Imagine one of my daughters said to me "I can't find my key!" I would start looking for her key. I wold turn cushions, crawl under chairs and tables, shake up jackets and bags looking for her key. All to no avail.
Then suddenly my daughter says "oh, by the way, it's not a key exactly. It's my chip-card for the garage at work."
So, in a way it's a key, because it opens doors, but actually it's a plastic card. No wonder I didn't find it. All the time I had the image of a metal bar with a zig-zag pattern in mind. There is no way how I could have found my daughter's key with this mental image as a pattern for the search.
Now I can turn a book and find the card lying beneath.
We can't search for something without an idea of what we are looking for.
I was always searching. For what I didn't know. The adults had many ideas. They thought I was looking for attention. For challenges. For friends. For an identity. For roots. For safety. For a family.
All those were things I lacked to one amount or the other in my life and I thought that's what I was looking for a long time, too.
Until I received attention and my search wasn't over.
Until I had a family of my own and still felt lost.
Until I had met challenges and still wasn't satisfied.
Until I had found a person who called himself my friend and I realised I was longing for a message by him...
...and when I received it the longing wasn't over.
When I found out I probably had a twin who died before birth, I - and many others - said "well, that explains a lot." It's my twin I'm looking for.
I had an idea of what it means to be a twin. I read books. I talked to other twins and twinless twins. I was sure I was looking for someone I'd be connected with, in sync with, who looked like me, whom I felt in tune with, somehow...
Ah, the others said, you're looking for a soulmate. Well, don't we all!
It took me some years to be sure that I don't. Actually it took me until the advent of WhatsApp in my life to realise what I'm looking for.
There's nothing more similar to life in utero with a twin than WhatsApp. I send a picture. An emoji. A single word. I just reach out and signal "hey, there! I'm using WhatsApp!" And all I receive and all I NEED is a thumbs up back, another emoji, a smiley. I send an impuls, I get an impuls back. Twin existence in the womb.
I realised I'm not looking for chats, pranks, adventures shared. I see my children having these with their friends and I envy them that, but it's not what I long for. I'm anxiety-ridden when it comes to social interaction and, frankly speaking, a soul mate to have long and intimate talks with would make me crazy within a very short time. The burning hole inside my existence which is shaped exactly like the thing I need and miss and look for - it tells me what it was: an unspoken, non-verbal, un-questioned existence next to another one. No exchange of words and ideas, not much physical contact - my twin very probably died before there was much of that - but the constant presence of someone. Not even always comforting, it may be annoying, too, like a pebble in my shoes.
When we know what we are looking for we know what we are missing. Not the other way round. And we can't EVER look for something we don't know.