I feel like I've reached a save point - completed a big story objective - and now it's time once again to look back and take a look at where I've gotten to.
I used to picture my internal chaos with the use of Team Reya. It was an improvement over feeling trapped by conflicting desires. If I could understand what part of me was feeling what, I could at least understand where things were coming from, untangle them from there, and move on. And letting some character inside my head speak a complex emotion put that emotion at a distance from me, letting me empathize with myself when I was otherwise afraid to.
Team Reya was made of five Reyas in different outfits:
Succubus Reya, the manifestation of my body - despite her name, this wasn't just about sexual wishes, but all physical needs. Tiredness, hunger, pain, etc. were her domain as well. She would interrupt the others to demand something and usually get shouted down.
Child Reya, the manifestation of all my creative and playful desires. To play around, to make jokes, to create. She would frequently create messes for others to clean up, and feel horribly ashamed when her goofing around had broken something.
Sorceress Reya, the leader of the group, and the manifestation of my rational mental pursuits and desire for order. She frequently fought with the others, viewing them as irrational and overly emotional.
Nurse Reya, the voice of empathy and caring for others, as well as the voice of desire for companionship. She would try to bar the others from doing anything that might do damage to a friend, even if there was no evidence that it was actually going to.
Reya Heart, the voice of affectionate wishes and wishes for affection. She was most known for being pathetic and lying around crying about being lonely, and basically had no other function that we could tell.
They were opposed by Shadow Reya, the manifestation of my anxiety and self-disgust. She would tear into the others even more than they'd tear into themselves, mocking them for their past mistakes and any injuries they'd sustained.
When I had moments of temporary clarity, I used to say that Team Reya had merged into True Reya: simply me, healthy and whole.
When I uncovered my gender situation, a sixth member joined Team Reya, who it was said had been sealed by Sorceress Reya for the rest of the Team's safety, with Succubus Reya helping for her own safety.
- Lady Reya, the manifestation of my desires for things that are traditionally considered feminine.
With Lady Reya able to speak freely, I got access to the True Reya more and more often. And, I think, recently some of Team Reya has gotten access to their advanced jobs, which has helped even more.
Over the recent times, Sorceress Reya has learned to be accepting and protective of the others, to consult with them before decisions. And more than just seeking comfort in order, she has gained the Soul of Confidence and become Leader Reya. Not only leading the rest of Team Reya, but taking roles of leadership - however small - in friend groups, in work groups, in society. Leading us to greater heights, even when it means going through danger - leading us to keep each other safe.
It was often wondered what purpose Reya Heart served - all it seemed she was capable of doing was dragging the others down into the abyss and drowning them. But in the end, she has gained the Soul of Love and become Loving Reya. And in the end, the one she most lavishes her love on - and is lavished in love in return - is the rest of Team Reya. She is, first and foremost, the spirit of self-directed love - and with an understanding of self-love, self-understanding, self-acceptance, externally received love is accepted and savored, and externally given love is pure and genuine. She keeps us warm even when the nights are cold.
With Loving Reya's tenderness turned on her too, Shadow Reya has willingly stepped into the light. She has been given the Soul of Protection and become Guardian Reya. Her only wish all this time was to keep us safe, to cry out in pain for us, but her tools were weak and conflict and hate were all she knew. She now stands as the voice of warning when we're in danger, and she is now willing to let the others convince her that a risk is worth taking. She no longer indulges in "I told you so"s, instead tending to the wounded and helping the others break down what went wrong and how things could go better blamelessly - sometimes even finding that we took a risk that seemed like it could pay off, and through no fault of our own it didn't, and cheering the others on being willing to go forward even when they got hurt.
As my understanding of myself has furthered, my internal world has matured, and with it, it was time for Child Reya to grow up. Holding the Soul of Creativity, she has become the fine cat lady Artist Reya. She still loves playing around, she still loves making jokes, she still wants more than anything to make up imaginary worlds and characters and immerse herself in them. But these are no longer the embarrassing traits of a childish mind - rather, they are the imaginative joys of a fully grown adult mind who is still happy to indulge her creativity. She is always ready to add some spice to what the others do. She is truly one of us, not an annoying tagalong.
Through my work on my dysphoria and so on, my body and I have become closer and closer, and in the process Succubus Reya has become stronger and stronger. With the Soul of Physicality, she has become the mighty Reya Manifest. She supports and energizes the others, and in turn they are tasked with taking care of her - the mecha suit we all ride is her domain, and the others are more willing to take her needs into account and not talk over her. We listen to her when she is hurting, and when she's comfortable as well.
After everything that happened recently with my friends, with Loving Reya behind her, Nurse Reya has received the Soul of Affection and become simply Friend Reya. (Make your DDLC Game Grumps jokes now.) This change represents a difference in the way I see my personal relationships. Rather than feeling like my role in relationships is to tend to my friends and in so doing earn their love for me - no doubt a role that I learned from being forced to manage my abusive father's emotions, and the emotions of many other abusive people in my life along the way - I see us as equals, cheerleading and being present for each other's lives while independently living our own.
And somewhere over the last two years, Lady Reya has taken her rightful place as the central member of Team Reya. Claiming the Soul of Identity has led her to name herself simply Mari. She is the face of Team Reya, even if her role on it has become fairly minimal, and the others serve and protect her. She is why we do what we do. She is the model we strive to be.
During Inside Out (one of my favorite movies because I deeply enjoy explorations of this sort and I was able to relate hard), the adults' consoles have seats for all five emotions, who work in tandem together. This is in stark contrast to Riley's mind, which only has room for one emotion at a time, with the emotions frequently squabbling over who gets control.
In the same way, Team Reya has gradually become... well, a Team. Working together, supporting and encouraging each other. I feel safe and comfortable letting myself have those feelings and thoughts, knowing that even when there are conflicting wishes deep in there, it's okay - I can maintain both at once and still be true to myself - no, having both be true at once IS the thing that is true to myself.
And so, I think, I've in some ways graduated from needing to consciously acknowledge Team Reya as separate parts. That was a useful abstraction before, but now I've outgrown it. I trust that they are there, I trust that they are working together to do what is best for me. But in the end, the thoughts and feelings are my own, and I have matured enough to be comfortable accepting that they are indeed my own.
I am the True Reya.
I am Mari.
And I'm coming for my dreams, world.