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Hey, we’re Strawb System (or just Strawb).

We’re a plural system, and inclusive of all who identify as plural in good faith.

Content warnings for the below:

  • Discussion of origin
  • Medical terminology (including some outdated terms)

What?

If you have no idea what all that means, MoreThanOne.info is a good starting point for information about how this whole thing works, as well as some useful definitions:

Plurality (or multiplicity) is the existence of multiple self-aware entities inside one physical brain.

Lucy likes to think of it as “Lucy” being just one pod running in the Kubernetes cluster that is our brain. Because they’re that kind of a nerd.

In the media you may have encountered many negative stereotypes, often referred to by the outdated term “Multiple Personality Disorder” (or, more recently, “Dissociative identity disorder”). So you may have some misconceptions about this. The MoreThanOne.info should address those, and I’m not going to try to rewrite what’s already been written there.

The Plurality Playbook also has a lot of useful information, some of which applies to us, some of which doesn’t. It was written specifically for Google employees, but has since been published more widely. The “for teammates” section specifically is pretty good.

Also this part is brilliant:

What are some advantages of being plural?

  • load balancing
  • N+2 redundancy

Who Are We?

In our case, if you’ve known us for a while, you may have only knowingly interacted with Lucy. Or you may have interacted with others and not realised it.

Name Pronouns Brief description
Lucy they/them Y’all know me.
I’m the Extra AF queer DevOps gal-adjacent y’all know and love.
Ivie she/her Hi! ^_^

I’ve been around since 2010, but I’ve mostly been hiding away in Headspace until recently.
I have to put up with Lucy’s shenanigans all the time, so I tend to be more reasonable or practical than them.
You may have met me before without even realising it.
Aurora he/him Don’t mess with me. I keep us safe.
Hol they/them Imagine Lucy, only even more ridiculous than usual. If that’s somehow possible.
I don’t front very often. I don’t think the world is ready for that yet. 😉

There are others in our system (there’s 5 or 7 of us in total, at time of writing, and depending on who you count).

But in most contexts you’ll likely never meet the others.

We’ll update this page if that changes.

I Have Questions…

If I tell X something, will Y know about it?

In general, yes!

Some plural systems experience amnesia when switching who is fronting, but in our case, we have a shared memory. As far as we can tell, Ivie can access all of Lucy’s memories and vice versa, though they’re very distinctly “someone else’s memories”.

How should I refer to y’all?

In general, it’s okay to assume you’re talking to Lucy unless you know otherwise.

On Work Slack, for example, we’ve got something set up to list the current fronter in our Slack name. e.g.

Ivie (Lucy Davinhart)

If you’re talking to us in person (or, let’s be honest, on Zoom), you may notice a difference in voice and body language, and over time you may be able to tell who is who from this alone. But don’t worry if you can’t. We’ve also got indicators we can use sometimes.

There is also the added convenience of Lucy’s singular they/them pronouns also working as plural they/them pronouns for most situations. In cases where you need to refer to the system as a whole, rather than individual members, we refer to ourselves as the Strawb System. But practically, we’re fine with most things that get the point across that you’re not just talking about one of us (e.g. Lucy & Ivie, Lucy etc., and similar)

We do not expect everyone to understand this. Realistically, we don’t even expect everyone to believe us and accept that this is really how our brain works. But practically… treat us with respect, as you would anyone else. Use our individual names and pronouns when you know who’s fronting. As long as you do that, and accept polite corrections if you get it wrong, you should be fine.

And if you’re not sure: ask!

What if we’re in a meeting with a third party?

We’re pragmatic.

We know it would be unreasonable to have to explain this to everybody all the time, so for simplicity, if we’re in a meeting with third parties (suppliers, customers, etc.), we’ll go by Lucy for the duration of the meeting, regardless of who is actually fronting.

There are bound to be other contexts where this sort of pragmatism applies, so just follow our lead.

Are y’all going to get this “cured”?

We fully admit this is weird and confusing (even for us).

But honestly? We kinda like it this way.

Embracing this has meant we’re a lot healthier, happier and more productive.

We’re better able to deal with the world, and so far, there’s not really been any downsides.

This is just how our brain works, and has done for a long time (since as early as 2010).

There are medical diagnoses which fit. If you’re interested in specifics, the closest one that describes our experience is OSDD, but who even knows. We don’t really consider ourselves “disordered”, and so we’re not particularly interested in pursuing a diagnosis at the moment.

So no.

We’re not broken, and we don’t need “fixing” or to be “cured”.

How did this happen?

Why do we exist? Again, who knows. Possibly traumagenic (i.e. the result of some sort of trama). Probably mixed origin to be honest (i.e. different reasons for different headmates to exist).

Honestly though? We don’t really care why we exist, just that we do.

I’m still confused

Still got questions?

Yeah, thought so.

That’s fine. 🙂

You know how to contact us if you want to ask us anything.

And feel free to ask questions on this site’s GitHub issues

In time, we’ll likely add more to this page, but who knows.