Coming Out, Coming Out

The epiphany struck as I found myself staring absentmindedly into the two poached-eggs-on-toast at breakfast, after a big night out of heavy drinking the night before. Suddenly, it all became abundantly clear. The years of subconscious denial melted away before my very eyes the moment I used my knife and fork to burst one of the swollen egg yolks on my plate and, just like at an evangelical church revival, I was reborn. I finally saw the obvious truth. I had been living a horrible lie my entire life.
I was a twin in the body of an only child.
The early signs were unmistakable to all but the most naïve. As a toddler, I had a habit of constantly looking around. Was I looking around for someone else? In photographs from that time, my fat little arms always seemed to be outstretched and reaching out for someone; someone that was never there. According to my mother I was always babbling; but to whom? Later, as a small child, my parents noticed that I would always blame an absent someone for misdemeanours. Broken toys, things left in a mess, damage to furniture and walls were always done by “somebody else”.
As an older child I demanded to sleep in a double bunk bed. And I always wanted more of everything. One chocolate, one game, one desert was never enough; I always demanded another. My mother was in denial and put it down to “a phase” I was going through. My father called me a greedy little shit.
But I did not grow out of it and things didn’t change. On the contrary, they intensified. As a young teenager I continued to feel an emptiness and the absence of my twin. I blamed mysterious imaginary persons for things that went missing from my parents’ possessions. I had a strong sensation that I was not alone and was convinced of some kind of metaphysical presence in our house. Just who was taking the missing money from my mother’s purse? Who was it that was pilfering my father’s cigarettes? My intense yearning kept me looking for someone to blame for everything that went wrong. This caused great family tension in our household as my parents did not recognise the tell-tale signs of my internal conflict. They told their friends that I was “a sensitive child” and encouraged me to play rugby. My hopelessly naïve parents remained in ignorant denial and I was simply too confused to see that there was another person trying to burst free from the internal shackles that confined me. My body was a prison and I was alone in a twin cell.
It was in my late teens that I attempted to fill the nagging void created by my missing twin by experimenting with drugs. This made things worse. I would get high and start talking to myself but I would receive no answers. I would shoot-up in both arms. I had no luck with girls. I coul not convince two girls at a time to go out on a double date. From there it was a downward spiral into depression.
If only someone had recognised the inconvenient truth and helped me to come out of the closet at that stage of my life. I just needed to see someone like me. Someone who had successfully made the transition into the beautiful, confident young twin that I could have been. A successful role model could have saved me from years of intense confusion and self-loathing, but you never saw people like me on TV commercials or in the movies. I thought that I was alone and did not know there were others, just like me, who were struggling with twin envy. I did not know that there were support groups that could help in my transition or that there were bars where people like me could go to relax and meet other emerging twins.
But it did not stop there. As a young adult I experienced more isolation and my behaviour became even more bizarre. The tell-tale signs of a frustrated twin in a single body kept raising its ugly heads. For example, I would look into the mirror at home and ask myself why I was standing there all by myself. I would stare at selfies and wonder why there was never anyone else in them. I began buying clothes in sets of two, especially if they were on sale. I found myself buying two shirts at a time when they were discounted. I actively looked for “two for the price of one” offers and experienced a type of intense satisfaction that was something akin to sexual gratification after I unwrapped both items when I got back home. But I always felt dirty. Once I bought a set of matching towels only to cry my eyes out when I put them on the towel rack in my bathroom. I know now that I was subconsciously providing for my missing twin but at the time I thought that I was going crazy. Or falling prey to very clever marketing strategies.
Over time I learned to live with my confliction. I did not tell anyone how I felt and kept my issues underground. I began to accept who I was and, in secret, I lived like a twin. I would set an extra place at the dinner table in the evenings. I began to wear joke eyeglasses so that I would see double but had to stop because of injuries caused by bumping into furniture. I would wear a full set of extra clothes underneath my normal outfit and enjoy laying both sets of clothes out on the bed before I dressed. I liked looking at myself in the mirror while wearing two outfits at once. People commented that they thought I was putting on weight.
I went further. I sought out the company of twins. Even though people looked at me strangely, I joined social groups for twins and I felt a sense of belonging when I attended their special events, like picnics and outings. I felt at home when I was in their company. I changed my social media profile picture to a double photograph.
Both the happiest and one of the saddest days of my life was the day I came out. I called a gathering of family and friends and made the announcement. I was no longer going to live a lie. My father was angry and could not look me in the eye. My mother sobbed through her tears that she had always suspected something. My uncle slipped a piece of paper with his phone number into my pocket.
It was awkward at work. Some of my co-workers made a point of saying they supported my decision and would be there for me, while some shunned me. Some of my colleagues confronted me and told me that they did not believe single people were born twins and that it was all just a lifestyle choice. I didn’t care. I felt exhilarated and experienced a huge sense of relief. I was free. Free at last to pursue my life as the self-confident, dazzling twin I had always wanted to be. My life has been just two big adventures ever since.
The only drawback is that I now have to work a second job.

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