I have a headmate named Olive
I—or more accurately—we, are plural. Plurality (also called multiplicity) is when more than one individual consciousness inhabits the same physical body.
These individuals are collectively called a ‘system’. We sometimes go by the collective name of the Nebula System.
In our case, we are specifically a ‘median’ system. This means that the individuals are not entirely separate entities and share many qualities: including memories, interests, and some (but not all) personality traits. We are both asexual and we both have non-human, synthetic identities.
beeps is the regular ‘front’ (the individual who is controlling the physical body), the one you’re probably interacting with 99 percent of the time, and who the majority of this website is about.
The other individual is Olive. Olive uses different pronouns (they/she) and has some different personality traits compared to beeps, being much more emotionally-driven and impulsive, and more prone to fidgeting and stimming. They are non-vocal, and will rarely speak. Olive fronts occassionally, though usually only in private and for a few hours a week, on average.
We operate via an inner dialogue (aka, we literally talk to one another), though this typically only occurs when Olive has a strong opinion on something. Otherwise, beeps is the one usually making decisions. As a median system, we sometimes ‘co-front’ and have both of us share control (roughly) equally.
beeps has previously written a blog post about discovering our plurality.
I’m not entirely sure (though by now, I’m pretty sure) whether plurality is the right state of being for us. However, if I do have a headmate named Olive sharing my noggin, the last thing I want to do is limit their ability to exist.
Plural systems can be the result of medical problems, mental trauma, stress, purposeful creation (‘tulpamancy’), or spontaneous development—suddenly or over an extended period of time.
Olive and I live in harmony and generally complement one another well. Barring occassional indecisiveness, being plural hasn’t affected our ability to effectively function as one physical unit, so as far as we’re concerned there is no problem (medical or otherwise) that needs to be ‘fixed’.
If you’re aware of Olive, it’s nice to acknowledge them occassionally! This can be as simple as saying hello and asking how we’re both doing, instead of just asking beeps.
We do not typically control who is the current front. beeps can (and has) forcibly taken the front from Olive in the past, but doing so can take a few minutes.
We are no experts on plurality, and the concept itself—although not new to us—is not something we’ve really dug into before. For a newbie-friendly guide to plurality, check out More Than One.
- The Plurality Playbook - Originally written by Google employees to help inform coworkers.
- Understanding Multiplicity by Manchester Metropolitan University.
- Rules of Engagement: Plural Etiquette