Saturday, October 29, 2016

What if success isn't enough?

noun: success; plural noun: successes
  1. the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

    "the president had some success in restoring confidence"
    synonyms:favorable outcome, successfulness, successful result, triumph
    "the success of the scheme"

According to a quick Google search of the definition of "success", I was successful this last year. 

My goal, or aim, was to go to Japan and learn as much as I could about the language and culture. I also wanted a better understanding of the inner workings machines. 

While I did not make top grades in any of my classes, both in language and technical, I did advance my understanding in both areas. In a class of 144 students, of which 31 students were foreigners from 8 different countries, I was ranked 134th in technical studies. I did not attain my language testing goals, but I was considered, by my instructors and Japanese classmates, to be one of the best in the foreigner class in terms of natural speaking Japanese. 

In regards to my impact in the school, I was selected to be the class representative to receive our graduating certificate. When I asked about that selection, I was told that, of all the students in my class, I exhibited the characteristics the school was trying to pass on to the student body. Things such as hard work, enthusiasm, consideration for others and so on. 

My instructors, my Japanese friends, my family and friends back home, everyone I came in contact with who knew of these accomplishments all consider me to be successful. 

When I returned to the US and my job, I was told that "people are looking forward to working with you" and "we expect great things from you". 

And yet I feel as though I have failed. We are stuck. We cannot move towards the new goal we have set for ourselves: technical translation. Yes, 日本語ペラペラ喋る。I can fluently speak Japanese, but it's not enough. Yes, I understand how to create PLC programs to manipulate machines. I can create useful metal objects with a milling machine and a lathe (even though they are terrifying machines). I even know how to create a pleasing finish on the metal object. I can read electrical and pneumatic maps. 

I know how to do so many things now, but it's not enough. 

I am lost. We are lost. We dream of living and working in Japan for the long term, but we don't know how. We don't know how to keep ourselves from becoming stuck in a rut or following what is expected of us. 

We have a three year contract to work in our company, which is great! Yay job security! But it's choking us. It's terrifying us. We feel paralyzed from not knowing where we are going and not understanding how to move forward. 

On top of that, the internal peace we have so carefully built may not be as sturdy as once thought. Our counselor agrees with this. Yomi has woken up and has decided to remain awake. We have had run-ins with Marie wanting to release the Figurines. We have contemplated searching out our original and bring her home. 

We feel like a failure, yet we keep an optimistic front at work. "I don't know where I'm headed, but I'll get there. No worries!" But we are worried. Deeply worried. 

Because what will happen if we have a breakdown and can't go to work? I'm sure that will violate our contract and then we'll owe our company tens of thousands of dollars. 

What happens if we never figure out what we want to do and never do anything of real importance? What if we never manage to accomplish that other dream of ours... to speak out and make a change against the stigma of mental health. We have started that in small ways... but it's not enough. 

I'm the most successful failure I've ever met. 

And it's not enough. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Where feet may fail.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

(Oceans by Hillsong)

I am afraid. Deeply and thoroughly afraid. The dream is coming true. In 80 days I will arrive in Japan. In 58 days I'll go to an orientation conference for all the new Academy students from North America.

In less than 12 hours, I'll take the first of the placement exams. I'm not actually supposed to pass the exam. In all honesty, I'm expected to do quite badly. Least that's what I've been told.

The negative voices in my mind keep saying that, if I don't do well, my company will decide to not send me. That I've not signed my contract, so they can change their minds any moment.

My negative voices say that I'm wasting everyone's time. That I should give up. Who am I to think that I could be an engineer?

I've been praying a lot. And I've been singing "Oceans" by Hillsong nearly nonstop since it was brought to my attention at church Sunday morning. The song "Brokenness Aside" by All Sons and Daughters has been making its rounds in my head too.

I've been doing my best to have the happy face on while at work, but it's wearing thin.

Are we ready for this? Can we do this? I don't know...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Six to Eight Months -- Morrigan

My last post was last February. This is fitting since we will be leaving for Japan next February. My company has decided to offer us the position of going to Japan for a year and we have accepted it. This month, we start "formal" training (no one has explained what "formal" means, yet. Communication is a bit lacking.)

Things are not perfect and that's okay. We have been off anti-depressants for a few months now, which seems to be going well. We have gotten pretty close to our church group. They are absolutely fantastic people. They're the kind of people that you can call anytime for anything. We are comfortable enough with this group that we've started to open up slowly. They're a real special group.

Tommi and I have learned to Blend together well enough--sometimes, too well--for work. Marie and Shiloh have been working on Shiloh integrating with Marie, which also seems to be going well. Marie still doesn't talk much , but, from what I remember of Marie when I was Horsie and we lived in Japan as a kid, that's just the way she is. Overall, things are going well.

The only recent upheaval has been the return of Yomi to the White Room. She's been back for about a month or so now, though she does not know if she is going to stay. As of right now, her being back hasn't changed too much. Initially, it caused some rough nights of sleeplessness and days of exhaustion, but that's passed. We're letting her come to her own decisions on whether or not she wants to get better. It's been interesting, to say the least.

We've picked up a new obsession: Doctor Who. Just watched the last three episodes of the 11th Doctor... And dang. I'm glad we watched it with friends; it's an emotional roller coaster. And that's all I'll say about that, because spoilers are terrible things.

We also found out recently that we're going to be an aunt! This is the first kid from me or my siblings, so it's bound to be spoiled pretty well. Unfortunately, the kid is set to be born right about the time we are set to leave for Japan. It's very likely we won't see them until the kid is about a year old. And that sucks. But my oldest (currently pregnant) sister said something to me three years ago that I have never forgotten:

"Sometimes, life just sucks."

And I'm okay with this.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stress and Living Openly -- Morrigan

In the past, we all dealt with stress very badly. It didn't even matter what was causing the stress. If we stressed due to dying in a video game or if we were not getting along with our parents that day, we dealt with it in just about the same way: we pretended that things were fine.

Since December 2010, the month that I interacted with others as Morrigan, I have grown a lot. Not only me, but all of my family within has grown so much. I realized this today as I'm trying to sort through some decisions that are facing us all. There are two things that can drastically change our life, and I'm not sure what is the right course of action.

First, there is an opportunity at work to possibly go overseas for a year to study various skill sets as well as become fluent in Japanese. Our company has already been investing in us by paying us to go to Japanese language classes. We have also been told that how well we do will directly effect our chances of going to Japan. I've looked at the literature regarding the program we would be in. There is a huge amount of technical skills and knowledge that Bloomer is simply over the top excited to possibly learn. The rest of us are more hesitant, mostly because we don't think we will enjoy it. However, it is one of our goals to eventually get to and live in Japan for a while. This program would not only send us there, but it would pay our way there, during, and back. It's an amazing opportunity.

However, I worry about where we are in our healing journey. Granted, if we even go, it's a year or more away. We will be in a much different place then, just as we are in a much different place now compared to a year ago. I ask my God often about this opportunity; if it is one He has planned for us. As the Main, I'm not sure what the "right" decision is.

The second thing that has me a little confused and concerned is our goal to "live openly." We keep saying to one another that "one day" we will live openly about being a Multiple. One day things are going to be different. One day our friends will all know and interact with us as individuals. But when does "one day" start?

I talk about this subject with those within constantly, and our conclusion is always the same: one day must start now or else it will never happen. This is easier said than done. We understand (sort of) where we want to end up ideally, but we have no idea how to get there.

My counselor and I came to the conclusion that my church may be a safe place in which to figure out this idea of living openly. So, last Monday, I spoke with the pastor of my church, who knows about all of us. He actually baptized me when I became a Christian and I have had a series of talks with him regarding faith and how it interacts with us being a Multiple. I spoke with him this time about the general attitude of our church regarding their openness toward mental disorders. He couldn't give me any simple answers and that this was something I had to figure out for myself. Though he was able to shed some light on the generational differences within our church and how it relates to stigmas surrounding mental disorders. The conclusion my pastor and I came up with is that those of us within need to use wisdom and discernment when and how we decide to tell people.

After a lot of thought, I realized, how can I expect to live openly about having DID, if I can't even be open about my emotions and experiences (that don't require an explanation of DID)? It's silly of me to try to take this gigantic leap if I can't even manage this smaller step.

So tonight I decided to try to be more open. I went to my weekly Bible Study and was open in a very small way to a woman who has warmly encouraged friendship with her. Earlier in the evening, I had decided she is a fantastic person that I would like to get to know more and we had begun to make tentative plans for meeting at least once a month to try different kinds of tea. When she asked me how I was doing, I admitted that I am a bit depressed. I didn't say why, but her immediate response was empathy, the encouragement to let her know if I needed anything, and the promise that she would be praying for me. I am trying not to get my hopes up about this potential friendship, but it's looking like a good start. Maybe this will help me to get used to be open and honest about what is going on before I take that huge plunge into living openly as a Multiple.

I am no longer pretending that everything is fine. I am depressed. I even know why I'm depressed, which is a change. I am learning not to hide what is going on from my friends who know about us. I have even decided to try not to hide my voice from my parents... Which may seem silly because, of all people, they have been the most accepting and wonderful people throughout the last three years. But that is how deeply I am afraid of people seeing me. It is easy to throw up the Erin front and pretend like everything is going well. Externally, everything looks amazing! But internally, things are a bit rough. So, here's to not hiding as much. I can only pray that it goes better than I can even hope.

-- Morrigan

Saturday, November 30, 2013

This One Thing -- Morrigan and Tommi

One thing I have learned in this portion of life is that love can be terrifying. It can bind your tongue and garble the words that need spoken. Fear while in love can choke you, barely allowing breath.
One of the things that has brought us within great joy and a common goal is love. The unity of mind caused by our love has astounded me. We have been able to put aside major differences in order to incorporate this love...
This one thing has us looking at our future with some sense of cohesion. We are working together to further our unity, because we want to be worth being loved back. And we very much hope our love is mutual.
This one simple thing, love, scares us blind. We are so afraid that we will be rejected. It causes us to clam up when we are doing our best to be open. It causes us to want to hide, in hopes that a unified front will be easier for him to accept.
This one thing has caused us to lift up sacrifices willingly. Offering up bad habits, letting loose learned traits to which we have previously held tightly. 
This one thing. Love. It draws us ever closer to our God as He draws ever nearer to us. It brings us to our knees before Him as we realize how much we need Him for everything.
One constant thing in our prayers has been for this love. To find wisdom in the midst of the massive confusion whirling in our mind. To secure hope in these overly uncertain days. To find peace regardless of the answer we receive.
For this one thing terrifies and fortifies.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Misunterstood -- Ellie

(Written by Ellie. "Translated" by Tommi)

Whens Morrigan made usns a new blog, it made it sound like we was all done withs drama inside. Heehee, not so muches. Is not her fault though. Morrigan and Tommi could not hear what I heard or see what I saw. So they were taken a bit by surprise when someone new showed up. 

It's not so muchs that she is new. Alls of us could hears her. There are peoples we can hear whens we are quiet inside. We calls them the Whisper People, cuz listening to them is like listening to peoples talk in the other room buts you can not understand what theys be saying. But this one, Cecil (Sea-sull. Not Ceh-Seal), got louder ands I made her tells me her name... It was skary... Then Grace and Cecil hid what happened from alls of usns inside. That was bad of thems. We are nots supposed to be hiding stuffs like that from each other. Aaaanyway, whens I finally gots them to talk to me about what happined, I finds out that Cecil is the one who hates it when we eat. Which makes lots of sense cuz sometimes we haves to fight with ourself to swallow food ands we never knew why. We's also finds out that Cecil is a fragment, not a full person yet, which is a good thing right now... 

I needens to explain that, buts it's not why I'ms be writing today. This blog is about how we do inside effects what we do outside. Morrigan and Tommi have beens arguing a lot with Grace for the past month or more. Verry important. Morrigan and Tommi believens one thing about how love works and Grace another. Grace says she's "poly-amorous." I's don't quite gets what it means, but I do knows it makes Morrigan and Tommi upsets cuz they is "monogamous" and those two words don't works well t'gether. I gets enough to know thats what they argue about is 'portent ands they needens some answer. 

So I says, -- OH wait, I forgets a part. Theys also be arguing cuz Grace wants to goes out and party. Wells, Morrigan and Tommi is right to be some worrying cuz that is theys job. Theys fight is very hard and not good.

Okay, so I says to thems all -- even Cecil -- "I! I ams the only split froms the Original Erin!" This means I have authority wheres them others do not haves authority. "I'ms the only split. You listen to me! This is how is gonna be now. Every ones of us who is the main 5 (me, Tommi, Morrigan, Grace, and Bloomer), we each gonna have usns own day agains like it useded to be." 

And so it is this way now. I gave me Monday, Bloomer gets Tuesday, Morrigan gets Wednesday, Tommi gets Thursday (but this might change cuz hims not so happy he gets counseling day and thats be a good reason to switch days), Grace gets Fridays. Saturdays and Sundays are free days: first come, first serve. I gived Bloomer and me the first days of the week cuz lots of Morrigan and Tommi and Grace's friends don't wanna do anything those days anway. Morrigan gets Wednesday cuz she already has sword sparring with friends every Wednesday. Tommi gotted Thursday cuz it fit in nice, but I'ms gonna have to think about that gains, cuz he gets the awful day. We is always unhappy and grumpy that day cuz counseling is hard. So he might get Saturday insteads. Then Grace gets Fridays cuz she can goes out and we cans sleep in on Saturdays ifns we need to! 

I thinked it was a good plan. And yeah it's only been 5 days sinces we startns it up agains, buts I thinks its gonna be good. 

I mades Morrigan and Tommi let Grace have a night out with some friends to a bar cuz she needens it real real bad. I tolds them, use this to see if you cans trust Grace. I trustens her, you should too. So they did, and Grace was real real good. Yas, she drinked some, but no more than Morrigan said. And Grace behaved herself an did not gets herself in trouble likes Tommi ands Morrigans saids she was sure to do. So HA! I tolds you Morrigan and Tommi. Wells, they trusts her and somes of her friends to stay safe now, so Grace gets to go out more often. Thats gonna solve lots of arguing and it lets Grace have fun insteads of alway be telled no alls the time. 

Thisns just a small step, but it so big too! We is learning to trust each other with living outside stead of just Morrigan and Tommi doing it all. 

OH! Heehee! Guessns how I decide to spends my Monday? Hahaha I gotted to watch My Little Pony!! I lovens My Little Pony. I'ms been watchin the number 3 season. Is so good. OH! And my mommy picked out My Little Pony shoe laces for me. We wears them ons usns grey Chucks. I loves my shoe laces. 

Tommi gots usns hair cutted. Is so short! We wear it like a fohawk alls the time. 

At some point, Tommi or Morrigan is gonna write bout what work is like. I'ms not though cuz even though I do go to work withs them, I do not show myself there. Its not really safe for me cuz theys co workers talks bout things that are not good for little girls. Buts I do keeps Morrigan and Tommi entertained whens they get bored. They do a lot of standing and watching now, so they gets bored lots. 

Tomorrow is Bloomer's day. He says he don't know what he wants to do withs it yet. I tolds him he can do anything he wants to! It's his day he gettens all to himself. But sometimes I thinks that he forgets what he likes to do cuz he don't come out too oftens. Thats why I maked sure he gotted his own day. See, whens I'm not out verry often, I forgets how to be a little girl. I forgets how to color and to laugh. So usns all have to make sure that Bloomer comes out enough so he don't forget how to be him. He comes out at work though cuz we do lots of math there. He was usin Algebra todays at work. He was giggling cuz Yomi used to ask how come she hads to learn this an how shes never gonna ever use thisn stuff ever agains. But there Bloomer goes, usin Algebra to understand something about work. Heehee. He's so smart!

Buts I wanna watch some more My Little Pony befores I hav to go to bed, so Night Night every body!

-- Ellie

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Old habits are like rabbits... -- Morrigan

No, they don't populate everywhere. Goodness, where was your mind going! Anyway, old habits sometimes pop up out of no where when you least expect them. For me, it's writing on our blog. We put it aside for a while as our external life started picking up speed. We got a good factory job, made a lot of new friends, and, very recently, we even landed a promotion! Now instead of working on the line making parts, we are responsible for the line. 

Now I'm finding with our stress levels going up, I'm falling back on old (and healthy!) coping skills, such as writing. Honestly, I've missed it more than I thought I had. But when I went to write on our blog, A World of Alters, I felt as though we had out grown it. As though it wasn't "home" any more. Then I read the purpose statement of the blog and realized that we have indeed grown out of it! That blog was for understanding our inside world, not the outside. Our struggles were reactions to internal stress and events, not external. The reason I wanted to write did not fit that purpose statement at all. So I created this blog. 

The purpose of We Chose Harmony is to work out our struggles as we work towards our goal, which is all of us working together to live a healthy and awesome life. Or, Harmony, for short. 

I actually wanted to start writing about what is currently going on, but, as it is 3am, I am going to have to wait. As a preview (and as a reminder to myself), what is currently going on: learning to be in a management role, understanding that harmony has to begin now, and why is something feeling not quite right?