29. May 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: Post

We owe you and overdue explanation of our switching between “I” and “we” when writing. We’re not actually sure what’s going on here, though we have some ideas.

“I” or “we” while writing (as well as “my”, “our” and similar indications of our singlet or plural nature) is something that happens automatically. In the interest of clarify, we are sometimes tempted to go back an edit an entire post to use “I” or “we” consistently. But for some reason, attempts to do so are often met with considerable discomfort and internal resistance. We almost couldn’t do it if we tried, and when we manage it we often feel compelled to change it back. So there is, perhaps, important information contained in this distinction.

We were recently exploring some of our adult identities which have, over the last year, slowly integrated to be fluid rather than discrete and overtly switching back and forth. In our exploration, we separated one of the identities from the remaining fusion. We did not notice it at the time, but one of the parts used “I” consistently and the other part used “we” consistently. It is perhaps a coincidence or merely the result of our delusional imaginings, or it may actually be an accurate representation of the state of our identities at the time.

Furthermore, in this adult identity fusion (now back together), we have fluidity between our previously separated identities. It seems that when our identity shifts very clearly to a single identity, we tend towards “I” strongly rather than “we”.

Finally, individually distinct parts tend to use “I” or “we” differently, but in ways consistent for them.

We’ve had enough experience with our use of “I” or “we” to know we can’t, or shouldn’t, force ourselves to do things differently. There’s information about us here that we don’t want to leave out. I recognize this may be confusing to read (especially if you’re not used to chatting with plural folks), though we do our best to clarify when “we” includes those outside our system.

I am interested in learning about how other plural systems experience their use of “I” and “we”. Is it seemingly outside of conscious control, and difficult to change, as it is with us? Or is it conscious and deliberate? Does “I” always refer to the single fronter part, and “we” the collective? Or is it more nuanced and complex? Leave a comment if you like :).

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