Wednesday, December 25, 2013

On the Outside, Looking In

Samantha:  It has been quite some time since we posted, hasn't it?  Well, not much we can say - life doesn't change much for us.. but Merry Christmas to our readers, and I've got some things to talk about tonight.  I'm not going to name names, and I'm going to shave details, because this is a personal issue.. so sorry if you're not gonna get the information you'd usually get from us.

You see, a friend of ours may have been diagnosed with something similar to what we have.  There's been no final diagnosis, but they've got a lot of stuff we recognize going on with them.  Where we are able to chat among ourselves and work together, they've not got this luxury.  Their siblings are cut off, preventing any real communication.  Kit's been asked to help with that - in that he's been asked what to do, and he's offered some advice (such as leaving notes for each other so the siblings can communicate), but tonight, our friend switched - and that sort of freaked out their partner since normally the sibling comes up when there's some sort of crisis.

And, see, they were having a good day, so a sudden switch could be a bit off-putting - especially if the only other time you'd met this other is during a crisis.  I sat down with the sibling, talked things out, and explained what I thought was important:  1) communication with the prime individual.  You're a guest, after all.. a permanent one perhaps, but a guest.  2)  find out if there's any others.  Each person is an individual, and you need to know who these people are, and if they're safe.  Or, as Kit mentioned during a chat earlier - if you're going to see a doctor, they want to know if (a) you're a danger to anyone else, and (b) if you're a danger to yourself.  In much the same way.. everyone in the collective needs to know if everyone else is safe, and what triggers or limits there are.

For example, Shawn.  He's a bit of a prick - he gets under people's skin, and he's good at it, but he's not a danger, and we know why he's like that.  He hates.. well, social niceties.  He hates playing games where people dance around problems and try to wave off other people's faults.  He's used this with surgical precision on Kit and the rest of us at times, which forces us to take hard looks at ourselves, but he's not a danger to us or anyone else.  Dark, on the other hand, is a weapon.  He's there to take down threats to us or those we care about.  He's dangerous, and we are well aware of that.  So, if he's coming up when he is not needed, we are prepared to prevent this.

But our friend isn't used to this.  They've not been in this kind of situation for years, and haven't developed the kind of mechanisms needed to control this kind of thing.  So, we were kind of glad to notice that their primary 'other' was a 'knight' of sorts - there to protect the host as necessary.  This is good - we can talk to a person like that, and help lay out rules.  Communication.  Awareness.  Discipline.  And they understood.  Which is good.

The other thing is - they're not sharing certain bits of information.  Passwords, whether or not medication has been taken, etc.  This is Bad.  So this needs to be worked on.  The first thing we did was try to teach how to get in contact with a sibling and bring them up (or, if necessary, push them down).  This worked - which surprised me.  I mean, we were suggesting techniques we used over a decade ago, when we were new at switching who was running the host.  So.. we were suggesting techniques we didn't know would work - I mean, a lot of it is mental jiujutsu.

But it worked, our friend came back up, and we explained everything in a nutshell.  So there's some relief there.  However - their partner's a bit freaked out, and we can't blame them.  Finding out your significant other has in-house siblings can be a bit of a shock.  I mean, their partner's used to us, but even we came as a bit of a shock.  Having this happen again, and a lot closer to home, can be hard.  They're confused, and we sat down with them and talked a little.  Hopefully it will work out.

But this is kinda new for us.. being on the outside, trying to help someone like us cope with this development.  And it's kinda hard for us, because a friend of ours now has to try to deal with a partner who's suddenly gone plural.  Well, we'll try to be there for both of them, but.. it's going to be a slow, learning process for us as well.  Wish us luck.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Random Meanderings

Samantha here,
I sent an e-mail to the Shinto priest a few days ago, and poured my heart out to him.  I told him about my fears, and how I was worried about myself, what I was, and what might happen to me.  He seemed to be quite understanding, and told me that - as a conscious entity, Shinto accepted me as an individual, with all the spiritual rights of anyone else.  That, when I died, I would join the kami and be among them.

This made me smile.. and I told him that I would be picking up a bottle of Sortilege to give to Ame no Uzume no Mikoto as a gift.  I think she's probably never had maple brandy before, so it should be extra special.  :>  He thanked me for the kind words, and seems to be looking forward to it.

I feel really good!

Shawn:  I'm being asked to write my mind.  I don't really have anything to talk about - I'm not heavy into the whole philosophy and religion stuff, and I don't think about the afterlife and what happens after we die.  None of this is really interesting.  I spend my time sitting back and watching the world, and making comments about it when it suits me.  In general, my view is this:  people suck, the world sucks, you suck, I suck.  What I'm interested in is seeing how people deal with their lives.  Will they stand up and do what needs to be done, or will they collapse and wimp out?  Will they accept their losses and try again, or will they whine and bitch and give up?  The former, I'm willing to give some respect to.  The latter can go fuck themselves.  I've seen Kit listen to people complain and mope, and he's offered perfectly good advice on what's wrong and how to fix it, only to have the person whine and bitch more and not do anything to change their status.  I'm not even talking about hard stuff, I'm talking about people with perfectly solvable problems, who are too lazy or too set in their ways to try anything out.  Drives me bloody nuts, and if I'm given the chance, I'll tear a strip off them for their troubles.

Even Cat gets under my skin.  Kit'll offer a perfectly reasonable suggestion for a course of action, and she'll hem and haw and hesitate, even though it doesn't cost her anything to act.  Yesterday we were going out to see a flick, and she wanted breakfast.  Because our mother doesn't want to do a lot of walking, we had the suggestion of eating local.  But she fixated on "I'll go off and go get food, while you wait in the theatre", and completely ignored that, oh, hey, perhaps other people might want to eat, too!  After milling around, the group decided to go to the place kitty-corner to the theatre.  Then she fussed on whether or not they served breakfast, but was reluctant to actually ask and see if they did - when it was pointed out it won't cost to ask them if they did.  That kind of thing annoys me.  If you've got the tools, use them.  If you don't know what's up, you ask someone who can tell you.  You don't fuss, you don't hesitate, you don't hem and haw, you just do it.  A minute of your life to be informed isn't going to kill you.

Kit of course has his own issues, don't get me wrong.  The guy's got fixation problems.  He'll hone in on an interest with laser sharp focus, then obsess over it for a period of time, then get bored and dump it.  Some things last longer than others - if they have simple rotes he'll do them out of habit.  The guy just doesn't have the focus to finish anything though, and it requires a lot of effort to push him forward to get things done.  And then there's his spending habits, which need a bit of work as well, he'll waste money he doesn't have, justifying it as 'just a little bit', even though the money could be better spent on groceries or on bills.  The guy really needs to look ahead and save up.  And he knows it too - we tell him often enough.

Heh.  And he didn't like me mentioning that little bit.  He's not comfortable when his dirt's laid out for others to see.  Too bad.  I was told to write, so whatever.  Anyway, it's bed time soon, so I'll just wrap things up here.  I bet they'll think twice before letting me speak my mind here again.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Spiritual Journey

Samantha here,
Mm, I tried writing something, but I didn't like how it sounded.  I'm kinda not in the writing mood, but I did want to say my thoughts on a matter.  So I deleted the whole thing, to start over.

Kit's registered with a Shinto shrine.. specifically, the one in Seattle that's got a shrine to Ame no Uzume no Mikoto.. the goddess of the dawn and celebration.  Kinda a funny story here.. my friend Paul was running a Scion game - this is a game where you play the offspring of gods.  I decided to make a daughter of Ame no Uzume.. who takes her role as a shrine maiden / priestess of her mother quite seriously (and is also a doctor, but that's not entirely relevant to this story).  Paul set his game in Seattle, because he kinda likes the place, and I thought that was cool.  Then I found out there's a Shinto shrine just north of Seattle.  Then I find out it's a shrine to Ame no Uzume. Then I found out she was, essentially, the first shrine maiden.  Isn't that cool?

Anyway.. after all that, I've felt a bond with Ame no Uzume no Mikoto.  I want to go to Seattle, and I want to kneel in front of her shrine, and pray to her.  I want to feel.. something.. a part of something.  Kit's now an actual, official Shinto follower, and I want to be too.  He's hoping to visit Seattle - and I've been pushing for that extra hard.  I want to go there, I want to talk with the high priest .. he seems an awesome fellow.. and I want to see if there's anything he can do for me.

And I want a shrine to Ame no Uzume to bring home, so I can talk with her, too.  And hopefully, I can be enshrined myself.. not as a part of Kit, but as me, myself.  It feels important.

Kit had an argument with mom about this kind of thing, actually.  She doesn't understand, and Kit couldn't really tell her that a part of it is my needs, either.  She doesn't understand what I go through, and the doubts and the worries I experience.  Kit's got a bit of a worry about his impending mortality, but it's worse for me.. what happens to me, to Legion, to my brothers and my sister when he dies?

It's something I'm not comfortable with.. and I'm hoping, maybe, somehow, visiting the shrine and talking with the high priest, may give me some answers.. let's hope, right?

Yeah, I think this sounds a lot better than what I was saying before.

Mark:  This isn't something I've really thought about myself.  I'm not a spiritual person, not like Kit, who takes religion Very Seriously, or Samantha, who feels aimless and needs some sort of assurance that she's not doomed to simply vanishing upon death.  In some ways, I find the concept of death as something that I may welcome - a release from my duties, you might say.  At death, I'm free.  Will I have an afterlife?  Will I simply cease to be?  I don't know, and it doesn't bother me that much.  Do I get upset when someone I care for passes?  No, strangely enough, I don't.  I mean Chris was broken up when Minou died, he gets upset when a family member dies, and he still is sad about the loss of Kitty, and Samantha was upset herself, and gets scared and antsy any time there's a death, and the loss of Minou caused Daryl to completely lose his shit, but I don't really feel these things.  Death isn't something I'm worried about.  I don't know why, but there you have it.  I guess, perhaps, because I don't get much of a sense of living, I'm in a waiting state of sorts, so perhaps that's what it is.  I don't have, I feel, much to lose in death, because there's not much that I have gained.  When I die, those who know me may be upset, but I think it will be upset at the total loss, not of me, myself.  After all, when Chris dies, so does Legion.  And I think most people will be more in mourning about losing Chris, than of Samantha, or Daryl, or myself.  This is worse for some of the others, because they don't have the connections that Chris or Samantha has - who will mourn Bard?  Or Dark?  Shawn, or Sonic?  Guardian, or Claudia?  We exist, some stronger than others, but there will not really be anyone to mourn us, because nobody truly tried to get to know us as individuals.  Instead, it was more a matter of knowing Chris, then knowing us through him.  And I'm willing to accept that.  When the time comes, I will go, and that will be it.  I don't see a reason to fear death.  I have so little to lose.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Loss In The Family

Samantha:  It's often hard for us.. we react in a variety of ways to certain pressures, and a death in the family is perhaps one of the hardest things for us to deal with.  Today, we had to put one of our cats to sleep.  Minou had been wasting away - and at an alarming rate in more recent weeks, and we tried everything we could to look after her, but there wasn't anything more we could do.

We never deal with death well.  It is a rather horrific experience for us, because as a group, we have our own doubts and fears about death.  So, each time it happens, there's a strange mix of reactions, and who gets the most public reaction depends on what the conditions are.  At our grandfather's funeral, things were subdued, at our great grandmother's funeral, there were hysterics, and this was no different.

We'd prepared ourselves as best we could over the last week, knowing that she wasn't healthy, and that she wasn't going to get better - it was more about how long we could stave off the inevitable.  Unfortunately, while we had hoped for 'weeks' or 'months' , we got 'days'.

The hardest hit was our little brother, Daryl.  We had tried our best to look after Minou and make her feel as comfortable as we could the last few days, giving her extra cuddles, holding her in our arms, and letting her sleep with us in bed when she was inclined to.  Today had been a good day for her - she was energetic, she drank her water, and she was extra affectionate.  This, of course, made the finale a lot harder for us, because she looked like she could have gotten better.. though her weight said otherwise.  She'd gone from 3.2 kg to 2.7, and she would only lose more weight if we delayed - she was already skin and bones..

When we made the decision, we were bracing for it.. but we should have looked away.  When they put the syringe into her, Daryl screamed at us.. you're killing her! and we couldn't take it.  Kit felt extra guilty at that point, and we just broke down.  He still hears that now, from time to time, and it's very hard on him.  And then of course, there's the memories, and wishing there had been more time.

No.  We don't take this very well at all.. and we're not looking forward to having to do this again in the future.  This time however, I have to say, was better than before.  The staff were understanding.  They took their time with us.  They talked with us when we needed to make the hard decisions, and they gave us space when we needed our privacy to grieve.  They gave us options, unlike the staff with Kitty, and this helped, I think.  We're getting Minou's cremains brought home, and we have a special place for them.

Kit joked that it is almost Shinto, keeping her ashes in a small box on his desk.  I joked to him that we could get a shrine ordered, and keep her with the shrine - but maybe it isn't so much of a joke after all.  She's with the kami now, isn't she?