My blog is my fragmented diary of accepting the truth of how the DID came to be.
I said in my introduction that my blog will evolve as I do; and it has.
Each alternate is now speaking in words and pictures.
I often sit in quiet disbelief as a new name appears under “My Alternates.”
There is the illness and there is the reaction of the self and others to the illness.
There is who I am and who I want to be.
I believe that the mark of a person of intellect is the ability to change an opinion when new facts emerge
Exposure to new people brings new information, often in the form of questions.
In this post I am going to answer some of the questions asked of me over the years. Most of them come from Flickr and Second Life members. Please feel free to add your questions in the comments section.
Question: Why is your work so sad?
Answer: I don’t believe that my work is sad. I wish I could live a pain-free life of consumerism while swathed in the cotton candy of certainty. But that isn’t who I am and not how I choose to live my life. Consumers are human cattle. And the certain are numb and dangerous.
Question: Why are you unhappy?
Answer: I’m not unhappy, I’m uncomfortable at times. I am actually quite happy when I am working on a project or learning new skills. I’m proud of what I’ve managed to do with my life. There is no work more important than the work to heal the wounded. Doing it makes me happy.
Question: Do you have a Christ complex?
Answer: Inasmuch as the task of someone who calls himself a Christian is to walk the path of Christ, the answer is yes. Faith without action is selfish. The gift of life includes the gift of a mind. Use it.
Question: Do you think that commenting on people who comment on you is necessary?
Answer: If someone has been kind enough to visit my Flickr stream or my blog I think I should return
the visit as a professional courtesy. If I like what I see I will leave a comment. I don’t comment or ‘like’ work that I don’t like. I also feel a professional obligation to try to keep up with the people I follow. My time online is limited so I tend to visit contacts that have left a recent comment first.
Question: Why are you so flaky?
Answer: I’m not. I have Dissociative Identity Disorder which is not the same as flaky.
Question: Why do you do second life fashion shoots if you don’t want to go pro?
Answer: Sara likes to do Fashion Shoots.
But I honestly don’t understand what it means to be a ‘Pro’ in Second Life. Second Life is a game without rules which means that anything goes. That is not the way I understand professionalism. It’s also not what I consider play.
Question: Why do you have a female Second Life avatar?
Answer: Because I have a female alternate. She is not ‘male’ identified but she knows that the body is male. I am the only male I know of in Second Life who is open about using a female avatar. Most of them aren’t open about it which I consider unfair to men who want to use SL for mutual whatever with a real female. When Sara is in Second Life she is what she thinks she is; just like everyone else. But she is not allowed to interact with other members. None of my alters are allowed to interact with other members.
Question: People say you’re difficult to deal with.
Answer: Your question is a statement and a form of triangulation. I think what you mean is, “I find you difficult to deal with” which begs the question of why?
Question: How many groups do you moderate on Flickr?
Answer: Over 100.
Question: Why do you moderate so many groups?
Answer: They’ve helped me to learn about visual art. I also enjoy inviting the work I like into groups where other people can see it.
Question: Are you elitist?
Answer: If by elitist, you mean do I have a sense of discrimination, the answer is yes. A group devoted to abstract art is no place for nature shots. A group about Black and White film photography is not the place for fractals. If a group named ART TATE states in its description that it is for work ‘such as one might find in the Tate’ then that’s what the group should get; yet I notice that some Flickr members shoot their photos into every group regardless of the theme and then take offense when I remove it. Removing unwanted work from these groups is not elitism. It is respect for the group.
Question: Why do you discriminate against Second Life images?
Answer: I don’t. None of the groups I moderate are for Second Life images, though I do let in Second Life images that are interesting and creative. “Juried Exhibition” is not designed for virtual advertising. There are hundreds of Flickr groups for this kind of image.
I remove Second Life advertising and erotica from almost all the groups I moderate.
It seems obvious to me that people who don’t play in SL have no interest in the latest script that makes an avatar’s breasts bounce or the latest variation on the theme of a hyper sexual avatar standing in front of something.
I don’t post my own Second Life pictures to most of the groups I moderate; I see no reason to let you post yours.
Question: Isn’t that an abuse of power?
Answer: I can’t think of a single Second Life group that accepts real life photography. So no, it isn’t. It’s called boundaries.
Question: Don’t you blog this DID stuff just to get attention.
I want to bring attention to my experience as an adult survivor of sexual exploitation. This is not a subject that people want to discuss. I want to bring attention to my frustration with the ignorance that makes it so difficult to get treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder. I want to bring attention to people who spend their lives in silent shame because they can’t find a psychiatrist who will believe their pain. I want to bring attention to the thousands of people who will die from treatable illnesses in the next decade.
Question: Don’t you care about what other members of Second Life and Flickr think?
Answer: I have very close friends in life. They don’t judge me. They think good things about me. I also have a friend in life who is a pathological narcissist. She tries to manipulate me into doing things I don’t want to do. She judges me because I call her out on it. People who think that they can bully me find me difficult and combative.
In Second Life I have had more difficulty because the dissociative process is different. I learned about my DID via an exploitative replication of the events of my childhood in Second Life.
When I first joined Second Life I sought collaboration and behaved the way I do in life.
In life I am generous.
I learned that generosity is seen as a sign of weakness in Second Life and I was treated like a tool by the members I knew. Clearly the burden of knowing where I am and who I am with is on me. When I realized where I was I tempered my presumption of good will with cynicism. The people I respect on Flickr treat me with respect. I can think of only two members of Flickr who are not members of Second Life who have treated me with disrespect. And they don’t matter to me.
So yes, I do care what people think, but I can’t think of a group of people less morally and ethically qualified to judge me than the members of Second Life.
Robert Goldstein 2015