Below are my descriptions of the three most prevalent factors in the development of my system. This blog will heavily feature trauma and will actually be a bit light on my usual jokes. So, just as a general warning: TW: child abuse.
In 1999/2000, shortly after my younger brother was born, I was transferred from my elementary school’s latchkey program to a private babysitter in the suburbs, near the elementary school. I put up a considerable protest to this, as I had a childish crush on a boy that had introduced me to Pokémon, and I only had access to him via latchkey.
I’m pretty sure that’s why my parents didn’t believe me when I’d started complaining about my new babysitter’s house.
Kim, the babysitter in question, was a mother of four. Her main duties were, as our young mind could ascertain, were watching daytime telly, talking on the phone, and yelling at her children and her charges that she was going to “beat [their] ass.” I can still hear the exact cadence. “I’m gonNa beatchyour aAAAaassss!”
The rest of us were left to reenact Lord of the Flies. She had two elder daughters, Jessica and Katie, was one year older and younger than I, respectively. Zoey was a few years younger, and there was a boy named Matthew around my brother’s age. I just realised how aggressively causasian these names are, good lord.
I’m actually not sure how they started to dislike me. Admittedly, “does not play well with others” is probably towards the top of my childhood files. But– undiagnosed autism is basically an invisible ‘kick me’ sign on a child’s back, so I was already wary of other children. Kim’s children didn’t help.
I think it was my autistic traits that they picked up on. They, including the adult my parents were paying for my well-being, would call me ‘Retard’ more often than my actual name.
Jessica was usually who’d cook for the rest of us. Boiled hot dogs, ramen noodles (they pronounced it Ray-men)– always with a twist. Adding copious amounts of salt to the hot dog just to laugh when I gagged, putting cat feces in the ramen to see if I’d be hungry enough to pick it out and eat it anyway. (I wasn’t.) They also had this odd sort of yoghurt that came in tiny plastic shot packets. I honestly have no idea what precisely it was, but they’d told me that some people threw up as a natural reflex. It made me heave if my tongue even touched it. (Does anyone know what the fuck that could have been?)
They would sometimes try to tell me I had to eat these little packets of yoghurt before I would be served my serving of lunch, as if it were a hazing ritual.
I went without lunch very often.
They once tied me to a chair with bungee chords and pushed sewing needles into my hands. “See? My friend showed me how to do it. It’s like piercing ears.” That incident didn’t leave enough physical evidence, so I’d opened an old wound on my arm to try to convince my parents what was going on.
Falsifying proof of actual events ended up hurting my case, as one could suspect. I was only seven– I would have ample opportunity to learn to document abuse later in life, don’t worry.
It wasn’t all bad, but I suppose it never is, is it? We would be taken on excursions to Wyandot Lake or the zoo. Sometimes we would play nice. Jessica and Katie, in particular, would recruit me in their sibling feuds and throw me under the bus after they had made up. I did have fun playing in the pool in the backyard. It wasn’t nearly as fun when they held my head under and laughed when I vomited up water.
(Could it be why my canon backstory involves death by drowning?)
As soon as I would discuss having water gun fights in the park, or a day-trip to the Firework’s factory, all claims of bullying were dismissed as part of my theatrical nature.
I remember I was remarkably attached to stuffed animals. Maybe more so than most children, due to my lack of human companions, but perhaps it was normal for my age group? The plushes were my friends, as far as I was concerned– sentient and possessing of a nervous system and everything Knowing that, the girls in particular delighted in taking them from me, throwing them in the mud, even holding me down while they threw them over the fence or tore them apart.
This occasionally led to violent or hysterical outbursts on my part, but their numbers had me overwhelmed in their retaliation. I have flashes of the conflicts– me clinging to a stuffed cheetah for dear life as Jessica kicked me so hard into the fence that I rebounded right back into her next kick.
Later in life, I would hear that this family threw out their youngest son and that Katie was arrested for splitting a classmate’s head open during a fight. I’d texted my dad, ‘Still think I was just being dramatic?’
I think his reply was something to the effect of, ‘It was usually a safe bet.’
Due to how group dynamics continue to plague my inner and outer world experiences, and how young I was when I experienced that repeated bullying ( ages 6-10, which is definitely DID territory), and how my parents just simply didn’t believe me, Kim’s house serves as a solid theory for the end of my singlet-hood.
(EXTREME TRIGGER WARNING: GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE AND ALL THE AWFULNESS THAT COMES WITH IT. It was perpetrated by a person that is not related to me (or the body), and is no longer in my life. What I will discuss will be triggering and graphic. Please read at your own risk or else SCROLL DOWN to my third theory and conclusion below. That being said, highlight the paragraphs below to read. It’s in white font. I don’t mind you reading it and knowing this about me, I just don’t want anyone to get triggered. The last two paragraphs are in visible, as the incident is only referenced in vague terms. )
When I was eight years old, my mother married a man named Bruce Evans, shortly after divorcing my dad. At first, Bruce seemed like a cooler father figure. He had a love of motor cycles and would take us to Chuck E. Cheese’s– as a kid that was hardly indulged in anything age-appropriate, this made him the coolest adult I’d ever seen.
It was easy for him to take advantage of that. He’d entice me to stay up past my bedtime with him, watch horror movies with him, all that rebellious tripe. He somehow threw sex into that. He had me under the impression that sex was yet another adult privilege, something that was barred from me because I was thought to be too stupid or silly. It was presented along with scary movies or candy after dinner.
It began with groping. My chest, my bottom, in between my legs. At first, only over my clothes– when we were having tickle fights. He quickly graduated to penetrating me with his fingers. I was only eight when it started. He would actually call me sexy and hint that I was turning him on intentionally, that I’d wanted this.
I didn’t tell him otherwise.
That’s definitely what fucked me up the most, looking back at it. There was a long time that I thought that nothing wrong had been done to me, because I felt like I had “consented” at first. It took me at least a decade and a few dozen Dr. Phil episodes to realise that, at eight years old, I couldn’t possibly consent.
I’d once asked him why he didn’t like Adam hanging around as much as he did me. He responded with a wink, “I’m not into boys.” I didn’t know anything about what was going on with me. But I did know that it’d been a while since I was the priority over my younger brother.
See. Narcissism doesn’t always makes us monsters. Sometimes, it only makes us easier targets for them.
I liked attention– I still do, and back then, I didn’t get much positive attention. Most of the focus was on my grades and not ‘acting retarded.’ My mum famously barred me from playing in the mall playground due to the body’s height. “You look older than you are. People are going to think you’re retarded!”
This New attention felt at least different from that. I knew that I was uncomfortable, had constant stomach issues from anxiety, from the feeling of wrongness that pervaded each encounter. He showed me my mother’s back massager and told me that he was excited to make me have my first orgasm. I remember the word ‘orgasm’ scared me for many years after– I couldn’t even say it. He did succeed in his goal, which makes me nauseated to think about. He would flash me, show me porn that he and my mother had made. I started to avoid him, using my stomach issues as an excuse to stay in bed.
There’s a blank memory from when I was nine. Bruce had invited a friend over and Mom and Adam were both out of the house. I believe Adam had basketball practice at the time. I remember the guy was about Bruce’s age, thinner, maybe older, with a moustache. Hours later, I was shaking, laying on the floor of my room, having called my dad in a shaky tone. I couldn’t remember why I’d called him. Only that I felt scared. I think I may have made up an excuse that I was spooked by a horror film or something.
I don’t want to only guess what’s hidden in that blank memory. Sometimes the most cliché conclusion is the truest. I remember spending the first week of 5th grade, terrified of being pregnant– worried that my stomach would expand with all of the horrific, parasitic implications that this meant.
Mom married him only a couple of months after meeting him. She’d basically snuck off to do it, perhaps to show her ex-husband that she was confident she was upgrading from my father. I remember I found out they were married in the process of telling her I was uncomfortable around her new boyfriend, despite the Chuck E. Cheese trips. There’s a memory I have, and I have no idea if it’s true, but I believe her response might have been, “Well, we’re married now, so I don’t know what you want me to do about it.”
I don’t think she knew that he was molesting me. I think she would’ve shot him in both knees if she knew. They had an ugly divorce afterwards. As it turns out, he had been dealing weed from the garage, was high all the time, and had been emotionally abusing and financially draining my mother. I might have tried to tell her, at first, what was going on and she might have misunderstood. That memory isn’t mine, just passed down. Given the amount of my system was a victim of childhood sexual abuse, it’s definitely the source of a lot of damage. The fact that the smell of skunk weed is still a trigger is also telling.
Somewhere during this time, I stopped being conscious. I don’t know how the abuse stopped, or if it did before the divorce. I “slept” between the ages of 9 to 19. Neb, the main host through those times, seemed not to know of what happened. I’d only began speaking of it after I’d moved to Savannah and woken up. It’s very possible that those memories were inaccessible to her while I processed them in the background.
Additional note: Before my split last year, I have conversations saying that “I”???? Was gone between ages of 12-19, not 9-19, which may point to fragmentation since the last time I recounted this tale.
There’s just a few things that I know about this kid. We definitely met when I was nine years old and he was twelve, right when I was in the crossroads of the other two strands of trauma.
He went by Shadow, but had a legal name. He also had a normal-sounding name to cover up his legal name, which he spurned out of spite to his mother, so I’ve no relative idea of what his legal name ever was. Maybe a previous host knew. I certainly don’t. His father had died a few years previous and he was left with an abusive mother and compliant siblings.
I’ve no idea if he was ever diagnosed, but I’d bet money that he was autistic. He had an odd way of talking that made it sound as if he rehearsed his lines. He was obsessed with CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, particularly Grissom. He also had a fondness for the Gamecube Sonic games. (Particularly Shadow, who he named himself after.) I believe he created his own religion, based off the Sonic games.
Remember the Chaos God?
He began telling me about a theory he had, that the screenwriters of the game were actually referencing an ultra-old, nearly forgotten about religion that started near the Mediterranean, likely Atlantis. I remember what convinced me that he was onto something was Googling the word for “Chaos” and realising it meant “Abyss” in Greek. When I’d told him my findings, he’d treated me like I’d discovered the cure for cancer, and he discovered more connections that pointed towards this mysterious, buried, Hellenistic-adjacent pagan religion.
He would comb through dozens of pagan religions and find parallels, or consistent gaps where these elemental Chaos gods and their chosen people could have been. Shadow began saying that the original Chaotix, the Atlanteans, committed the ultimate sin of betrayal against the water god. (That’s how the island nation sank, you see.) And that is why we needed to be incredibly selfless, mean every promise we ever give, deny self-indulgence as the and essentially over-extend ourselves to protect our friends— Wait a minute.
I remember Shadow loved us researching all of this ourselves. We were elated when we learned of the Tale of Gilgamesh, which also pointed to a huge flood. It was like he was planting mental fossils for us to find in a metaphorical backyard dig. And with my failing grades and he insisting that we were genius-level intelligent, much like he was, we were intensely happy. He and sometimes his friend, Jay, were constant companions of the system until the body was about 11. Shadow was even romantically involved with… Star? Nebula? Someone who wasn’t me– a little later on. At least, as romantically involved as a 10-year old and a 13-year old could be.
That religion has shaped my inworld irreversibly. Eight elemental gods, as well as the original Abyss, came to life in my subconscious. There are elemental powers based on it. Though I’m special and have time powers because I have protagonist– I mean, host privilege.
Another thing I know about Shadow– He died at the age of fourteen. He committed suicide in August of 2004. I don’t know if he died on the 10th, or if we found out about it on the 10th. The story, heard by others in the system, was that he was moving to South Dakota and overdosed in transit. I have no idea how factual this is. We do have suicide as a prominent trigger, though, so I imagine the information is in the vague direction of accurate.
Nebula used to claim that her and “Star” were one person until Shadow died, and then they split. Which may be the first time we were aware of such a thing. At the same time, the body’s hair changed from golden blonde to brown. This happens to many children around that age, but Nebula took this as a sign that her more vibrant personality had ‘drained’ out of her. This was also later added to the Chaos religion mythos, wherein people’s ‘souls’ could split. Nebula would often, in old poetry, describe being ‘half a person.’
Shadow became a martyr to Nebula, and she was definitely unhealthily obsessed with both his life and death.
A few more interesting facts about this period: Almost all of it is entirely lost to me. Much of this, I gathered from my system, who had heard about the events secondhand. I don’t remember much of Shadow, but I awoke to a particular, vague disliking of him.
An even more interesting fact: I always knew Shadow as a black-haired, pale kid with green eyes and a lazy goth aesthetic. Xhaxhollari told me, in his ominous way, that Shadow’s hair was dyed black. Shadow was quite apparently originally a redhead. Fast-forward three years after Shadow’s death, we meet Kirra– A pallid, green-eyed ginger who wears clothes from exclusively Hot Topic, who had heard of this religion through Neb’s friend, came to us saying that she also lived in an elementally-inclined world with magic and gods.
Neb was looking for someone to replace Shadow, and Kirra, bored with her “followers” (yes, she would call them that) apparently thought that it was a fine gap to fit herself in. It worked– too well. She’d even told us that her vampire people, the Methusilla, had heard of Children of Chaos people before, reinforcing the delusion. She added onto the mythos of the world, with plotlines that I now recognise as being derived from the animes Vampire Knight, Blood+, and Trinity Blood.
I don’t think Shadow initially split us, but I believe his fanaticism and his yearning to escape from his own life took advantage of our newly-fractured system. And because of the memory gap, I don’t think that was the end of it. Perhaps he was abusive. Maybe we’d witnessed him attempting suicide before he actually did it. Maybe he involved us in a lot of creepy rituals he made up for us. I might never know. But I don’t fucking like the bloke.
The Traces of This Within the Creation of Myself:
It’s come to my attention that someone in Arkady’s system has actually announced in public that my system’s religion was based off of Sonic the Hedgehog– as if using a cartoon show to cope from severe trauma at the ages of 8 and 9 is top tier comedy. Of course, not only is this a revolting thing to say, but he thought it was my religion.
(Legit, can you imagine going, ‘Lol my ex was traumatized as a child and then brainwashed when they were at their most vulnerable.’? In the words of my friend who witnessed such a status, “It ain’t cute.”)
By the time I had met Rowan, Arkady, and Vali, I’d been disillusioned with my inworld religion and had told them that. In fact, even though I’d met the gods in all of their visually spectacular glory, I saw them as just one more barrier who had doubted me and openly expressed this.
I wasn’t impressed. In fact, I’d been criticized several times for being a heretic. Even in my origin story– Phisoxa, a sort of father figure to me, being spurned by religion, created me as an affront to the gods. I am proof he could create life, just as the gods could.
People in my inworld forever scorn the fact that, despite having the physical abilities as the other ‘Children of Chaos’ in my system, I’m selfish and quite proud of it. I’ve been called an ‘abomination.’ Told I ‘shouldn’t exist.’ I was told that my existence would break reality and I’m only too happy to do so, as this reality was created by those who had wronged us.
I don’t believe in these gods because they won’t return the favour and believe in me. In fact, I’ve challenged them on behalf of my inworld friends. In fact, I started a small war last year and helped to temporarily kill a god. It’s too convoluted to explain in this blog, but ya dandy was a badass.
And in a system ruled and victimized by pack mentality, by shame for prioritizing ourselves, by magic, by religion– an irreverent bastard is exactly who we needed.
If you’ve ever read Zeitstück, you’d know that the title hero began to fade right when he started to compromise his dauntless identity for family, belonging, and domestic commitment. And last year, I too began to fade.
My glib ‘last words’ in an argument, my opulence, my escapism, my romanticism, my mockery of threats, my flamboyant defiance of emotional blackmail– they almost disappeared, leaving this body to go on without yours truly. A dissolving, perhaps irrevocable, that I consider more horrifying than a death. I was about to fade… Until I saw the hypocrisy. Until I saw the modified explanations of events and motives. Until a fucking self-proclaimed Unseelie Fae King stood in front of my bedroom and called me delusional.
Through the constant, devastating fear that my minor alter suffered through, I almost failed to taste the delicious irony. Once the fear faded months later, the decadent, proud wrathfulness finally awoke and I felt like me.
And as much as I hate myself a good portion of the time, I look back on what this system has been put through and I feel like there’s a purpose for me. We needed someone to respond to a threat with mockery. We needed someone to be selfish, to be pretentious, to be materialistic. We needed someone to chase escapism as if it were their next breath of air.
So much of what I am is a foil– a crux to what we’ve suffered.
In a way, I owe my existence to my abusers.
Now watch me make it their problem.