Alters don’t disappear when we’re away from front, nor do we fade into darkness. Systems have any number of different names for where we go when we’re no longer fronting: “headspace” and “inner world” being most common. We use the former, which I will continue to utilize here.
The headspace is customized by each system. One alter in particular–generally a Protector or Persecutor figure–may spearhead the project, but often it’s a communal effort. The scale and detail of the headspace depend entirely on the individuals who create it. We know systems whose headspaces are vividly detailed: sometimes an apartment, an entire house, a hotel bar, etc. Larger systems tend to have larger headspaces. As far as systems go, ours is on the small side–just the eight of us. On top of that, none of us are particularly interior design savvy; consequently, our headspace has been a work in progress for longer than we’d care to admit. We’ve been meaning to buckle down on that, but hey, who has the time? When we do get around to it, Steve’s promised he’ll draw up a floor plan for us to share here.
As it stands now, we have a one-room setup. There aren’t walls yet per se; the edges of the room go fuzzy and dark, as if simply not illuminated. It’s a vaguely ovular shape, with two red-orange couches–I think they’re fun, but I’m outnumbered–and three swivel chairs bolted into the floor. We have sleeping pods for everyone along one would-be wall; think best-case scenario overnight train travel. Not much room for personal touches–you see more of that when everyone has a room to themselves.
We all hang out together in headspace. Whoever’s fronting can always see it in the back of their mind. I can’t speak for other systems, but for us it feels like the distance between the passengers of a plane and the pilot in the cockpit. Talking to whoever’s out while the rest of us are in headspace is (for lack of a more precise example) not dissimilar to shouting at the captain from Economy seating. Or, say, your friends calling out obscenities in the background while you’re on the phone with your mother. Same effect.
We’ll post more updates as we get our space together. Stay tuned.