Questions, a 2 x 12 Comic
Loony-Brain is in a yellow hot air balloon decorated with a lavender question mark, along with the information By Loony-Brain. Rogan, Miranda, and Mac are squished in the middle of the balloon basket, but all look cheerful. The children are on either side, reaching out. Sneak is reaching for a butterfly, Gigi for a bat. Blue sky and clouds surround them.
Question 0: "Who are you, and what are you like?" By Miranda
All five system members stand next to each other, drawn in their own styles, with their names and ages. They are...
A childlike scrawl of a child: Gigi, 10.
A starfish-limbed cartoon kid in a cape: Sneak, 17.
A more realistic sketch of a woman with buzzed hair and hoop earrings: 'Me (Miranda), 21.'
A young man with short dark hair: 'Rogan, 21.' He has his arm around...
'Mac, 30,' who's taller, with longer hair. The lines of Mac are noticeably shaky, as though he's not used to drawing with that hand. (Which he isn't.)
Caption: We are five people residing in one body--a 'multiple personality,' as it is conventionally known. We range in age from 10 to 30.
Gigi and Sneak stand to the left of the panel. Sneak is blindfolded. Gigi simply stares stone-faced. In the right hand-corner, there are swirls and symbols of scuffle, and a speech bubble screaming, "Help me!" The children stand by in silence.
Caption: We first became multiple in 2000, for unknown reasons, and rape in 2004 and 2005 cemented our system.
A young man labeled '17-year-old Rogan', and a girl with a low-cut shirt and curly hair labeled '17-year-old me' shake their fists and curse in stars and spirals at each other.
Caption: We did not used to get along...
A split-panel. Miranda, at her current age and haircut, leans into the panel, hand extended in question.
Miranda: Dear, did you take out the garbage?
Caption: ...but we now function as a happier family.
The second half of the panel. Miranda is looking at a stuffed garbage can with a look of resignation. On top of it perches a note, which reads: Take it out yourself! -- R
Miranda: Ah. I see not.
All the system members stand next to each other again, this time drawn entirely by Miranda. All hold symbols of their hobbies or passions.
Gigi holds up a Mason jar with holes punched in the top and a spider inside.
Sneak holds up a comic labeled 'Justice League.'
Miranda has her hands together in a meditative posture, saying 'Om...' Note that all of them are smiling peaceably.
Rogan holds a spiral and a pencil in his hand, and appears to be writing or drawing something. He is NOT smiling. He is raising an eyebrow, looking questioningly at Mac, who...
...Is holding a spoon with batter on it. He IS smiling, but trying a little too hard to look innocent.
Caption: We have different tastes, hobbies, beliefs, and preferences.
Chaos breaks out. Gigi has removed her spider from the jar and is threatening Sneak with it, giggling, "Eat you, eat you!" Sneak is clinging to Miranda's arm, wailing, "Miraandaa!" Miranda appears to be steadfastly trying to meditate, while Mac has tackled Rogan with a little heart hovering above his head.
Caption: But we are quite happy together and have no plans to integrate or change our number, despite our differences.
A pious, waif with big teary eyes asks this question.
Question 1: "ARE YOU DANGEROUS?" (By Rogan & Sneak)
Rogan glowers out at the reader sardonically.
Rogan: This has the dubious distinction of being the most common question we've ever been asked that's rude.
The proverbial "suspicious character" stands in a fedora and trenchcoat. A scarf covers most of the face; the eyes are shady, looking away.
Caption: I mean, first of all: if I were a dangerous crackpot, do you really think I'd tell you?
Suspicious character: Why yes, I am terribly dangerous. I eat puppies, and I cheat at Uno.
Rogan faces the waif, a look on his face as though he's sharing something deeply important. The waif has an overly simplified face of big bulging eyes and freakishly large grin.
Caption: I mean, imagine if you reacted the same way to other confessions.
Rogan: I'm gay.
Waif: ARE YOU DANGEROUS?
Rogan looks a little incredulous and perplexed. The waif's expression remains the same.
Rogan: Uh... I'm a rape survivor.
Waif: ARE YOU DANGEROUS?
Rogan is starting to look a bit pissed now.
Rogan: I'm depressed. Vegan. Pregnant.
Waif: ARE YOU DANGEROUS?
Rogan: I'm getting there!
Caption: You get it.
Rogan looks slightly less annoyed, and watches the waif vanish in a cloud of dust left at her abrupt departure.
Caption: If you fear we're dangerous, here is an equally rude, but much more sensible response... run.
Rogan: Well, least she's gone.
Rogan holds a hand over his face, put out.
Rogan: I know this is ignorance and fear talking, but it makes a hard coming out even harder.
Rogan shakes his fist in towering multi wrath.
Rogan: Thanks a lot, Billy Milligan, Multiple Migs, and Norman Bates!
Question 2: "What drugs fix you?" By Gigi
Unlike Miranda or Rogan's, Gigi's art style is simple and child like, with hastily scrawled figures and few props.
Gigi stands in her panel. Though it's hard to tell, seeing as her figures usually have no mouths, she might be a bit gleeful.
Gigi: None. You are stuck with me. Too bad.
Gigi points at another figure, which is flopped over and has big Xs over its eyes.
Gigi: Some drugs sedate us, but we will be sleepy and boring.
Rogan suddenly appears, drawn in his style, holding up a finger.
Rogan: Note no one's actually asked us this question, but it's hovered in the background, so we might as well answer it.
Gigi fills up the whole panel as though reclaiming her paper space, glaring out with a toothy mouth and a raised hand.
Gigi: This is my page. I answer the question.
Two Gigis stand in the panel. One is shivering and covering her face with both hands. The other is limp and crying.
Caption: If we have something else, drugs can help that. Depression. (An arrow points to the crying girl.) Anxiety. (An arrow points to the shaking girl.)
Gigi is glowering again. In one spiky hand, she holds a couple circles inscribed with a dash, labeled 'pills' with an arrow.
Gigi: But that is hard, if some people forget or don't know. Or don't like pills, like me.
A crying Gigi holds her hands to her face, labeled with an arrow, 'sick.' A Sneak blobby-person stands next to her, smiling and energetic, labeled with an arrow, 'not sick!'
Caption: Or some people may not be sick.
Gigi, still glaring, throws the pills away.
Gigi: But I am a grown-up now. You can not drug me unless I ask, or if I am dangerous.
Gigi holds her hands up like talons, obviously agitated by what she's saying.
Gigi: If you say you want drugs to make me go away, you say I should die.
Gigi throws up her arms, fills the whole panel, and what she says is in huge capital letters.
Gigi holds out the pills to the reader, still glaring.
Gigi: You take drugs. You go away.
This panel shows a little heart with an arrow through it.
Question #3: "Would you like to date me?" By Sneak!
Sneak's style is cute and simple, with "blobby people" that have no fingers, and simple lines delineating clothing and expressions.
Sneak shrugs, a question mark hovering by zer head, perplexed.
Sneak: Actually, nobody asks me this question, and I really wish they would.
Sneak holds up zer fists and throws zer head back to shout. Zer final word is in large capital letters.
Sneak: That way, I could say NO!
A random fellow is hugging Sneak. He is smiling and has a heart above his head. Sneak is holding zer arms out stiffly and looks rather uncomfortable about the whole process.
Sneak: A lot of people just seem to assume I do, and that they can touch me when I don't really know them!
Sneak pushes the random guy away, obviously distressed, zer face turned away and zer mouth open in a miserable wail. The random guy looks shocked.
Sneak hugs zerself, and shivers, looking profoundly disturbed.
Sneak: People even did this when I was twelve, which is like, double the icky. Please don't do that!
Sneak holds a little pointer to a little display on an easel. The display reads 'Asexual,' and then has the word SEX crossed out, similar to a no-smoking sign.
Sneak: I only love people like friends, okay? That doesn't mean I'm hard to get, it means No! No dating! Okay?
Sneak grins from where zie is hugged by zer smiling friends, all clearly labeled with arrows. Two have freckles; the other has curly hair and glasses.
Sneak: Not all asexuals feel the way I do, but please don't assume I want a romantic relationship. I'm happy the way I am!
Sneak flails at the reader, looking upset.
Sneak: Just because I have system members who are sexual and older than me doesn't make me interested!
Sneak sulks in the panel, arms crossed, eyes squinty and glaring, zer mouth in a pout.
Sneak: So don't do it, please. It's icky.
Question #4: "You're gay?!" (Yes, I've gotten this one.) --Mac
The page is one huge panel of a carefully laid out drawing of Rogan smiling and looking up at the sky. He looks happy and at peace. The lines are shaky, but he's meticulously picked out the shading at Rogan's throat and cheekbones, the wrinkles of his sweater.
Caption: Answer: Not usually.
An arrow points to the drawing of Rogan.
Caption: But for him, God yes.
A broken heart lingers at the bottom corner of the page.
Caption: Oh, and for Kurt Russell. But then I saw 'Deathproof.'
Someone who's obviously incredulous, with crossed arms and raised eyebrow, says this one.
Question #5: "How can you be a guy? You have <insert female characteristic here>!" By Rogan
Rogan crosses his eyes and strikes a dimwitted posture.
Rogan: This is another rude question people ask me. They seem to think I've lived in this body almost six years without noticing is has boobs.
Rogan looks down at himself in shock, feeling his chest. Incredulous guy looks incredulous and not at all amused.
Caption: My favorite response:
Rogan: My god, you're right! How... where did they come from? They weren't here yesterday...
Incredulous guy: ?
Rogan: This is so embarrassing...
A big transgender symbol fills the panel: the three-pronged male, female, and both symbol, connected to a circle.
Caption: But, on a less sarcastic note: there's this thing called 'transgender.' Maybe you've heard of it.
Rogan stands between two boxes, labeled 'Male' and 'Female,' hands on hips.
Caption: Being transgender means you don't fit neatly into the little boxes of 'boy' or 'girl.'
Rogan: And yes, that applies to multiples as well.
Rogan stands next to the body of a young woman with buzzed hair, labeled with arrows 'Me' and 'Body,' respectively. Their postures are mirrored, hands on hips, but differences are denoted with arrows: Rogan's hair is short, the body's buzzed; he's stocky, it's thin; he's flat-chested, it has 'boobies!'; he's prone to weight gain, and it loses weight.
Caption: My self-image has very little relation to the body everyone sees in real life. It doesn't look like me.
Rogan stands reading a book, smiling. Sneak, drawn as a blobby person, is running over to hug him. Mac is reaching over to touch him, smiling.
Caption: And even if it did, I still feel male. I love being called 'him,' 'he,' and 'sir.' I feel happy when called that. If Sneak or Mac called me 'she,' I'd be pretty upset.
Mac: Hey, hubby.
Incredulous guy stands, looking troubled, holding hands to chest in woe.
Caption: So yeah. Last I checked, remembering I like to be called 'he,' and 'him,' and that I'm male doesn't require any great effort or expense on your part.
Incredulous guy: But... but... I can't remember all that! I never remember anyone's gender!
Incredulous guy covers eyes, looking as though wailing or crying. Rogan looks completely unsympathetic to the guy's plight, and only smirks.
Caption: If you can't handle the memory expense, I likely won't get along so hot with you.
Incredulous guy: This is SO HARD!
Rogan: Try being mistaken for a girl everyday, ya wuss.
Question #6: "How much of a kid are you?" By Sneak!
Sneak holds up a piece of paper labeled 'Bachelor of Arts: LINGUISTICS.' Gigi is reading from a massive tome labeled 'Big Boring Book of Stuff,' and seems to be reciting from it.
Sneak: This question comes up because I sometimes don't act like a teenager, and Gigi sometimes doesn't act like a kid.
Gigi: "They that have power to hurt and will do none, / That do not do the thing that most do show..." *
Footnote: *Shakespeare Sonnet XCIV
Rogan, Sneak, and Gigi sit in auditorium seats. Rogan is bent over paper with pencil, labeled as 'Rogan, taking notes.' Sneak is staring up, entranced. Gigi holds her head in her hands and is labeled 'Bored Gigi.'
Caption: This is because we have co-conscious memory. It means I remember all the stuff we learned in college, even if I wasn't the one taking notes.
Sneak: Glottal stops are SO COOL.
Sneak runs through the panel, flailing and excited.
Caption: Also, because of how I grew up, I'm not so interested in teenager stuff. So I guess I sometimes act much younger than people expect.
Sneak: Rogan, Rogan! Can I have Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil for Christmas? Please?
Rogan: For thirty bucks? You're nuts.
Sneak speaks to a person with dark hair, who seems to be sharing something tantalizing. Sneak holds zer hands together awkwardly and looks away.
Caption: I guess the easiest way to find out where I'm at, kid-wise, is just to get to know me. Pay more attention to me, not my number.
Person: Let's talk about boys!
Sneak: Um... I'd rather not, thanks...
Person with dark hair is shrugging, looking slightly apologetic. Sneak is happy and does a little dance on the panel.
Caption: Or you can just ask. That's even better.
Person: Oh, okay. Wanna talk about feminism and Power Girl instead?
Sneak: Sure! Totally!
Question #7: "How do you have sex?" By Mac & Rogan
Rogan and Mac draw each other respectively. They stare at each other, brows raised incredulously, as though they can't believe they're actually being asked this question. Mac is smiling, as though amused despite it all. Rogan looks a little more annoyed.
Rogan and Mac: ...
Mac still has his incredulous, raised-eyebrow smile. ("You aren't REALLY asking me this, are you?") Rogan is holding up a cymbal and performing a rimshot with a smirk.
Mac: Very well, thank you.
The next panel has only text.
Question #7 1/2: "No seriously. How do you do it?"
Mac is starting to look a little less amused this time. Rogan just looks put out, as though thinking, "You ARE a dense one, aren't you?"
Mac: You see, kids, when two folks find each other hot...
Question #7 3/4: "Don't play games. How do you do it, and how tops?*"
Footnote: *Yes, we've gotten these questions, God help us.
Mac isn't amused anymore, now he's just a little disgusted. Rogan has progressed to just being annoyed.
Mac: Look, it's not rocket science. Touch feels good. It's--"
Rogan: None of your goddamn business. There, blunt enough?
Rogan stands alone, grinning out in the way a bull probably grins at a toreador.
Rogan: No, it's nothing like masturbation, no, we don't share, no, you can't watch, and no, this will not be discussed further. Get to know us first.
Question #8: Why don't you go to this shrink? By Gigi
Gigi has her glare-y eyes again and raises a hand.
Gigi: I do not like doctors. I do not like shrinks.
A person with glasses, curly hair, and a smile stands in the panel. Arrows point to her with the words 'social worker.' There is a spiral on her shoulder; the arrow says 'she has a tattoo.'
Caption: We have gone to one lady for two and a half years. She is okay. I like her.
Social worker: Hello, Gigi.
The social worker stands in the panel. Note that every appearance has her with her arms outspread, as though about to deliver a hug to the world. Gigi stands slumped in the panel, crying.
Caption: She helps with our problems. She knows us and does not try to give me drugs or integrate me.
Social Worker: What's been happening?
Gigi stands on end of the panel, the social worker on the other, and both hold phones. A line divides them, but the phone cord connects them. Arrows show that Gigi is in New Zealand, while the social worker is in Texas.
Caption: She talks to us on the phone. So we can talk with her from far away.
A new therapist stands in the picture. This one is round and has a moustache and a pipe. Gigi has her glare-y eyes and is forming her claw-y hands at him, as though hoping to ward him off.
Caption: So why should I go somewhere else? She is fine.
Man with pipe: I am expensive and don't know you.
The man with the pipe stands still; he doesn't seem as bad as all that. Gigi droops listlessly, her hands at her sides, her eyes sad.
Caption: Not many people know much about multiples. Specialists are hard to find.
Man with pipe: Sorry, I am not who you need.
Now there is a new therapist, with spiky hair and happy eyes and one arm raised. Gigi obviously feels less than affection: she has the claw-y hands even higher, and her glare is even more prominent.
Caption: The most popular therapy for multiples is integration. I do not want to die.
Spiky therapist: If you die, you will feel better.
The social worker is back. An arrow points to her with the words 'I was alive for five years before I met her.'
Caption: Others believe it is iatrogenic. That means it is made by doctors. I am not.
The spiky therapist plows on heedlessly, arm upraised. Gigi is now incensed, arms raised in fury, mouth toothy and angry, eyes bulging and glaring.
Caption: Others believe you must not speak to anyone who is not the host. This is rude. Do not ignore me.
Spiky therapist: Say you're Anna.
The spiky therapist and the social worker stand next to each other. An arrow marks the spiky therapist as mainstream, the social worker as not.
Caption: Not everyone believes this. But it is the approved style, even though there are no studies saying it works.
Gigi stands in the panel.
Gigi: So I will not go. You be an illness for a while. See how confident you are then.
A guy with glasses and a thread of drool hanging from his lip asks this question. He has a look of prurient interest.
Question #9: "Do you have sex with each other?" By Rogan
Rogan beats his head against a desk.
Rogan: I was only asked this via implication once, and I hope to God I never hear it again. It's rude, invasive, perverted, and proves you don't know us at all.
Rogan stares out with an incredulous look of disgust, hand outspread.
Rogan: I mean, seriously, where do you come from that makes you think this is an acceptable question to ask anyone you've just met?
Prurient guy stands in the panel, giving Rogan a look like he's the newest Lara Croft look-alike porno, twiddling his fingers and drooling. Rogan recoils in revulsion.
Caption: Do you think being multiple means I'm crazy enough to be accused of pedophilia, incest, and rape, but not crazy enough to want to punch you for it?
Prurient guy: Eh heh. Heh hehn.
Rogan holds up his left hand, pointing to his wedding band, still obviously revolted.
Rogan: Look. I'm married to Mac. Everyone else in my system is either a child, my sister, or both. Use. Your. BRAIN. You sicko.
Prurient guy and a girl with curly hair walk down the road in the distance. Rogan lags behind, looking down. He's still angry, but it looks to be covering sadness.
Rogan: The worst part? It came from Mir's ex-boyfriend, this question.
Rogan: At the time, she chose him over me.
Prurient guy: Eh heh... heh hehn...
Question #10: "Why did you tell that person?" By Miranda
Miranda walks past three people holding signs: an older, bespectacled man with glasses, a short, round person with long hair, a young man with dark hair and sad eyes.
Miranda: Every coming out process has a few ill-advised choices along the way.
Glasses man's sign: "Couldn't take the knowledge."
Round person's sign: "Never spoke to us again."
Young man's sign: "The awkwardness never faded."
Miranda approaches another figure holding a sign. This one has no defining characteristics; it is drawn blank, with a basic happy face.
Miranda: Some of which, alas, have steeper repercussions than others.
Figure's sign: "Threatened to kick us out of uni."
Miranda crouches, covering her ears, plagued by words that surround her: GENDER DYSPHORIA, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, ISOLATION, FEAR OF BEING OUTED, DOUBT, NO SUPPORT, I HAVEN'T HEARD MY NAME IN SIX MONTHS, LONELINESS, PAIN, DISSOCIATION, PRESSURE, DENIAL.
Miranda: However, not coming out has repercussions as well.
Miranda rests her hand on the shoulder of the bland figure. Her look is one of grief.
Miranda: So why did we tell that person? The same reason we told all of them: because we considered the possible consequences better than those of remaining silent.
She looks up and smiles.
Miranda: And thus far, it's been worth it.
Question #11: "Why don't you front more?" By Miranda
Miranda stands in the panel. In the background lurks an annoyed, ignored Gigi.
Miranda: Sometimes, I'm asked this question honestly. Other times, it means, "Why doesn't someone else (who I don't like) front less?" (An arrow points at Gigi)
Miranda turns away from the viewer, hand out as though pushing them away or saying, 'no, not interested.' Gigi strikes her patented fang-faced glare-y eyes claw-hands angry pose.
Miranda: In the latter case, know I don't take it as a compliment. It implies you don't actually want my company, only to avoid someone else's, and I'll leave you to their mercy.
Miranda holds out her arms in a shrug, eyebrow raised.
Miranda: In the former case... I just don't want to.
This panel is full of symbols of stuff Mir likes: a smiling young man with a shirt labeling him SINGLE, fluttery clothing, jewelry, puppies, ice cream, flowers, a treasure map, a book entitled the Fire Rose, and a computer with a heart on the screen and the word 'SLASHFIC.'
Caption: Don't get me wrong, corporeal life has many wonderful things...
The next panel is full of symbols of stuff Mir doesn't like: a bland, purposely faceless figure with a shirt labeled 'EX,' a leaky faucet, Band-Aids, crying faces, pills, guns, a book entitled Scumm Manifesto, and a garbage can stuffed to the brim with a note: "Take me out! --R"
Caption: ...but it also has unpleasant things.
Rogan sits at a desk, doing bills, frowning with concentration. Miranda stands behind him smiling and relaxed.
Miranda: I have had more active periods in the past, but over the past couple years, I have moved towards the back, and I'm quite happy with that.
Miranda reaches over Rogan's shoulder to point at something. Rogan looks surprised, as though reaching a sudden realization.
Miranda: You missed a two there.
Rogan: Huh. So I did. Thanks, Mir.
Miranda: I do my best work there anyway.
This frame has a little Morpheus figure in glasses, accompanied by some binary. He's saying, "The Matrix, Neo!"
Question #12: "How do you interact with each other?" By Sneak!
Sneak stands proudly in the panel, a blobby Gigi next to zer.
Sneak: I love subjective reality questions! You probably noticed we draw each other interacting and next to each other.
A silhouette of a person's bust is against a basic background of trees, sun, birds, a stick figure, and an animal. An arrow points to one of the trees with the heading 'corporeal reality.' There's an igloo-like inside the silhouette's head, and an arrow pointing to that says 'subjective reality.'
Caption: See, we spend our time between two realities--corporeal reality ("real life") and subjective reality (in our head.)
There is a close-up of a brain. Arrows point to parts of it: the front is labeled with 'how you think,' the back with 'how you see,' a bulb at the bottom with 'how you smell,' the temple area with 'how you hear,' and a strip on the top with 'how you feel and move.'
Caption: Remember, the brain is your gateway to the world. Don't underestimate its ability to make its own!
A split panel. The first one shows subjective reality: Sneak flopped over a desk, rolling zer eyes, and Rogan, looking intently off to the side.
Caption: Between our ears, we can talk to each other, poke each other, or whatever...
Sneak: I'm so BORED!
Rogan: Sorry, kid, but this is important.
The next panel shows corporeal reality: one person with buzzed, taking notes but not looking all that interested, if the half-closed eyes and chin in hand is any indication.
Caption: ...without anyone noticing in "real life."
Lecturer (off-panel): And Mireabeau B. Lamar accumulated a national debt of two million redbacks...
Sneak flies in a loop-de-loop, grinning.
Caption: It's kinda like imagination in that we can do some things in subjective reality we can't do in corporeal reality...
Another split panel: first, Sneak slams headfirst into the ceiling, eyes turned into X's, a look of pain on zer face.
Caption: But there are limits, and you can't just ignore or change what you don't like.
Rogan nurses poor Sneak from zer injury, putting a Band Aid on zer sore head. Sneak is crying; Rogan is fussing.
Sneak: Owie, owie, boo hoo...
Rogan: Told you not to fly so high.
Many silhouette heads, all with various landscapes inside the skulls. One appears to be a cave, with stalagmites, stalactites, and a bat. Another has a house and a tree. Yet another has a castle, and another has an amorphous swirling spiral. The last one just has a big question mark.
Caption: There are as many kinds of subjective realities as there are brains, I bet.
Sneak proudly holds up a brain, which radiates importance and awesome.
Sneak: And all of them are powered by the brain! I wish I had more than a page to talk about it.
The questioner this time has pigtails and a suspicious expression.
Question #13: "Are you $@!*ing me?" By Rogan
Rogan strikes an overdone look of panic, twiddling his fingers.
Rogan: Curses! I've been seen through! What do I do? I've never faced denial before from any quarter! Certainly not from myself!
He ditches the act and looks directly at the viewer.
Rogan holds a brain in one hand, a skull in the other, Hamlet style.
Rogan: This question is saddening, but not surprising. Multiplicity, to many, is equal parts mad science and high drama. "Alas, poor Yorick, I buried his body in the cellar," kinda stuff.
A crazed killer with a bloody butcher knife and a hockey mask appears.
Caption: On the one side, you've got dangerous, deranged, axe- murderer types: Jekyll and Hyde, Billy Milligan, Norman Bates, Malcom Rivers...
Crazed killer: BOOGA BOOGA!
A bespectacled therapist dressed as an angel, complete with wings, halo, and pious posture, replaces the crazed killer. Standing next to the therapist is a person with short hair, and large, bagged eyes, looking pathetically grateful.
Caption: ...and on the other, you've got Eve, Sybil, Truddi Chase... victims of horrific child abuse who need a therapist to save them from self-destruction.
Patient: Oh thank you, Doctor, THANK YOU!
Caption: If we don't fit either conception, how could you not be doubtful?
An old woman with shoulder-length hair and tears in her eyes looks at a laptop.
Caption: Our mother still worries she abused us unknowingly.
Laptop: You must have abused her, you horrible woman!
Caption: Thanks a lot, Internet "support" forums, for hurting my mom. You fucktards.
A featureless person shoves Sneak away, who looks frightened and upset.
Caption: And we were once threatened with the mental health police when a dad of an acquaintance found out and assumed we were dangerous.
Person: Out! Out, you lunatics! Or I'll tell your parents!
Rogan stands alone in the panel again, a little saddened but serious.
Rogan: After all that, if we could have stopped, we would've. No, we're not $@!*ing you.
(This is a Gigi comic, though she forgot to put her name on it.)
Question 14: Why don't you say MPD, DID, or multiple personality?
Gigi stands in her panel, arms outstretched.
Gigi: They are wrong for us. D stands for disorder. I am not a disorder.
Gigi pulls out a book labeled 'Dictionary' and sits on the floor with it.
Gigi: Disordered means confused, irregular, abnormal in health or function.
Gigi points at the social worker in annoyance.
Gigi: I am not confused, unhealthy, or dysfunctional. She says so.
Gigi is alone in her panel again. She puts one hand on her hip and holds out the other.
Gigi: I am not normal. You are not normal either. Nobody is.
Gigi crosses her arms and glares.
Gigi: I do not call you dumb or rude. Do not call me disorder. It is called manners.
There is a picture of a book with a brain on it, titled 'Sybil.'
Caption: I will say multiple personality to educate but I don't like it. People just know it.
Gigi stands next to two other people: one skinny with short hair, one fat with curly hair. Arrows point to all of them, each with a label of 'person.'
Gigi: I do not call you personality. I call you person. You call me person too.
Still with the other two people, but now the arrows label her as 'multiple,' and the other two people as 'singlet.'
Gigi: If you must differentiate me from singlet people, call me multiple, or head person.
Gigi glowers out threateningly at the viewer.
Gigi: Then you will not make me mad, and I will not call you stupid.
This panel contains a scribbled dog; an arrow labels it a 'labradoodle.' A person is labeled a 'muggle,' and a bunch of lines with googly-eyes is labeled an 'FSM.'
Caption: People make up words all the time. It is usual.
Gigi stands alone.
Gigi: Mine are not hard to say. Use them. I will like you.
Question #15: "How do you deal with your religion?" (I'm a Southern Baptist.) --Mac
A big cross, surrounding by beams of light.
Caption: I've been Christian since I was little. It's never made me feel a sinner.
A sketch of Rogan.
Caption: I mean, why would God introduce me to this man and let me fall in love if it was wrong?
A split panel: on top, a bank of black storm clouds shooting lightning.
Caption: I've never gone for the angry, testing God.
The sky clears, and now there is a mild white cloud partially covering the son.
Caption: I believe in a loving teacher God.
There is a picture of a small chapel with a round rose window and two doors, the sun still in the background. (Trivia: it's a sketch of the chapel Mac and Rogan were married in)
Caption: Sometimes I worry I'm doing Christianity wrong, but I'd rather do it wrong and listen to my heart. Sometimes, the Church is wrong.
There's a tombstone. It's engraved with 'Here lies Mac, happy ol' manwhore.'
Caption: If I'm wrong, I'll find out the next time I die. At least I'll have a good time!
A brain bounces by.
Question #16: "Subjective reality doesn't feel as real as real reality, right?" By Sneak!
Sneak holds zer hands up with a triumphant grin.
Sneak flops over a desk, hair sticking out oddly, big bags under zer eyes. Zie is surrounded by books and paper, and looks to be making a rather futile attempt at taking notes.
Caption: I mean, there are some exceptions... we have to sleep in corporeal reality or we'll feel really bad fast...
Lecturer (off-panel): And now, class, turn to page 304: 'the Olfactory Bulb!'
Sneak and Rogan hug, smiling.
Caption: ...but generally, subjective reality can feel just as nice as corporeal reality...
Mac is sick, with an ice pack on his head, bags under his eyes, and a thermometer in his mouth. He shivers while a concerned Sneak wraps him in a blanket.
Caption: ...or just as awful. And there are no doctors.
Rogan and Sneak's hug appears to be interrupted. Rogan has a peculiar look on his face, as though he's just swallowed a bug. Sneak is looking at him quizzically, and with a little annoyance.
Caption: Of course, sometimes one reality can be distracting to another...
Sneak: Why stop huggle?
Rogan: Someone just dropped ice down my pants.
Rogan and the body stand together, turned to the side to display their identical tattoos on the right shoulder: a bird bordered by a circle.
Caption: ...or one can influence another...
Rogan rolls up his sleeve to show Sneak, who looks suitably impressed. Zie has big shiny enthralled eyes, while Rogan's smiling.
Caption: ...but they're both equally real.
Rogan: Neat, huh?
Sneak has big hearts over zir eyes and holds zer hands up in a swoony posture. Rogan looks uncomfortable.
Caption: We just have to share one, that's all.
Sneak: Can I tattoo triangles on the back of our hands?
Question #17: Who's your host? By Miranda
Miranda holds up her hands in air quotes.
Miranda: For those of you who don't know, the 'host' is a therapeutic word for the "original," or "real" person. (You'll see why I use air quotes in a moment...)
Miranda holds up a chart of the system, with little hasty sketches of everyone, their name, and their status. Gigi, Rogan, Miranda ('me') and Sneak are all labeled 'alters.' Mac and Falcon have question marks over their images.
Miranda: And we don't have one.
A host stands surrounded by alters, all indicated with arrows and labels. The host is drawn more realistically, as a "more real" human, while the alters are stick figures and blobs, as according to "simpler" status. There is also a random dog for some reason, labeled as such.
Caption: First of all, I find the term 'host' to be problematic. It seems to assume there's a system member who's been there since the beginning, or looks like the body and goes by its name.
Now the figures are distorted. Some are half-realistic, half-stick figure. Others are just oddly shaped. One seems to be an amoeba, and another looks like a UFO. All are labeled with question marks. The random dog remains.
Caption: Really, I don't know how you can tell. What if no one fits the criteria?
Gigi's scribble self is in the frame. She is labeled 'not the host.'
Caption: For one thing, none of us have been here since the beginning. Gigi's the senior, and she's only been here since '02.
Miranda and another person stand, partially squished together, like Siamese twins.
Miranda: There was one system member we thought was the host, but she integrated with me in '07.
"Host": Don't worry, it didn't hurt.Again the realistic drawing of a person labeled 'host,' surrounded by cartoony stick figures labeled 'alters.' Oh, and the dog in the corner, also clearly labeled as 'dog.'
Caption: Alters are supposed to integrate into hosts, not the other way around.Miranda stands with her hands spread and shrugging as though to say 'what can you do?'
Miranda: So I'm the closest we have. I don't quite match the body, don't have the same name, and I'm our most junior alter. Oh well, so much for the host.
Question #18: "Are you a transsexual?" --MacThree symbols: the male, the female, and the transgendered. The male one is circled.
Caption: This one gives me a headache. I'm a guy.
Caption: The body's a girl.The female symbol stands alone, now crossed out.
Caption: Thing is, the body ain't mine.A picture of a house with a female symbol on the door and round window.
Caption: I just live there.
Caption: I had a boy's body for 27 years. I just lost it.A silhouette of the top half of a person's head, bisected to show a room, which has a bed, a wall hanging, and a chair, all decorated with the male symbol.
Caption: I mostly live in subjective reality. My body's still there.
Caption: I don't need corporeal reality like Loony-Brain. My body works fine without.
Mac: Nom nom.The transgendered symbol takes up the panel, along with a question mark.
Caption: I don't know if I'm trans.The male symbol shows up instead.
Caption: I feel cis.
Question #19: "How could you let someone RAPE you?" By RoganRogan stands in his panel; he's smiling, seemingly unconcerned.
Rogan: I get this mostly from family, mostly dressed up in nicer language: 'how did it happen?' 'why did you stay so long?' 'why didn't you...?' but it all amounts to the same thing really.An amorphous, shadowy figure with staring eyes rests its hands on Rogan's shoulders possessively. He doesn't seem to notice.
Rogan: The answer is, I didn't. That's why they call it 'rape,' genius.
Rogan: But that's not what you mean. You want to know why I didn't leave sooner, fight harder, protect my girls and protect myself, right?He stands on a hilltop, arms raised and spread, a seemingly triumphant position.
Rogan: Well, I'll tell you. We believe it. All of it. That's the really unpleasant part, that we believed it.A series of weights crash on top of him, forcing him to bend double to carry them. They're labeled guilt, self-loathing, and manipulation.
Rogan: That our body belonged to him. That us getting raped hurt less than him going without. That we were too broken to like sex. That we had to learn to like it. That love equaled sex.
Caption: That we deserved it.
SFX: WHAMRogan pulls himself partway out from under the weight, though he's still crushed from the chest down. He still acts unconcerned, but his expression isn't quite as casual as his hand gestures portray.
Rogan: I did protect them, though. It took me a year to gain the power I needed to get them to leave, so I did the only thing I could. I took it for them.Sneak walked over to where Rogan is pinned under the weight. Zie kneels next to him; he reaches out to zer.
Caption: It was worth it.
Question #20: "What terminology do you prefer?" By MirandaMiranda holds up one finger to make her point.
Miranda: Please note these are our particular preferences only.All five system members stand side by side. Each one is labeled 'member' with an arrow, and the group as a whole is labeled 'system.'
Caption: Together, we are a multiple system, or just 'system,' made up of system member.
A diagram of faces: a smiling girl, labeled 'original,' with arrows pointing downward to the faces of Gigi, Sneak, Rogan, and Miranda, all of which are labeled 'alter.'
Caption: Gigi, Rogan, Sneak, and I also call ourselves 'alters,' non- pejoratively, because we split from one girl.
Rogan holds up a sign with the word 'RAPEE,' half-shrugging.
Caption: Rogan doesn't identify with the terms 'rape victim,' or 'rape survivor.' He says they give his rapist too much credit.
Gigi stands in her panel angrily.
Caption: Gigi thinks all of gender is 'stupid,' but will accept female pronouns and 'little girl.'
Gigi: It is stupid.
Here are myriad things labeled. A circle, divided in four, labeled 'parts.' A person sleeping, labeled 'state of consciousness,' a doodle of Howard stern, labeled '(radio) personality,' and a gem, labeled 'facets, also on the bad list.' There are also a list of words that people identify with: 'Brother, woman, Christian, multiple, activist, black,' which is labeled 'identities.' There's also a blob with a question mark, with the notation, 'We don't even know what an ego state looks like.'
Caption: Please don't call us parts, ego states, personalities, identities, or states of consciousness. We see them as describing us as less than people.
Rogan has a used car salesman grin and is holding his hands out in a gesture of innocent helplessness. The object of his behavior, a manager-type in glasses and a tie, has his hands on his hips and looks less than taken in.
Caption: Also, while 'crazy' can be all right, if tongue-in-cheek enough, any variant of 'ill' is not.
Rogan: Sorry, can't come to work today. Too multiple.
Manager: Oh, I've heard that one before.
A young person wringing her hands stands next to Sneak, who beams and seems unbothered.
Caption: Generally: be respectful. Tone can be most important of all.
Girl: I don't know what to call you.
Sneak: That's okay! I can teach you!
This question has a picture of a couple islands.
Question #21: Where do you go when you don't front? By Sneak!
Arrow pointing to islands: New Zealand, which is not the answer but a nice place anyway.
Sneak scratches zer head and squinches up zer eyes, obviously perplexed.
Sneak: I... I don't know!
Sneak sits in zer room with sock puppets on zer hands, playing. One is sticking out its tongue.
Caption: I mean, sometimes I just go in my room and play.
Sneak: Fight for your freedom, sock people!
Sneak vanishes, leaving zer sock puppets behind, floating in midair.
Caption: But other times, I just... go away.
Sneak waves to Gigi, who smiles.
Caption: I mean, I usually know what happened while I was out...
Sneak: Thank you for returning my books, Gigi!
A planet with a ring around it takes up the panel.
Caption: ...but I have no idea why or where I go!
Arrow pointing to planet: Planet X, for all I know.
Sneak sleeps in zer bed, with a glaring, smirking doll. (Trivia: It's a Rogan plushie.) A small cloud of Z's float above zer head.
Caption: Maybe I just sleep. Or something. (Where does your mind go when you sleep, anyway?)
Sneak opens one eye. Zer Z's are interrupted.
Caption: Wherever I go, it's usually easy to get me back, though.
Someone (off-panel): Sneak! Cookies!
Sneak scrambles from zer bed, leaving sheets and pillow in disarray, plushie toppling to the bed, a look of hyperactive delight on her face.
Caption: Sorry I couldn't answer this one better.
Question #22: "Where do you come from?" Answered by Falcon (Not!)
Falcon, in his 'coffin in a hat' form, stands in his panel.
Falcon: I can't tell you that.
Question #23: "What do you do when you're not with Loony-Brain?"
Still the coffin.
Falcon: ...I watch CSI.
Question: #24: "Who would win in a fight? You, or a Yeti? "
(This page is brought to you by our roommate, who came up with the idea of asking Falcon questions. He was not around at the time, so this is entirely our doing. Sorry, Falcon.)