Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Perfectly Aligned

One of the most effective literary devices is the employment of twins. Doubles. Twelfth Night. I Know This Much Is True.  If you read any of my writing, you'll find an overwhelming presence of doubles, sidekicks and twins. I've always been drawn towards twins. A match to yourself. A set of aligned humans. My mom was a twin. I'm sort of genetically in line to have them myself. And, for a very formative time during my childhood, I had a kind of twin myself. 

This confuses people. Technically, my parents had no other biological children with any of their many previous or subsequent partners. But both of them accumulated some step children along the way. Sometimes these people wanted me, sometimes these people did not. I've got stories for days about these people who were and then suddenly were not my family. But there is only one that ever took a punch for me. That I had a kind of strange psychic connection to-- probably because I don't really remember any part of my life before he had come into it. 

From the time I was about four until ten, I was raised alongside a brother who I can pretty much only describe as my step-twin. My mom was sort of insistent about raising us that way. She was always trying a little too hard with it. Probably because of the contentious way she and Dax's dad had gotten together. That's his name: Dax. 

She made us do everything together. Sometimes we resented it, but mostly, it was okay because we had started out as neighbors and friends anyhow. We were born only about a month apart, looked alike, and while our personalities were sort of yin and yang, we'd lock ourselves in tiny spaces and cackle with laughter for hours. We ran wild together. We terrorized the many many neighborhoods we occupied all over Northern California. We hid from my mom together. We used to ride in the trunk of my mom's car... I think by choice. WHAT?

Sometimes, you guys, when I recount, even to myself, the reality of the details of my childhood, I myself do not even believe it. I do not know how I made it out. I do not know what kind of planet I lived on then. Except that for most of the worst of it, (and the best, too) there was this boy who fought with me and for me and hugged me and stuck up for me and intentionally took my mom's focus and anger away from me and onto himself. For many years, he both literally and figuratively stepped in front of flying fists aimed at me. And when the soft part of the back of my head got slammed into the corner of the coffee table, he was there too, trying to help me. There is no way for me to repay him for this. 

He got out sooner than I did. And when he was gone, suddenly, I had the courage to leave too. 

The family I always talk about seeking-- it starts with him. And for twenty years, I've had no way of contacting him. I searched and searched for years, on every social media and google resource available to me short of hiring a private investigator. A part of me wondered if he would even want to hear from me. Perhaps, it would open something he didn't care to revisit. But then finally, recently, he appeared. 

Just having pinpointed him. Knowing he is there. And where there is. To know he is doing well.  To hear myself addressed as sister. And receive the pledge of a brother. "Whatever you need, sis." It's brought a lot of things to the surface. 

I know that the bulk of the raw material of my life and life's-work was created during those years. That is the clay I am shaping and reshaping-- standing back to look  at, evaluate-- going back in to work at again. You get your hands dirty every time. It is the work I will never stop doing. It is the crux of the balance between the heavy that I came from and the lightness I am always trying to laugh my way towards. To make the heavy go light. That's really something. 

It gets easier. It gets harder. It gets more worth it. The really serious heavy lifting we all do to come to terms with the trauma we experience-- it is made worth it by knowing we did not go through it alone, that we helped each other by taking turns carrying the heavy, and that somewhere out there, if you just keep googling, you will find that twin again. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Why Stop Now?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...