I came across a picture of my twin sister and I the other day (via Facebook’s Memories Feature), and it kept circling my mind…in an uncomfortable way. I didn’t know why, but took it as a sign, and saved it on my phone. After sitting with it for a while, I realized that it reminded me of a similar picture that Kath and I had recently taken at the lake.
I stitched the pictures together so that they were side by side, and it became obvious to me why the older picture elicited such a vexatious reaction in me.
This picture was taken 10 years ago. On the surface, we look young, happy, and “normal”. On the inside, we were both lost, aimless, and at the crossroads of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. It is not lost on me that we are both smiling with teeth in this picture. For someone on the outside looking in, it may seem like we are having a great time, and grinning. To me, I can see the forced mask that is plastered on both of our faces. We were both going down different roads, albeit equally destructive ones. We are clinging tightly to each other, because it is easier to have a partner in chaos. We were each other’s mirror in not only appearance, but in ruination as well.
10 years have come and gone, and with it, change has occurred. We have gone through the physical death of our beloved older sister, and the metaphorical death of relationships, and former selves. Like the ever evolving wheel of the seasons, we have also experienced new life in the physical birth of my son Flynn, and more importantly, we have gone through a parabolic rebirth ourselves.
As I type this, I realize that I have been using “we” in describing everything above. I think it’s essential to recognize that in our addiction, we were very much a “we”.
In our journey to sobriety and serenity, we separated into two entities rather than one. Kath went first, and I reluctantly but imminently followed. We lost one another several times along the way, constantly trying to remain the same on the new ground that we placed ourselves upon. It has taken years, and through trial and error, we found each other again by following the thread that binds us together. That thread is respect and love. We have aged not only in years, but in the soul as well. There has been an expansion and a softening that has come from listening, learning, and leaving what needed to be left.
I look at the picture of us now and see two women who are at peace. I see clear eyes and clear hearts, and sisters who stand on their own…leaning into each other like branches stemming from the same root.
There is no mask we hide behind now….this is who we are, and for that- I am forever grateful.
10 years from now, this picture or post may pop up in my world, and I wonder……
What will our eyes speak of then?