This week I’ve been reading Courting the Wild Twin, by Martin Shaw, which explores the myth that we all have a wild twin who was tossed out the window when we were born, and who carries with them much of our own wildness and vitality. Old folktales about our wild twins encourage us to mend our fragmented relationship with our feral selves and in so doing, to build a stronger, more whole relationship with our world. I’m in love with this concept, and it has been a beautiful way to imagine my own self-reconciliation in sobriety:
Lately, I’ve been noticing my wild twin, who grew up in the redwood forest, and has been following me around the world like a wild little shadow ever since.
She first showed herself a few months ago when I stopped drinking beers and wallowing, and spent sober evenings gazing out the window instead. I saw her stooped on a branch in the tree outside, with twigs in her hair and dirt on her face. She smiled at me cautiously and then disappeared into the night. I began to see her here and there – she would peek out from the big pine tree in my yard, chase the wood pigeons, pull the tails of the alley cats, and then duck back into the ivy when I stared at her for too long. She’s very shy and has some understandable trust issues, but I could tell that she wanted me to notice her because she began to leave little stones and leaves at my window sill, and I occasionally caught her staring back with big, curious eyes.
A few weeks ago, when the night was warm and the moon was full, I left my window open. In the morning, there were muddy footprints all over my kitchen, and my bathroom floor was covered in water. She had eaten all of my sugar & honey, and all the next day, I could hear her moaning with a belly ache from up in the tree. I left some almonds and milk on my window sill, and I hung a green piece of silk in my window – one that I’ve had since I was an infant – to signify that we share the same roots. In return, she left a beautiful, round river stone to soothe my anxiety, along with some sage and lavender to help my stress headaches. The next evening, I left her some tea and blueberries, and I woke up to eucalyptus & pussy willow branches assembled beautifully in a jar.
I leave my window open every night now, and she often comes in when I am sleeping. I love waking up to signs of her – little crumbs on the counter, wet footprints on the floor, or rose petals on my pillow. A few times, when she thought I was sleeping, I felt her softly touch my eyelashes and hold my hand. She doesn’t want me to comb her hair. The only time she touched my lipstick was to draw on the mirror with it. She doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks, and she rolls her eyes and laughs when she sees me giving in to self-doubt or acting insecurely – she doesn’t have time for that. She has a big, loud laugh and isn’t afraid to take up space with her joy and ferocity. She plays with my paints and hangs herbs to dry on my wall. She is brave and self-assured. She is starting to trust me and to believe that I love her.
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