Issue 26 | Fall 2020

Fearful Symmetry

            I met my twin flame in 2018. She is the complete opposite of me: fiery, loud, extroverted. She wears layers and layers of lipstick and gets her nails done biweekly. Her perfume comes in a glittering bottle. She likes her drinks sweet to my tart, her nails long to my short. A yin to my yang.

            The concept of a twin flame is highly spiritual, almost supernatural. Twin flames are supposed to have a psychic connection with one another. They may have an uncanny ability to reach out to one another when something is wrong. A twin flame is a sacred connection, one that moves you closer to the Divine.

            The connection between twin flames is generally too deep, too volatile and intense to be maintained over a lifetime. These people meet and change one another irrevocably. The connection never breaks, but after ascension is reached, some twins may feel no choice but to move on. Others, though much less likely, will be joined for eternity.


          I started watching The X-Files when I was seven. The show followed the practical, pragmatic Dr. Dana Scully who is placed on assignment to debunk “spooky” Fox Mulder, a nobody working out of the basement of the FBI, researching cases with extraterrestrial or unexplainable facets.

            One of my first episodes involved a giant parasitic “flukeman” that lived in the sewage system, feeding off unsuspecting bathroom goers and sewage workers. The flukeman was human sized and ringed with peeling, white flesh, a large pink mouth that opened to tiny, sharp teeth. It was human, but not. Just strange enough to turn your stomach.

            Was the flukeman an alien life-form? A new boogeyman? I wanted to believe what Mulder believed, that it was some kind of monster. Mulder believed in ghosts and alien human-hybrids, an evil enchanted doll, a swarm of murderous insects, a school principal possessed by the devil.

            But most often, I found myself siding with the pragmatic Dr. Scully. In the “flukeman” episode, she posited that the giant white parasite was actually a human who had long-term exposure to clean up from Chernobyl. It had mutated over years and years of exposure, becoming albino because of its lack of light. It was a simple explanation, backed by science.

            Scully somehow found a logical way to explain each of the events she witnessed from week to week before reporting her findings to the head of the FBI. “Sometimes looking for extreme possibilities makes you blind to the probable explanation right in front of you,” she told Mulder once.

            I sided with her each week, proud of her determination to remain grounded in the face of extraordinary circumstances. But, too, a little part of me didn’t like how much I related to her. Part of me looked at Mulder and wondered how different my life would be if I could just believe.


          The real, honest truth is that twin flames probably don’t exist, at least, not in the magical, mystical way it’s been written. I relate it to the phenomenon of the standing broom in early 2020. People went crazy over it, taking pictures and claiming it was because the planets had aligned in a certain way. “It was tweeted by NASA,” one lady claimed on Twitter.

            I did not grab my red, deluxe angle broom and test it out, though I’ll admit a large part of me wanted to. I knew deep down that there was no planetary alignment. Other sources confirmed my suspicions in a way that was almost better than the myth itself: brooms can stand up on their own all the time. They have a low center of gravity, usually just above the bristles. This makes it possible, if they’re positioned right, for them to stand up unsupported.

There is no magical, mysterious planet alignment. No voodoo or witchcraft.

Myth debunked.


          In one episode of The X-Files episode, Mulder and Scully investigate a man who claims he can control the rain. The “rain king,” says he can call on the Gods and make it happen. Many believe him and it’s easy to see why. He has good timing and the town has experienced strange weather phenomena for years– draughts, hailstorms, fires, mini-twisters that hurl cows through roofs.

            But as the two agents look closer, Mulder starts to believe the weather is accidentally being manipulated by the local weatherman. He is in love with a woman and can’t bring himself to tell her. When he’s upset, storms rage. When she’s sad, heart shaped hail falls.

            Scully says any connections are coincidences. The weather can impact how a person acts, like with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but it doesn’t work the other way around.

            Mulder is firm, though. “Well, who’s to say that it doesn’t? That the way someone feels can affect the weather… that the weather is somehow an expression of [the weatherman’s] feelings or better still, the feelings that he’s not expressing?”

            In psychology, magical thinking is when you believe your thoughts have an actual, causal effect on what happens in the world. According to Louise Hay, one of the founders of the Self-Help movement, the key to living a good life is changing your thoughts. By making your thoughts good, your life becomes good. See the magic in everyday life? Magic is created.

            Part of me thinks that if Louise Hay ever met Mulder, she would be enchanted by his ability to create his own reality. Mulder believes in otherworldly magic. He believes a woman is psychically linked to a kidnapped child, feeling her feelings, the sensations she’s experiencing. He believes a hungry swarm of cockroaches is actually a group of tiny, malicious robots, that souls can switch bodies, that ghosts can trap the living in an old mansion for Christmas.

            He believes and believes and believes and believes, and thus his world becomes a string of strange, fascinating, awkward, funny, and memorable experiences. He lives a life of pure and utter delight.


            Maybe it’s magical thinking to believe in a twin flame. Maybe my research into it is something I do to combat boredom while huddled in my tiny apartment, stuffed between browning palm fronds and bougainvillea. This two hundred square foot space is where I weather the current pandemic, going days without ever having a face-to-face conversation.

            My research into the concept of a twin flame has put me onto the website Quora, which is a massive message board full of community members seeking answers to their questions. One of the twin flame “experts” states that one twin flame is always the runner – fearing the intensity of the relationship and pulling away – while the other acts as the chaser. In this way, an unenlightened twin runner can go in circles until they find the courage to face whatever issue their twin is mirroring for them. Of interest to me in particular is the crippling pain twin flames are supposed to feel when they are separated from one another. The universe has driven them together, so it’s very difficult for them to be apart.

            I always feel a small sense of panic when my twin and I are separated. Is it the universe signaling to my Spidey-senses that my twin soul is out of reach? Maybe. Most likely, though, it’s just me making myself nervous with a number of irrational thoughts. Is she safe? How much will it hurt to miss her? Will she forget about me? The idea of a psychic connection, something magical and preternaturally strange, appeals to me during these moments. There would be nothing more soothing than to think of her and know at the same time she is thinking of me.


            One of my favorite episodes of The X-Files is Season 6 Episode 3, “Triangle.” The episode follows Mulder as he investigates a large ship that’s just shown up in the Bermuda Triangle and is circling and circling, unable to move. No one knows where it came from or why it has suddenly appeared, and when Mulder is brought on board, he finds that he’s gone back in time to 1939. He gets wrapped up in an onboard search for a scientist who will invent a weapon to destroy the Nazis.

            The best part of the episode is when Mulder finds the 1939-version of Scully who just so happens to be the scientist in question. They partner up as usual, running through the ship to dodge the Nazis. Together, they eventually find a way to get the ship back on course and out of the time warp.

            They’re on the outside track of the ship, out of breath from running, when they realize it’s time for them to part ways. Mulder must go back to the present day and 1939-Scully must stay to fight the Nazis. Mulder jumps overboard, but not before planting a kiss on her, “Just in case we never see each other again.”

            When he wakes up, he’s heavily medicated and in a hospital bed, rescued by the current day Scully. The Lone Gunmen, his sidekicks, are there. His boss, Skinner, is too. Mulder insists that the ship existed in another time period and that Scully knew how to save the world. Everyone thinks it’s a result of the medication and picks on him about it before leaving. Scully is about to follow when he calls her back. “Hey, Scully,” he says.

            She stops, returning to his bedside. They hover face-to -face for several seconds, just inches apart.

“I love you,” he says.

She rolls her eyes. “Oh, brother.”


           Both my twin flame and I have changed considerably since we met each other. I’m making big strides in therapy, learning how to set healthy boundaries and love myself. She is learning how to look at the glass half-full, how to dig deep and find the strength she needs to get through hard times.

            I know from my readings that my twin flame and I are not destined for romantic love. Most twin flames exist to fuel the fire of change within their twin and within a bigger picture, usually to have a profound impact on the world. Romantic love can be found in soulmates, similar to twin flames in most respects, except for one: a person can only have one twin flame but many different kinds of soulmates.

            The idea of the twin flame comforts me. It’s nice to think there is someone out there that I have a special connection with, that life might be bigger and more magical than I can explain.


          Belief in God and religion might be considered magical thinking. It’s supernatural in many ways, an idea that can’t be seen or proven by science. There is little tangible proof that angels, heaven or hell exist. Still, people believe.

            I’ve always found it funny that Scully was the religious one and Mulder was the atheist. A devout Catholic, Scully can be seen wearing a small, gold cross in almost all of the first few seasons. Throughout the entirety of the series, we watch her struggle with her faith, first in regards to the things she witnesses through The X-Files, then with the loss of her son, William. In the 2008 movie, she is still being forced to confront her faith, when a convicted pedophile and former priest is given unexplainable psychic visions that ultimately help her and Mulder in a missing persons case.

            Why him? She asks herself over and over. How could someone like him be given divine guidance? How can she believe in God and the pedophile priest’s visions, both? She thought she was done with The X-Files. “This isn’t my life anymore, Mulder,” she says. “I’m done chasing monsters in the dark.”

            Her disbelief in this new X-File is mirrored by her work with a young boy who has a debilitating disease. He is slowly dying and as his doctor, she is determined to find a way to save him. It seems like all hope is lost. Then, completely out of context, the pedophile priest looks down at her and says, “Don’t give up.”

            She tries to ignore his words, but they haunt her. She returns to the boy’s bedside, determined to use every method possible to save him. Eventually, she goes against the Catholic institution that employs her to get him stem cell treatment.

Scully, as much as she is a skeptic, is also a believer.


            Currently, I’m going on six years single. Although I’ve experienced romantic love, it’s never really been reciprocated, and I’ve spent most of my life believing I am destined to be alone. It’s done some good. I am now deeply comfortable being by myself. I enjoy solo trips and rarely get lonely. I am content in most ways.

            At the same time, it’s also a source of great pain. The other day, a friend sent me a picture of her eating breakfast off a cardboard box in the new apartment she shares with her husband. The pain I felt looking at it, the hunger to experience what she was experiencing, was like a stab to the chest.

            When I feel bad like that, I pick up Louise Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Life.” She says that I can create my own reality by simply changing my thoughts. If I believe, I can make it happen. I can change my entire energy. I can open up to receive my dreams, even if I didn’t think they were possible to achieve before.

            I tell myself love can happen for me like it did with Scully and Mulder. Every time the world separated them, they always managed to find a way back to one another, even across countries, space and time. Theirs was a love that existed in multiple universes, in every shade of grey.


             Throughout my lifetime, I’ve experienced lots of strange phenomena. When I was younger, several times I heard what could’ve been a ghost knocking on the walls of the house where my mother worked. Realistically, though, it was probably a mouse or squirrel caught between the wood panels. In middle school, I was sitting in the car with a friend when the automatic locks began going up and down so quickly, we couldn’t open the doors for over a minute. She thought it was a poltergeist. Probably it was just some kind of mechanical failure.

            The scariest and most recent experience took place here in my tiny Florida apartment. I woke in the middle of the night to a loud crash. Upon flicking on the lights, I saw that a glass bottle had plummeted over the edge of my kitchen countertop, smashing into pieces. What caught me as strange was that it had been seated over a foot from the ledge.

            Even stranger? Before going to bed, I’d called on my dead grandmother for guidance in a spiritual matter. “Please,” I said, “I need to know which path to take.” I described one of the paths, telling her it was what I wanted most.

            Was my grandmother warning me not to take that path? Maybe. The most likely explanation, however, is simple: there was a draft. The draft caught the bottle. The tile was slick and it rolled before falling.

            I rationalize the impossible each time it occurs. Drawing the same tarot card three nights in a row? I probably didn’t shuffle well. Getting a book deal right when I was about to quit writing for good? Coincidence with a little bit of luck. Ghosts and aliens don’t exist. Time travel is most likely a fallacy, like the concept of a twin flame.

But, even as pragmatic as I may be, I still want to believe.

Filed under: Nonfiction

Chelsea Catherine is a native Vermonter living in St. Petersburg, FL. Most recently, she won the Mary C. Mohr nonfiction award through the Southern Indiana Review and her book, Summer of the Cicadas, won the Quill Prose Award through Red Hen Press and was published in August of 2020. You can find her at