Today, I’m going to be talking about the P-word again.
What P-word, you might ask?
Well, there are two P-words here: passing and privilege.
My headmate MD and I wrote about nonplural privilege two years ago, in a collaborative article on our site. Some plurals, I’ve noticed, have ‘passing privilege’, similar to what a lot of queer, trans and autistic people experience. For systems where only one person socialises and participates in daily life, ‘pretending not to be plural’ isn’t the same experience that it is for systems where there are many participants. For us, our total number includes eleven of us who have been ‘full-timers’ at given points throughout our life, although there are three of us who are most active in decision-making and daily life stuff. For groups with a single main fronter, there is still the restriction of being unable to talk about in-system matters, but the perspective’s different; there’s no switching, and there isn’t the phenomenon of multiple people trying to shove themselves into the persona of one. There isn’t the phenomenon of people being unable to talk about their likes and dislikes in a way that is individually expressive.
Do we have ‘passing privilege’? To an extent, although if we have to do it too often, we end up cracking. It’s happened before. Not that we routinely start referring to ourselves in the plural in social contexts where it wouldn’t be appropriate, but certain skills go right out of the window, because the energy that could be applied to daily tasks gets spent on social masks. (The same applies to faking NT, although we do that to a lesser extent than we used to.) The nonplural mask is an automatic, functional thing; it’s a mask we immediately put on. We feel a bit dissociated from ourselves when talking in this context. We don’t have a formal ‘autopilot’ entity like other systems have—our front can’t be unoccupied; if someone is alone and leaves, someone else will get yanked out—but we do function in a sort of ‘autopiloting’ way when talking in these contexts. It’s not the same as talking as myself at all. It feels quite dissociated, as I said.
Basically, faking takes a significant number of our ‘spoons’. Ones that could be better spent, honestly. And people don’t get that.
When systems—or nonplurals, for that matter—like this act as though pretending not to be plural is an easy thing and think that we could do the same thing as well as they could, they’re wrong. They’re speaking from a position of privilege that we frankly lack. It honestly pisses me off. Well, it’s not that easy for us, is it! Why don’t you try getting smashed in with other people every single fucking day and never hearing your own fucking name or anyone knowing about you, individually, as a person and what you like or believe in.