Kerry Dawkins, 2017

Members of plural systems can come from a dizzying variety of backgrounds: they can be superheroes, housemaids, demigods, researchers, accountants, cats, small children or wizards, amongst other things. Even with those backgrounds, however, it’s still important to ensure that you’re looking after yourselves in the outworld. I’m not saying that you aren’t who you are, but that it’s important to ensure that the system as a whole are doing what’s best for their health and safety. Think of managing these responsibilities as a form of selves-preservation for your system. It’s important to ensure that you& are safe and fed and connected to resources.

Some people in plural systems, however, think that their in-world identity makes them too important to do such mundane things as paying the bills, going to work, doing homework, voting or taking public transport. They may also think that their work in the outworld should be, or must be, identical to what they do or did in the otherworld. They seem to be focussed on their glory days, so to speak, instead of making new lives at front or actually transferring their skills and interests to their outworld work or hobbies.

Thor still has to pay the bills. Lord Voldemort still has to hand in his time sheet. Batman still has to sweep the floor. The Snow Queen still has to finish that work project. Even if your system population consists entirely of demigods and superheroes, that doesn’t absolve them from taking on adult responsibilities while they’re fronting to avoid nasty and all too tangible consequences like starvation, homelessness, poverty, unemployment or broken relationships. You don’t have to identify entirely with the front-body to care about your system’s overall comfort, welfare and health. You just have to recognise that fronting comes with responsibilities that everyone must fulfil or get help fulfilling if they’re to participate in the system’s everyday life. Your responsibilities may vary depending on your stage of life and your abilities; for some people, it may be going into work, whilst for others it may mean managing life on a fixed income like a pension or disability benefit. Regardless of your given situation, however, you’re still going to have some outworld duties.

That’s not to say that there’s no benefit in staying connected to the otherworld or individual identities. I don’t benefit from subsuming myself entirely into the Front Persona or acting as though my background, culture and everything that makes me, well, me don’t matter. They do matter very deeply to me. The same goes for the rest of us who are connected strongly to our own backgrounds, cultures and pasts.

At the same time, though, we recognise that we have responsibilities in our outworld life. Those of us who have grander lives in the otherworld can’t fold our arms and refuse to pay the bills or get our work done because we’re just too good for it. Most of us come from different countries to the front’s current place of residence and ‘passport country’ (we’ve lived in more than one!), but that doesn’t mean we ignore civic responsibilities like voting and getting information on candidates. There are people here whose background varies wildly from the front’s, either for the better or for the worse, and they don’t baulk at taking care of earthly responsibilities because they understand the consequences if we don’t. We’d rather have a roof over our head and food in our belly and clothes on our back.

Fortunately there are ways that you& can stay connected to your individual selves and backgrounds without shutting out the outworld. Here are some that work for us. Some of us have hobbies, skills and interests connected to our individual backgrounds that may be useful or interesting in the outworld. For example, lawyers, politicians and rulers who join a system can read about law and policy or study it formally, doctors can learn about public health, and scientists can at the very least read books about their discipline written for curious laypeople. Other people here read about what’s going on in our countries of origin if they exist here. You can also translate a general aptitude, like creativity or intellectual curiosity, into work and hobbies that you pursue in the outworld.

There’s no reason to abandon entirely who you are if you don’t want to, but please keep practical considerations in mind.