I tilt my chin up, also my ears, and lift my eyes toward the birdsong from where I stand on the Expo platform. No trees. An old-fashioned telephone pole, a crow standing sentinel, a smaller auburn streaked bird sweetly chirping below…so urban. It strikes me like a prickling of needles, the sweet singing, the naked pole, the muscular corvus, the rush of air from the train behind me hurtling toward the ocean, and I understand that my alternate identities, my Parts, will never fully integrate the way I expected. There is no tidy ending, tied up in a neat bow, as Lee Gutkind’s editor rather insisted for my piece in his anthology. I will always and forever be multiple.
It’s time to embrace this, I say out loud, but it sounds false, embrace. What do I really mean?
For ten months, since the medical trauma of the invasive C-T with the rectal contrast, the recurrence of PTSD and dissociation has been real. I thought the integration of my Parts was woven so tightly that it would take an enormous traumatic event to fragment my sense of self, to pull us apart again. Not so.
Rather, it seems that great healing did occur for my five primary split-off Parts and they did mostly merge into my primary self. But that’s not the whole story. I still dissociate. There are still other Parts that protect me when I need them. And it’s funny that I didn’t know that.
Catherine, you are not normal.
You will never be normal.
Don’t try to be normal.