LB Lee (they/them, plural) draws comics
March 30, 2019 6:01 AM   Subscribe

Wow. Thank you
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:44 AM on March 30

I've been recently thinking a lot about "why comics" and I love Rogan's explanation of why, of all media, this was best for them to tell this particular story
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:54 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]

This is a great piece and I'm really excited to check out their comics. I tend to agree that comics are the best medium for intense personal explorations like this, though I'm certainly biased as it's also my primary medium. I think like a lot of mental health conditions people are unnecessarily freaked out about DID, like - every time I've encountered it, it's a situation similar to LB's in that it's the result of severe early childhood sexual abuse, and whatever the person - the system - is going through is much harder on them than on anyone around them, puts them in much more danger than they could ever put anyone else in.

(Also having gone viral once myself, it made me approximately $0 and got a lot of shitty mansplainers, but I don't have disability benefits to worry about and there's a weird stress to it like I made this thing and normally I have ten readers and OMG everyone on the internet is staring at me I need to hide now.)

Anyway - thank you so much for this post, I live for this kind of personal comics and this looks really interesting!
posted by bile and syntax at 8:04 AM on March 30 [16 favorites]

so many feelings and I need like, to be one on one with people to talk about my reaction to this. Typing what I'm thinking and feeling into a comment box on metafilter can't even begin to cover it.
posted by nikaspark at 8:57 AM on March 30 [6 favorites]

This sounds awesome. Oddly, reading about it is kinda unpleasant and cringey. It sounds pretentious and overwrought, but that single bit of introduction page shows the power of comics to make any weird idea immediately understandable and endearing (or at least relatable). I'm super excited to read this.
posted by es_de_bah at 9:01 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting. I had read MPD For You and Me a few years back (maybe on LJ? I can't remember) and I'm looking forward to catching up on their work since then.
posted by marfa, texas at 9:18 AM on March 30

Thanks for this. I've been realizing lately that my dissociative PTSD is probably closer to Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (that is, not DID, but much closer to it than PTSD), with all the...usual root cause reasons. I started reading part one of All In The Family and have experienced so many of those same realizations they describe (did that happen? oh, that happened....fuck). My experience is not quite the same - all my personality fragments are still recognizably me, but at different ages and with different emotional contexts - but LB Lee's description of their experience is still amazingly validating, in ways I didn't realize I was missing.
posted by zenzicube at 9:51 AM on March 30 [9 favorites]

I read the classic Sybil as a teenager. Thank you for this OP
posted by infini at 11:41 AM on March 30

Gonna link to My old post about a podcast episode interviewing a system of personalities. I've only skimmed this interview so far, but there are some clear similarities between the two.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:13 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]

Incidentally, LB Lee's home page (shared with the Zyfron system) and blog seem like rabbit holes of fascinating content. Going to have to put my phone away because otherwise this is going to be all of today and tomorrow...
posted by Going To Maine at 12:43 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]

This is cool. Thanks. I have DID and it's great to see more people speaking out. I've read 5 mystery books this year where the twist is people like me are murderers. Sigh. I never talk about due to everyone thinking of Sybil or that i'm lying or going to stab them due to the stigma of it. Feel free to ask me anything if you have questions how it manifests in this one person (but actually 4).
posted by kanata at 1:05 PM on March 30 [25 favorites]

So many multiple systems, in my recollection and experience, seem to have been created in response to horrifying trauma. I wonder if there are any which have been created voluntarily who have perhaps written about it or discussed it. I also wonder how some meditation techniques may intersect with some of the techniques for passing/gaining control that system members use. There was a book called Mind Games by Masters & Houston which touched on a lot of consciousness-changing techniques. (I have close contact with someone who has DID but it's not my place to disclose more than that.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:19 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]

Meditation is what caused all my other people to come out and was scary as hell when it happened. Which is ironic as it is what therapists say will help and each time it has been introduced to us we've ended up in the hospital.
posted by kanata at 1:35 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]

I don't get the implications of the shorts story...

seanmpuckett: I actually had a conversation with a friend a while ago about voluntary DID (this friend has DID but of the involuntary sort). He likened it to tulpas (created thoughtforms) and when I talked about artists having alteregos he said that's voluntary DID. I felt weird about that - we don't disassociate in our alterego and it's not really a disorder so I don't know if that counts? It felt like medicalising a pretty normal process.
posted by divabat at 1:37 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]

My apologies kanata if my mention of Sybil was inappropriate or more likely, a cliched attempt to connect to the concept out of ignorance.
posted by infini at 1:57 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]

No worries infini. I took it as you intended. I just loathe that book for reason stated in the article.

I've never heard of anyone voluntarily having DID unless it is around various online forums where some people seem to want it to be unique. I always think that's humourous as DID has shattered my life and I spent 10 years being treated for other things before a therapist diagnosed it. One of the most upsetting symptoms for me is not even believing it myself. I related so much to their feelings of not knowing if you are real. Every day I struggle with that and through reading I see that it is a common symptom and that helps a lot. One of my big problems is my parts feeling that unrealness as invisibility which triggers panic. I suppose like an abused child who has to hide everything but really wants someone to find them and help. To the point that I hear in my head "no one wants to help us" over and over and over again.
posted by kanata at 2:21 PM on March 30 [12 favorites]

don't get the implications of the shorts story...

Neither do I. Can someone explain?
posted by meese at 3:58 PM on March 30

All I can come up with is that Lois had had a young person at her place, sexually abused them, and ended up with the victim's shorts?
posted by Windopaene at 4:24 PM on March 30

"so many feelings and I need like, to be one on one with people to talk about my reaction to this."

One of my dreams for my theoretical infinite existence in a completely unregulated place is to read a detailed autobiography of every person who has ever lived.
posted by Evilspork at 4:27 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]

For me the shorts story resolves well if they were given to the dead (original) person by an abuser and used in very unpleasant ways, and the system later finds the shorts in their belongings but doesn't remember how they came to own them, but then, because of the nature of the shorts and the nature of the abuse, makes a shrewd guess. So the shorts would be a reminder of a horrible time, except that those memories are lost.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:58 PM on March 30

This is an awesome find, thank you. I’m/we’re multiple too, and the Alter Boys in Love thing cracked me up. Can’t wait to read their work more fully.

For the shorts I might be projecting but for us...the amount of abuse we dealt with required at best criminal obliviousness on the part of adults who were supposed to protect us. To me the page reads like this - whatever happened to cause the soiled shorts was common enough that Lois had a supply of clothes around, or alternatively, it shows that there were other, shorts-wearing kids leaving clothes behind at that house. Which might raise the question of why so many kids visiting, and soiling shorts. Also, if the stuff on the shorts is non-menstrual blood, well.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:11 PM on March 30 [10 favorites]

Incidentally, LB Lee has an etsy shop with physical copies of their works. They might be all sold out by now, of course.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:43 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]

don't get the implications of the shorts story...

I think the implication is that they were skimpy short shorts specifically purchased for the victim.
posted by zamboni at 7:44 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]

L.B.'s comic "MPD For You And Me" can be read in full for free here.
posted by Lizard at 8:28 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]

The amount of work the author put into writing this respectfully despite his prior lack of knowledge and skepticism shows, makes it a very well-written piece, and is very nice to see.
posted by gaybobbie at 12:19 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]

I came back to check on the conversation because I was worried my comment was kinda ableist. I think it kinda was, and I apologize. I think what I should have said (and do mean) is that comics is excellent at exploring personal narratives that can be really difficult to do justice in other mediums. Work about DID does necessarily deal in stuff that's difficult to relate. The same grab-bag of shorthands that helps comics express complicated and/or pretentious narrative ideas also makes it great for relating singular messages.
posted by es_de_bah at 4:24 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]

At Philly Trans Health this past August, I went to a talk by The Redwoods, a system of 8 people in one body (as they describe themselves). It was really informative and gave me a better understanding of how at least that one system lives and operates in a world that is, to say the least, deeply unkind to neurodiverse people. I really appreciate LB Lee's comics offering further explanation and another perspective (other perspectives?).
posted by carrioncomfort at 10:02 AM on April 2

A sort of follow up: got my copy of All In The Family; the books are pretty good but have some very harrowing depictions of sexual abuse (albeit abstractly) and a toxic family relationship. The entire thing feels a bit like a diary webcomic otherwise - a soft visual style, puffed out with little slices of system life. There’s a weird Inside Out-meets-Friends vibe to the content that feels very pleasant to me (when it isn’t, uh, traumatic): cracks of sunlight breaking through gloom. The whole thing feels weirdly ripe for television adaptation or broader serialization. I know that LB doesn’t want to go viral, but I do hope that they can blow up in a more traditional way. On the con side (perhaps?), you definitely feel tossed into the middle of things, and the ending is a little bit oblique, a little bit of a dribble away rather than a clean tying up. That’s life too, I suppose, but I’d like a memoir to resolve a problem.

Anyhoo, definitely a good read, if you were interested enough to read this article it’s probably worth your time. Just remember - dark.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:41 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]

A follow-up to the follow-up: read through The Homeless Year and Alter Boys In Love and have to say that, as a singlet, all of these works dance around the edge of what I want - which is a graphic explainer of being multiple. Obviously it’s no one’s job to provide this, but that’s what I want, and what I hope LB Lee’s eventual opus ends up being. Like, having read all of these books I’m still not really clear who has access to the vessel’s senses at what time, or what else the different folks within the vessel sense with. (There’s a point in Alter Boys where he briefly mentions not being able to see as well inside, and I wanted to scream for more information, especially given that there’s so much visual data in the comics.) Similarly, Rogan talks about other system members as leaving to go to other places, but it’s ambiguous if these places are considered part of the subconscious or… what, exactly.

My impression at this point is that to be multiple is to know the subconscious as an ocean of strange beings, all developed to different degrees, each doing their own thing and sometimes making themselves known and all coupled to the vessel to different degrees and in ways that seem bound by rules that are rather arbitrarily defined. Is that right? I dunno, but I’d love for a comic to explain.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:07 PM on April 14

Anyhoo: Alter Boys is a li’l bit softcore at times (heads up) but definitely pushes in more discussions of what it is to be a system that are pretty dang interesting, if you’re interested in more about that.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:09 PM on April 14

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