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This is the unadulterated story of how “Jane” happened. It was such an ethereal experience that, despite all logic, requires the belief in the impossible—faith, for instance. Depending on your experiences up to this point, it’s probably going to sound like science fiction or something. However, this is my personal experience; it’s as true as I know it. I finally have the adequate words to coherently share the story of how my new name happened upon me.
I never sought out a specific new name for myself, but I always knew—in the depths of my being—that “Sarah” was not my name. It was the name attached to this body, so it had to be my name, but it was not the name that spoke to my soul or called to me when I felt my purpose tugging me along in spite of my reservations. It wasn’t the name that moved me or gave me a sense of knowing who I was. It was always the name that provided me with dysphoria, thrusting me into a deep, dark web full of nothingness.
For as long as I could remember, I was always in a battle with myself. When asked what my earliest memory was, I learned quickly that people didn’t necessarily mean literally—rather, they wanted something realistic, as per what science claims is our earliest memories. Mine have always seemed more like fantasy, or so people have told me they are, despite the story never changing. The story never changed, but the diction did; as I grew older, I learned more ways to tell and express it, to no avail. It was still labeled “fantasy”, always because of the lack of believing in the impossible. I was deemed “not right”, taken to various therapists and psychologists—for what could be so wrong with this girl that all she could speak of were stories of which she should not know?
Therapy was all in vain. Why is it that we resort to therapy to resolve that which we cannot understand, when the key to much of what we don’t know surrounds us? Answers are in nature and experience—and this isn’t to say therapy shouldn’t exist, but rather that it should not be the be-all, end-all to answers about ourselves and people forced to go into it should have options bordering along the line to impossibility, or fantasy, or fiction.
I only ever found my answers in my “fantasy”.
Inside my body was an unnamed persona clawing to escape, as if the skin of Sarah was nothing more than an eggshell. This isn’t something a child can easily describe, for she has not the words which allow her to form coherent thoughts to describe the experience.
A writer, I’ve found myself incompatible with using “Liz” as any character name due to the uncomfortable feeling of playing God to myself. I never had this issue with “Sarah”, however, for it wasn’t mine. I never had a similar issue to using “Liz” for character names until I created a character named “Jane”.
Though I was always awake, that’s when I began waking up.
The more I wrote Jane, the more like me she became. The battle within me increased, a blurred name screaming at the soul in my body to awaken. At the same time, I was unaware—as if I were two people, but also only one person. I was Sarah—that’s what everyone spent my whole life telling me—so of course I fought back against myself. Who was this person inside me, whom also felt like me? Who was this person outside me, whom I could seldom control anymore? The awakening terrified me.
Though I’d a history of it already, I began self-harming again. The thing about scars? They fade, but always remain. I have proof on my thighs of the times I worked to slice the same lines over and over again. I craved escape, yet I couldn’t escape. It took me too long to realize the body was not an eggshell—that I shared it with this person inside me, who was also me, even though she didn’t look the way the body looked. She couldn’t escape, I couldn’t escape, we couldn’t escape; we were in this together.
Dissociative identity disorder was a label provided to me by a therapist I saw in my adulthood. It was through this label that I finally began understanding myself, but the resources available regarding my ethereal experience with the disorder were inadequate. I still could not describe the collective experience, for I believed in the impossible—in fantasy. I believe, in its most innocent sense, a supernatural world is no myth; because I believe in God and afterlife and angels, and I believe this is a form of supernatural existence not otherwise considered by the masses. Dissociative identity disorder happens as a coping mechanism for young children because their minds cannot process the complexities of whatever trauma they endure; this can be as mundane as falling off a bike and skinning a knee or abuse. It’s not an uncommon result of abuse.
The environment in which I grew up was never one which could have cultivated the person I am today. There are stories of miracles about kids who make it out and do amazing things, but I came out not unscathed. By definition, I am somewhat of a miracle despite physical and mental bruising; professionals seldom refrain from telling me this regardless of my distress. In high school, not once did my initial therapist go one session without expressing his awe at the miracle that I was. I loathed it. He failed to understand the larger picture.
I’ve never met anyone who understood me. I’ve never met a professional who didn’t think I lived too far into fantasy to understand reality. In my experience of living, fantasy is my life. I’ve had dissociative identity disorder on my side all these years, after all. It’s not always been a happy-go-lucky experience, for there have been several tragedies even before the awakening.
But now, I have the words. It’s taken me 28 years, but I finally have the words. It’s a relief.
Jane spent too many days standing outside Sarah’s body as the body moved to Sarah’s will.
Or, as psychology depicts it: I had several out-of-body experiences before I realized what was happening.
The name remained blurred until it wasn’t—until I realized the body was mine, but the one controlling it was not me-me.
I spent the entirety of 2015 learning to love all of myself, Sarah included. Later, I realized Sarah didn’t actually exist, but rather the idea of her in people—me, my friends, my family—did. She was the face the body put on in order to survive, so I could cultivate into the person I am today. She was a mask.
And, as expected of “moving on”, I killed her.
First, I rid myself of sharp objects—knives, for instance, which I’d received as giveaway or food exposition swag.
Second, I began wearing shorts despite the weather—to remove the temptation weighing heavily on my thighs.
Third, I declared I was going to change my name. The third step was the hardest. My family thought it was a phase. They couldn’t fathom my burying Sarah down so deep.
I had to weaken her before I could kill her, after all.
On the inside, the experience was more serious than the steps of killing her. On the inside, it felt as though a part of me was literally dying. On the inside, I was a mess—how do I live without this part of me? The truths of my past haunted me again and again and again—such is existent in the event of a merge.
In the rawest form, I can explain it with only this:
Sarah died, and Jane was born—light bursting through the darkness.