In the village where I live on the North York Moors there is a starling that calls like a curlew. It’s often had me looking up searching the sky for a curlew’s gliding flight and thinking that it’s odd a curlew should be over the village when they are normally found on the high moor. Then I see the starling perched on a television aerial and give a wry smile for being caught out again.
The Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa wrote in the voices of 75 different poets, which he called heteronyms. He used three of them regularly and wrote a detailed description of their different characters, personalities and abilities. One “sees things with the eyes only, not with the mind”, another would “See life from a distance. Never question it.”, and the third would “feel everything in every way”.
A writer friend suffered when they were a child. As an adult they often retreat into different personalities. They are an exceptional linguist, and each personality has their own nationality – Elvira from El Salvador, Reva from Russia, Dagmara from Bulgaria. Each language carries its own culture and perspective.
Whilst not as dramatic as mimicry of another bird, poetic heteronyms, or different nationalities, I have my own multiple personalities. Recently I had to take two weeks off work because of stress and anxiety. Going into work would have been ridiculous as I wouldn’t have been able to function and would have probably made a fool of myself by having a melt-down.
Only my direct line managers knew the reason for me being off work and everyone else just assumed I had the dreaded lurgy. Despite my sick leave being medically approved, nonetheless I felt guilty and did as much as I could working from home by putting on my ‘brave face in adversity’ personality, which sometimes even morphed into ‘competent professional’ whilst all the time on the inside feeling ‘frightened rabbit’.
Even when not caught in the grip of anxiety I’m flitting between personas depending on who I’m with or talking to on the telephone. Perhaps it’s a ‘thing’, that if I could find the ‘true me’ then all problems would be solved. Or perhaps we all have multiple personalities in some form or other.
Rowan On The Moor
A Moodscope member.