Two heads are better than one

  • Posted on September 23, 2012 at 8:37 am

I should be writing poetry. OK, I shall – but right now all I have is a box full of nice groups of words and an idea to hang onto. Anyhow, it was all running through my head after I woke up far too early as always, and I thought if I kept running it over and over (a) I would remember it without writing it down and (b) I might fall asleep again! So I shall start with the narrative instead, in my usual thinking-in-pictures way. It works for me, but I know my parables and analogies don’t work for everyone.

My last blog ‘The Column’ stayed with me, because I have been asking myself what were my illusory supports for life-as-I-thought-it-was? Did I think I needed to be a man, or just to be strong? Or was I over-dependent on a life partnership that wasn’t keeping my own dome of light in place at all? I was also thinking of my wife, and how her column is her own sexuality, that I have undermined in being transsexual, but it would be presumptuous of me to say that for her, our life partnership was not supported entirely by heterosexuality. I don’t write about her, or to her, really here at all. I am an observer of my own journey, and she is a player. My over-riding emotion throughout has been sheer frustration and profound sadness, that though I am still me, always have been, and can be nothing else, I am no longer lovable for simply being me. It isn’t resentment or bitterness, but I am going through a final anger as I pack a bit more each day to leave next week, knowing I can no longer bear the pain of rejection at every coming and going, at every rising and going to bed. And as a result simply of how I was born, that I am losing so much. I have gained my soul and lost the world in some ways, but in truth my only real loss is my family and my home. No-one else has moved away from me in the same way, and well, the rest is just ‘stuff’ isn’t it?


I was born with two heads.

At some point before I was born, there was a ‘foetal error’, and no-one was there to see the alert box come up to ask if the failure should be reported. I got the dreaded blue screen, but no restart. (You will understand that if you remember Windows 95 and before!)

Somewhere in the tangle of DNA – and everyone knows what can happen if you don’t keep things tidy – something didn’t go according to plan. And so I was born with two heads. A kick of maternal hormones in the wrong moment, a gene that didn’t express itself at the right time, who knows. But there I was, seen for the first time, and everyone said: ‘It’s a boy!’.

No doubt about it. The baby had a willy, so I was a boy. But I had two heads, and everyone was so busy looking downstairs, nobody noticed. And from that point on, everyone spoke to the boy head, taught it, played with it, heard it speak, and never really noticed the girl head.

As I grew up, things in the boy head switched on the whole testosterone-building process. And so it was that my maiden head was hidden under my man hood.

The outside head learned all sorts of useful things, and will always remember how to wire a house, fix a machine, roof a shed. But all the while the inner head was looking through the same eyes, hearing with the same ears, and being forbidden to speak. She would think: I like that! He would say: it’s too pretty. She would think: I love in this way. He would love in that way too, because somehow he knew it was how it should be done. She, on the inside, made him on the outside, a gentle, kind, empathic man. She would understand other people in a way he never could. And she would stand in longing, in places men don’t go. Unless they have two heads, and can’t help themselves.

And so I spent 56 years with two heads, arguing at times, in constant dialogue, in which the outer head was made more loving, more caring, more sensitive, but hobbled as a man in a man’s world. And in which the inner head was screaming, as only a woman can, to be heard, and most of all to be seen. Why should the male head be on the outside and the woman be hidden?

I still have two heads. I think I always shall. It’s just that my male head never had the right to predominate and lead. I am the woman who can wire a house and fix a machine or a roof, but most of all, who has had to live as a man among men, observing and learning how they work and relate, always knowing I was not one of them. In my work now, I think it actually helps. I understand machines, and I understand how men work together. And thank goodness I play a different game now that I am an observer. I can be colourful and pretty, my emotions and my personality match my presentation, and increasingly my body is coming into line with my head. My female head. The head that should never have been wrapped up inside another.

I may well go onto to SRS (that’s another foetal inversion to address), but I can’t cut a head off. There are ways I have learned, memories from most of a lifetime, that will always be there, and which are very useful. I have a dual perspective, which is a privilege few have. Maybe two heads are better than one. But the stolen rights have been given back, and the only head anyone will see now, though too old to be pretty, is at least in her rightful place.

Some people will always see me now as a two-headed monster, suffering a deformity or a disability. Some people will say ‘You can’t do that and still expect to be loved the same way!’ Some people will say that they could never love someone with two heads at all, at least not intimately. And the gaggle of kids across the street will always remember the woman that used to be a man and had to move away. It must be really confusing for them, but I hope one day it helps them accept someone they meet who, for no fault of their own, was born with two heads and simply needs love. And I hope they will discover that to love a transsexual person does not undermine their own sense of self.

With the greatest reluctance, I am just moving out of a partnership in which I had thought two heads were better than one. I still long for a partnership where love can be exchanged and life shared, and where complimentarities simply make life richer. I don’t know whether I shall ever find it, but at least I understand myself a whole lot better now as I head off into a new, single, life.


Footnote: I think in pictures, and intend no comparison or disrespect for conjoined twins, nor for people with dissociative (multiple) personality disorders. I am a single person, not dual, not split, and I have a single personality. My two heads are just a verbal image of gender identity, one inside another, in the same way that we speak of everyone’s male and female sides.


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