekend. She lived in Syracuse with her mother, who didn’t approve of her smoking. So, she would stay a minimum of each weekend. She wasn’t even asking if she could come over. Rowan ‘jokingly’ referred to her as the ‘elusive fifth roommate.’ She was essentially using our house as her Weed-kend getaway.
And it wasn’t as if her presence was ever subtle, either. I’d referenced her staggering about leaving empty energy drink cans and a cloud of weed smoke wherever she went, but all of the roommates seemed to just forget I even existed when she was around. Most offerings of quality time with me were quickly replaced with time centered around Zara, as if plans with me were never made at all.
And as someone who wanted to take Rowan aside for some quality time every once in a while, it was more than disheartening to come home and for them to slowly slur out, “I got too high,” before stumbling upstairs. Multiple weekends in a row.
Even in December, when I was cripplingly ill with some bug or another– it felt like a Costco version of Coronavirus– and Arkady told me, brightly, “Zara will be over in about an hour!”
I’d stared at him. “Does she know that I’m sick?” And probably would rather die than have company right now?
He, no joke, looked at me and said, “Yeah, but you’re not contagious.”
Oh. Great. As long as Zara’s okay, I guess.
Disturbingly enough, my housemates even gave Zara her own key to the house. No discussion was even had.
After spending months dealing with the reign of the Vali’s petulant toddler bullshit, having my healing being swept under the rug by yet another dynasty is not what I was looking forward to.
Arkady even forgot to give me a birthday present that year. I had to pick it out myself, remind him of it, pretty much everything but pay for it.
Of course, I have the habit of gaslighting myself and did confided in Rowan and Arkady that maybe my problem with Zara was jealousy. After all, I didn’t really have a reason to dislike her. I mean, sure, I knew that she routinely deadnamed and misgendered anyone she didn’t like. I wasn’t terribly impressed. But I took my gut instinct as insecurity, something that’s still held against me.
But as I found out, Zara had been lying to all of us from the very beginning. She cast Spectre out of the group, then myself, using a tactic she was known for.
Not only that, but the “boyfriend” of Spectre’s? Was trans-femme, and Zara knew it. I’d always known her to be vaguely transphobic. She even went on a public tirade about a ‘tr*nny wh*re* that her ex had cheated on her with. Rowan even admitted to me that a housemate had a crush on her, but it wouldn’t happen because, “I don’t think Zara would ever date a trans guy.” This was just bigotry everyone was willing to tolerate on the excuse of ‘Well, her parents are conservative, so…”
I probably shouldn’t be so surprised, considering her public mockery of the info that didn’t match my birth certificate…
What’s more– this partner of Spectre didn’t even cheat. This revolving door of a bed I’d heard was an entire lie. Zara just had a habit of hating whoever Spectre was dating.
Not only that, but the drama that split Zara and Spectre up in the first place? Also utterly embellished by Zara. Zara hadn’t even known Rowan and Arkady that long– Spectre introduced them, to their great regret. Good news, though, is that Rowan and Arkady have time to discover her real personality before it’s too late.
So, where does that leave us? Spectre did agree with me that the screenshots I showed them seemed nothing like something Arkady would ever do. My ‘toxic protector’ theory would make sense if he allowed himself to be manipulated against me. (Kind of likely, given that it’d be, you know, the third time since I’ve bloody met him.) Not to mention, the two of them ret-conned their histories with both Spectre and I, almost as if they really don’t remember. Arkady and Rowan are high nearly all the time, and Rowan has always been stupidly easy to influence. Even Sage has said, “Rowan is Very easily manipulated. I could probably do it. On accident, even.” And right after trauma Vali put us through…
They were both wounded, and had gone back to old habits. Zara, having practically destroyed Spectre, was looking for new cult members. And boy did she have a sense of timing.
But maybe it means there’s hope. Spectre and I have been gutted by Zara’s actions, but we’re at least safe. Arkady and Rowan, between Zara’s conceited manipulations and Vali’s crippling immaturity, are most definitely not.
My intuition was right about Zara. But considering who’s still at risk– I didn’t want it to be.