Note: If you find white on black difficult to read, check out this post on Medium instead.
Note: We have Dissociative Identity Disorder. Several system members will tell this long story, but we’re keeping it at one person per post. Read more on our experience with DID here, here and here.
Me and Tom bonded over an actor.
Sidenote: I know that’s supposed to be “Tom and I” but we’ve been asked to write how we speak because most of us aren’t writers and this makes it easier. I’m actually an editor and proofreader but I’m still following the rules of this series. It’s to show our differences, make sure we don’t look too polished, whatever. By the way it’s Harry, hi. Let me start again.
Me and Tom bonded over an actor.
Picture this: a large, magical school full of life and people from only the best backgrounds. These were the days before they started letting “just anyone” in, back when they hand-picked the best out of the riff-raff and put us together in an old semi-rotting castle that looked like something out of a Dracula film set in the 1800s.
About half of the people in it were like Eton swots who’d been working their whole lives to get in, because their parents went there and passed the stories of the elite school who invites you, you don’t apply.
The rest of us were normal.
Tom was normal. Tom didn’t really want to be there if I remember right, he was forced by his parents and he hated the place.
I didn’t know Tom, but I noticed Tom, but then Alan — a system member — starred in the school show alongside someone Tom fell in love with. Her name was Grace, she played the lead, and Tom was infatuated. I was also infatuated; at this point this body was about 11 or 12 and wasn’t taken seriously enough for lead roles. That’s a whole other story. Anyway, so, I became obsessed with wanting Grace as a friend and Tom was in love with her.
Since me and Tom were in the same year, he wasn’t too shy about approaching me and asking about her. Asking about this 16-year-old he was slightly creepily obsessed with. Being too logical to assume a child was in love with a teenager, I said I liked Grace too, she was cool. He took this to mean I was also in love with her, and so our friendship began on a wonderful bed of misinformation.
We were pals.
Tom got over his Grace obsession after about two months. Two months of us spending every day together, talking about Grace and what we knew about her friend group and her interests. It didn’t take me long to realize Tom was actually infatuated, not infrienduated, and I tried not to encourage him but I couldn’t help it. I was fascinated by this leading lady creature who carried the show, because Alan wanted to do that and I needed to gather the information for him.
After those two months I had to keep this friend-desire secret though because Tom got bored and we started bonding over other things. Spending every day with a person for two months, you sort of end up bonding with them, in one way or another.
The next thing we bonded over was Aerosmith. I didn’t like them at the time, but a system member did, and he’d been slowly leaking his love into me ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) so when Tom brought them up, I could jump in and talk about how I enjoyed them, discuss their music, and discuss the members.
We talked about Aerosmith all the time, and on weekends we’d go to the nearby village and hunt down their music, posters, and other fun things related to them.
Shortly after that, we bonded over Neighbours, which the whole system had been fans of for years. We talked about our favourite characters and Tom talked about his desire to be the newish character Karl, who at the time was my favourite character.
We bonded over books next. A book series we both enjoyed.
Then there was another band we both enjoyed.
Then one day when a singer came up, as Tom and I walked along the basketball court, Tom shoved me and said, “Stop pretending to like everything I like!”
To any rational person here that sounds fucking ridiculous.
It came out of nowhere. YOU know that it’s normal for people to bond over common interests, and that it’s completely plausible for people to have a lot in common. I know that.
That’s how you make friends. You bond over interests and you talk and you discover other shared interests and that fuels a strong bond that extends beyond interests into a like for each other and an interest in each other and so on. Something along those lines, right?
So here I was, baffled, not knowing why my friend was suddenly rejecting me. I tried to walk back towards Tom and he shoved me away again.
Tom and I were no longer friends after that. It was fine, though, because having DID with three main fronters who got along well at the time we were never alone. We also had other friends. A lot of them were teachers, but a friend’s a friend, so who cares whether we’re chatting to Tom about Aerosmith or chatting about Casualty with Mrs Day?
Tom went off and found other friends.
Cole, Chloe, Ken and Kim. I love those names, and they’re not made up either. We’re not changing any of these peoples’ names here.
I had Alan and Diamond in the system, Mrs. Day the maths teacher, Frank the chemistry teacher, Mr. Roy the headmaster, Daniela, and Anna whenever she was in, the sickly and shy girl who liked us because we were three people and she had schizophrenia and found someone else with “something happening” comforting.
It still bugged us though. Like, for years. That whole “stop pretending to like everything I like!” thing. Tom verbally abused me, screaming across the room if someone ever saw or heard me enjoying my interests.
But two years after Tom’s disposal of me, I paired up with Chloe for an experiment in chemistry and we became friends. A few weeks later Chloe invited me to spend lunch with her group and that was that. I had no problem going; Anna had left the school and Daniela was taking leave because she was ill.
Seeing that Chloe liked me, Tom was okay with my presence but on the condition: “Only if that fucker stops pretending to like everything I like.” I really didn’t like Tom at this point so I ignored him, focusing mainly on Chloe and Ken out of the group. Cole was a little bitch, always lying about what he’d done over the weekend, and Kim was a cunt who frequently caught spiders and tried to put them on me because I had arachnophobia. Ken and Chloe were great though.
Tom ended up re-bonding with a system member, but it was Diamond this time.
They bonded over being two of the most high-achieving people in the school, and they enjoyed Diamond’s WIP novel which she wrote in a copybook she carried everywhere.
Jump forward a year again and Kim becomes too much of a cunt so I said goodbye to the group and returned to it just being me, Alan and Diamond, with the every day chats with Mrs Day, Frank, Mr. Roy and now Michael the woodwork teacher. At least we didn’t have a group rolling their eyes and cackling while the waited for us to stop talking to the teachers anymore.
During this final year of school, Alan and I weren’t out as much. Modern-day Hannah, who then had less of a personality and was known as Gray, came out. It’s because he was friends with Michael I think, and used to make shit out of wood during lunch. He made a guitar once, that was cool.
During this last year at school Hannah/Gray made a friend and ended up going travelling with him. Alan, Diamond and I were pushed into the background. Oh by the way, I should also mention this wasn’t the actual “last” year of school, there were two more to go: college/sixth form. We left anyway.
Tom said goodbye to Diamond, and Chloe and Ken said goodbye to me. And so, off we went, travelling.
I forgot about Tom fairly quickly. He was just a school-time chum I had a rocky relationship with, who had a confusing claim. But little did I know, this shit had fucked us right the way up and we’d continue to be fucked up by Tom’s antics for a while.
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