I can look back on my life now and see that through various relationships and traumatic events, I’ve become a collection of splintered selves, personality shards held together by force of habit and stubbornness, but with less and less connection between. My wife recently asked me about integration, wondered if I was moving in that direction. Sometime last year, or maybe the year before, Roxy and I talked about integration but at that time I didn’t feel very motivated, and I didn’t really know what it would mean for me.
I still don’t entirely know what integration would look like for me. Maybe it’s one of those things where I’ll know it when I see it. I do know that I have some fears, maybe unfounded, but mine nonetheless. I worry that integration will mean loss of what I’ve discovered about myself. The Casey/Kyle mix is not always blended. I still have moments of almost pure Kyleness, islands of living and feeling and breathing through that self, surrounded by a sea of being Casey in most of my day to day interactions. My wife said that she doesn’t know Kyle, that she knows Casey and that’s who she’s in a relationship with. That makes sense, Kyle has kept to himself for the most part around her. He hasn’t seen a willingness on her part to know him. Maybe that’s changed, maybe it’s time to introduce them. I don’t know. She sees my identities as the result of early trauma, would she every welcome Kyle as a person of his own the way others have? Do I need her to?
Every time I think about how that conversation might go, it seems like she’d hear it as more a description of characteristics I’ve invested in that part of myself. And maybe that’s really what’s happened. Sometimes I have the sharpest sense that the real I feel is worlds away from the real other people perceive. That might not be a bad thing, but it feels a little lonely.
Who is Kyle? What part of me is Kyle and what part is Casey? What the heck does integration look like, how do I get there? I really don’t know yet.
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