The Owls' Nest
The Owls' Nest

Hiveminded

Written December 16th of 2020, right at the start of our identity crisis. Our understanding of ourselves has grown from here, and this served as the foundation for a new way of being. It's more complicated than this now, but the core idea of being made of fluid subparts came from here.


The last few days have been a journey of rediscovering ourselves and figuring things out. We're still in the midst of it, but the biggest realizations seem to have finished and we're onto figuring out specifics and comprehending everything. This post is to sum up what's going on and publicly share it.

This is very important to us. We're letting ourselves speak our truth and see who we are for the first time in years, and it feels like coming home.

The plural community-emphasized model of being completely distinct people doesn't fit us. We're not a singular person either, or parts of the same person. We are certainly more than one person, but more in the sense of a dissonant hivemind than of distinct people. We're uncountably many semi-selves that are continually clumping together and pulling apart, ever-changing and multifaceted, and together we create the impression of a larger self when needed. It's like how a flock of birds is simultaneously individuals in motion and a shape in the sky.

Existing is a conversation for us. Everything we do is a discussion with each other in both words and action, and making decisions means talking our way to agreement. Sometimes we contradict each other when opinions and ideas differ, and it's hard to come to an agreement on some things because we have to talk in circles until we reach a cohesive consensus, but we eventually reach a conclusion and choose to act together on it. We learn in dialogues and grow through chatter, and we are never alone.

We have issues with forcing ourselves to fit norms and expectations because being different has historically been dangerous for us, and we've been working on changing that tendency. Lately, we've been mulling over how the norms within plural communities have affected our experiences. For the last four years, we've tried to make ourselves fit the apparent plural norm of being consistent, fully-separated people, which doesn't truly describe us. Sometimes, one form of median plurality is mentioned as being "separate parts of the same person," but that doesn't fit us either; we're not parts of one person, but a smattering of fluid fragments and semi-selves that come together and break apart as needed. We never really saw anything outside of those two forms of plurality, and we felt the need to match the concept of being distinct people in order to fit in and be recognized as plural.

As time went on, cracks in that selves-conceptualization began to crop up. We kept finding and naming more clumps of ourselves, and eventually we began to notice how much movement there was within one person, and began to see the many shifting semi-selves making them up. We denied what we saw or were confused by it, and we discarded the notion that we might not be as discrete was we thought we were until recently.

We asked ourselves what we would allow ourselves to be if no one was there to judge or label us, and the consensus reached was that we would not be discrete or clearly divided into people, would not try to name ourselves for the benefit of others. We would be fluid and nonspecific, let ourselves exist without names or faces most of the time. We would flex and bend naturally, let ourselves shift through one another without worrying whether we're being consistent or whether our nature is easily understood by others. In other words, we would let go of enforced boundaries and labels and let ourselves be as we are without trying to make ourselves fit the apparent norms, and we would stop caring about being perfectly relatable or comprehendible to anyone but ourselves.

Many of us have spent the last few days in an identity crisis (the good kind, don't worry!) because of that answer, and it feels like we've met ourselves all over again. There's been a lot of relearning who we are and how we work, and we've had to come to terms with the realization that we're not as distinct as we wanted to be. We're messy and fluid and flexible, always shifting and changing, myriad shapes overlaid and swirled together to create something more. We are the self as a conversation, as a hivemind, as a swarm or flock or sea. It's beautiful and confusing and right to set our faces aside and just be without the strain of trying to be people, and we want to take a deep breath and speak our truth to the world.

This is what we are.


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