_I think this is going to be a long one because I'm going to address a couple of things that will on the surface seem completely unrelated which means I'm jumping into everything is everything thinking . I've never tried to put this thinking in writing before, so bear with me.
So our topics today are:
"How much personal stuff should a writer share?"
"Do you ever feel like two people?"
Since this is everything is everything, none of these things are unrelated. It doesn't matter which one I talk about first because it's connect deeply with the other two. But I have to start somewhere, so let's start with "Do you ever feel like two people?"
If we were in classroom with a professor at the white board with his little black dry erase marker poised for work, I'd be the first to raise my hand.
"All the time!" I'd shout.
I'm not sure to what extent others have experiences this sensation, but for me it goes back to my earliest memories. I'm going to say now that I was divided in two by my name and nickname. Later I'm going to suggest that maybe I was born into duality, that we all are. But for now, let's say my names divided me in two. I was one part the nickname my family called me and I was one part my full name.
And my first grade teacher, tired of me writing one one and then the other on my papers, said "You must choose who you are."
I said, "But why?"
She shook her head. To her the issue was simple. It made grading papers easier. For me it was a huge philosophical question, with my identity, my idea of self lying at its core. I was two people, a situation acerbated by home life. See my about page as I added a lot of personal stuff to my bio. This leads us to, "How much personal stuff should a writer share?"
I don't know.
I've chosen to share a bit more, which, and because I several distinct personalities— I don't actually have DID. When you don't have DID but have dived personality traits, you're called moody. Nobody has ever called me moody, but it's a good word. Anyway, I am simultaneously shy and outgoing, quite and loud, calm and bundle of energy. This brings us back to "Do you ever feel like two people?"
"All the time," I answer. "And what's more research into brain injuries suggest that we might all be two people."
In the early 18th century hypnotists reported seeing evidence of second personality while their patients were under. Some doctors dismissed the notion. Others said the patients had multiple personalities. But again, we're not talking DID manifestations here. Just incongruity or duality. If we fast forward to modern times, there's evidence to support that the left and right brain are in fact distinct personalities.
Patients whose corpus callosum was severed either due injury or brain surgery. The corpus callosum is a band of brain tissue connecting both hemispheres of the brain. Each hemisphere has separate duties. In general terms, the "right brain" is artistic and the "left brain" is analytical. Speech tends to be orientated on the analytical side and vision on the artistic side. Now, I'm over simplifying a very complex system. What you need to take away from this is that corpus callosum allows for communication between the two hemispheres. When this is severed, scientists have seen some interesting things. Remember the hand from Adam's family. Well, some people with a severed corpus callosum experience "wondering hands." This can be anything from groping to punching someone.
There was also a simple experiment where patients were asked their ideal job was, first verbally, and then in shown the question in writing as well as a set of pictures to choose from. The patient might say banker, but choose a picture of a racecar driver. In fact, when asked what they wanted to be the verbal response was most often an analytical job while the visual response was often artistic.
I suspect that this is intuitively recognized in language. See: "Me, myself, and I" and whenever we refer to ourselves in the the plural.
And we're back to "How much personal stuff is too much?" and "Do you ever feel like two people." There's an old saying:
"I'm of two minds on this."
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).