Subscribe to Plural Activism Podcast via your computer or mobile device
Sponsored by: Plural Pride at Cafepress
Jim Bunkelman, Producer, Interviewee
Oure Gaiya^Jazz, Interviewer
Astraea^Bluejay Young, Editor
Jazz: Hi and welcome to Multiplicity 101. This is the official podcast of the Plural Activism Awareness Group. My name is Jazz, a proud member of Oure Gaiya, and I will be your host for today. This podcast’s focus is on Multiplicity, but with a twist – from the viewpoint of what many Multiples refer to as a Singlet or non-Multiple. Our definition of being Multiple is: Many minds that share one body. As always, if you have a specific question or comments you would like to address feel free and send them to us at our Podcast site, Aspenpatch.com. That’s “aspen,” as in the tree, “patch” as in mending dot com. “Aspenpatch” is all one word.
Our guest for today’s broadcast is Jim Bunkelman, who is also our producer. Jim is a free-lance audio and video producer. Jim, could we begin this by you telling us a little about yourself? We really want people to see you’re honest to goodness, real-life breathing person.
Jim: Ok, well I don’t really like to talk about myself much, but I do want the listener to know that I’m just a regular person. I was born and raised in a small town in central California, and I have wonderful parents who are still living in the house that they built themselves when I was born. I have a brother and a sister, and I had a great childhood with lots of friends. I played football, ran track in high school, and was student body president. My family went camping a lot especially at the beach by Santa Barbara. I started surfing when I was a teenager and still surf today.
I have a degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in physics and math. And, I went to graduate school at UC – Berkley and I got my teaching degree in science and math. I taught Junior High School for four years in Ventura, and while I was there, I started making educational films and selling them to school districts while I was teaching. I then moved to Hollywood – started working in film and photography. I worked on TV commercials and now produce motion graphics and shoot and edit video. I have my own company, so that when I am not on a job, I have time to work on projects around my house. I live in Hollywood about two blocks from Hollywood Bowl in a fun house that I’m constantly working on.
Jazz: Oh goodness, that sounds like fun. Math, oh I can’t even tell you [muffled laughter] if you’re a math -- Jim, if you were to say three things that you would like to convey to our listeners, what would it be?
Jim: Oh first of all, it’s real. That’s – that’s just how I really feel.
Jim: And, second of all – it’s not a disorder.
Jim: And, third, I had the richest, most wonderful experience being married to a Multiple.
Jazz: Oh. Typically people become very involved in the movement when they have a personal experience with what the movement is all about. Are you a Multiple Jim?
Jim: No, I’m not a Multiple, but I do believe that everyone has a potential to be a Multiple. And, I myself have a large number of interests. I love many types of music. I like to do a lot of things like rebuild car engines and sewn clothes, and I’ve built additions onto my house, and I’ve created works of art. We all have within us different ways of seeing and appreciating the world around us. The human brain is truly an amazing thing.
Jazz: Oh, indeed it is. Who was a Multiple in your life then?
Jim: My wife of fifteen years was a Multiple. She just died last year from a stroke. Shortly after we fell in love, I found out that she was a Multiple. It didn’t seem strange to me at all. I loved her and I came to love all her insiders as we called everybody in her group. Rhonda’s Multiplicity made my experiences with her so much richer. I mean, I had kids, I had friends, I had partners, I had lovers, I had companions -- we really had such an amazing life. Yeah, it was.
I have become involved in this movement because I had such a great life with her and her insiders. I see that most people are unfamiliar with Multiplicity, and there is prejudice against them by both the public and the medical profession. A lot of people – a lot of times people are just prejudiced against things they are not familiar with.
Jim: I just want to educate people about what my experience has been. There is no reason that a Multiple cannot have a wonderful, happy life like my wife did. We did all kinds of things together. We went to a lot of concerts and we saw everyone from Sarah McLachlan, Van Morrison, Massive Attack, Crystal Method, Depeche Mode, Bob Segar and on, and we saw so many concerts. Every year we went to the Burning Man Art Festival. We created art together, we collected all kinds of things -- we collected all kinds of things. We worked on our garden, we worked on decorating our house, we talked, we laughed a lot together -- we had an amazing outside group of great friends together. I just -- I really got so much love back.
Jazz: Oh, that’s wonderful. I’d like to ask, how do you now Multiplicity is real -- because your wife was?
Jim: You know I don’t know how anyone can say that Multiplicity is not real. I mean first of all, just because a person has not had any experiences with it, doesn’t mean that it does not exist. The human mind is an amazing organ.
Jim: It’s capable of so many things. I spent fifteen years with Rhonda. We were best friends and we spent most of our time together. I can unequivocally say, that there were Multiple people sharing one body. It’s as real as anything I’ve ever experienced. You know, like my training is as a scientist and I’m very logical, and I believe insightful, and there is no way that Rhonda is acting or pretending. I mean, I would – I could recognize who was out without them saying or doing anything. I mean body language, speech patterns, voice, facial expressions, and many other indications. They were unique to each individual and they didn’t vary.
There [muffled laughter.] were even a few occasions where one insider would pretend to be another one because she thought she could get me to say yes to something better than the other one. [laughter.] I could tell who it was, and I could tell if they were pretending to be someone else. That always surprised them when I recognized who it was. You know I have many greeting cards from different members of my Rhonda family, and the signatures are all different, and they are all consistent. You know Multiplicity is as real as anything I know.
Jazz: Ok, I asked what you and Rhonda did together, what about others in her system? Did you have a relationship with any of them? What’s it like living with a Multiple?
Jim: Oh, I had great relationships with all of Rhonda’s insiders. You know each person is an individual, and I treated and experienced them that way. I can almost always tell who was out just by looking at them or hearing them. I had so much fun with all of them. I had a lot of special interests that were unique with each one of them. For example, Sarah was this beautiful little girl who loved having her hair brushed. And, Nicholas and I shared this love of cars together. I called him “Car Guy.” [muffled laughter.] And, when I first met Abigail, she hid in closets and stuttered so badly she couldn’t communicate, but she learned how to speak so we could talk with each other. And, then there was Jimmy, and I occasionally called him, “Chip” because he was the chip off the old block. My name is Jim and he was Jimmy junior.
Jazz: Ohh [smile.]
Jim: He was [muffled laugher.] funny and outgoing. He was always one of the first to talk to people. Ruby was the badass protector of the group. Most of the kids were really afraid of her. But, she had a heart of gold and loved the kids she protected so much. And, Natalie was this little girl who always believed that somehow everything would work out ok. And, we decided that her middle name was Hope. Her favorite expression was “Keep Hope alive!” Melissa and I would try to surprise each other every night by being the first one to say, “Plah!” to the other one just before bedtime. [laughter.] It kind of started, because I would – when I spit out my tooth paste, I would say, “Plah!” So, she would come and surprise me [laughter.] It was so much fun. I could go on and on, but that’s just scratching the surface of all the beautiful relationships I had with each member of my family of Rhonda.
We worked through a lot of emotional or relationship problems, but that’s just like any other couple.
Jazz: Oh, right.
Jim: The important thing is that none of the things we worked through had anything necessarily to do with Rhonda being Multiple. It had to do with the emotional difficulties of each individual and the things that they had gone through. Multiplicity per se was not the problem. The way people deal with it is really the problem.
Jazz: Bingo. In closing Jim, what would you like our listeners to really, really hear you say?
Jim: Well, I think it is that last thing on -- Multiplicity is not a disorder. There is nothing inherently wrong with being Multiple. Some people and even medical professionals will say if you are Multiple, you have a mental illness or disorder. You know, it’s true that Multiples often have emotional problems and it’s true that Singlets often have emotional problems. I - I’ve really found that a lot of the emotional problems are very similar in both Multiples and Singlets. The problem is not, per se with being Multiple. And, I want to make this really clear. There is no inherent problem with being Multiple. The problem comes up when there is a lack of communication among the individuals, or when a member of the group is going through emotional problems. The emotional problem is with the individual within that Multiple group.
Jim: If that individual in the Multiple group or a Singlet – the problem would still be there.
Jim: Therapy for the individual in the group is a solution. That is what any individual needs whether a Singlet or part of a Multiple Group.
Jazz: Indeed. Well thanks again for joining us Jim.
And, thank you our listeners for tuning in. If you would like more information, you can go to the blogcast site given at the beginning of the broadcast. You could also join us on our online activist group at Plural_Activism on Yahoo.com.
Thank you so much.
Subscribe to Plural Activism Podcast via your computer or mobile device