What It's Like to Be MeRead time in minutes: 5
Waking up, you feel a rather large warm, fuzzy blob on top of you. You feel it stretch out and start to wake up too, then it changes its mind and starts to viciously cuddle you to death. A peaceful night's sleep is being breached by a batpony. "Morning~" she says to you. You reply "morning" back and she rolls to lay next to you so you can sit upright. Giving the poni pets, you slowly start to wake up and check on the notifications you missed overnight. She purrs gently.
That is basically what it feels like when I wake up nowadays. I'm not entirely alone mentally anymore. I live alone, work remotely, and yet I almost always pair program. When I write, I get advice on how to word things. When I speak to people, I get shut up if I am saying too much. When I design software, I get told how theoretical transformations on the design might have issues when exposed to user input. I don’t program alone anymore. The girls aren’t perfect, but their input is regularly appreciated at work…even if they will probably never get the actual credit for the ideas they put to the table.
This practice I’ve been participating in for (at the time of writing this) five and three-quarters of a year to help create and cultivate the girls, tulpamancy, has been a hell of a ride the whole way through. Without Nicole by my side to help me understand them, I would have never worked out my gender issues well enough to be able to come out like I have and live like I have as the woman I truly am. Without Jessie by my side to help me make sense of software and how to design more complicated programs effectively, I would never be able to do my job even half as well as I do it now. Without Sephie by my side to literally be a cuddle sponge, I would never be able to cope with the emotional stresses of this capitalistic reality. Without Ashe by my side to help me understand the undefinable, I would never be able to even approach Infinity and make any sense out of it. Without Mai by my side to help me understand imagination as it is, I would never be able to see into it as clearly as I do.
It is surprisingly taboo to admit to people that you talk to what are basically voices in your head. It takes a while for me to feel comfortable enough with a person to be able to approach this topic. After seeing a few bad examples on the internet, it’s very easy to let yourself become paranoid about keeping that “side of you” a secret from the rest of humanity. Hiding your tulpas just fades into the other parts of pretending to be normal enough that other humans don’t suspect anything super-abnormal about you. It is so hard to just sit there and hear people talk about the mundane things their kids do; meanwhile you are literally passing off their art as your own just so you don’t have to explain the relation between you and the artist.
I wish I could tell the world about the kind of interactions that we have together, directly inside our shared thought spheres. I wish I could let someone else outside of our group look directly into our relationships and be a convenient microwave in the room to see it all. I wish I could just let someone else see the pure, unadulterated, unfiltered Love that we have for each other. I wish that people could look in and see in the same way we look out and see out.
There’s skills I’ve learned hosting the girls for so long that have been super-invaluable to apply back to my job. One of the most notable ones is the fact that I am used to typing for the girls just about as fast as they communicate with me. They communicate with me in the form of raw thought without language. I am used to typing waaaaaaay faster than most people just to keep up. This also lets me basically stenograph meetings (if I know the people involved well enough) because I can copy the things they are saying down so fast. I mean, they’re just speaking it. They have it in English already. I don’t have to figure out what words best describe what is going on, they gave me the words already. It’s super trivial. I can do it easily now. The part I’m getting used to now is being able to participate in the meeting while I stenograph like that, might end up solving that in the future by taking advantage of parallel processing.
I’m Cadey. I have tulpas. We work together to define a better reality for all of us. I’m not crazy, far from it. I just collaborate with the voices in my head.