There were two of us when I was born, but the doctors had no idea when our mother was pregnant as only one heartbeat could be heard. When we were born, my sister was alive and I was dead. I was told that she was born hugging on to me as I was so tiny.
It was only hours later when a nurse came to take my body away that a heartbeat suddenly came to life. So my sister and I were born at the same time, but she was a few hours older than me.
I was always told that, as I was born dead, I had to do something special with my life and I was meant to be here. There was a reason for me being alive.
My sister’s name was Ghazal and I am Ghazaleh, and it is true what they say about identical twins -“ we had that connection. The only time I didn’t feel something with her was with her passing 19 years later.
We were born in Tehran in Iran but, when the war broke out in the 1980s, mum and dad moved to Italy for a year, and then we settled in Sydney. We had a great childhood growing up on the north shore, and I spent most of my life following Ghazal around as she was always there to protect me.
She began saying as a teenager that she didn’t want to live past 21. She used to say she would have her fun and then get out of here. Even when we spoke about what we wanted to do when we grew up, she would reply that she did not want to grow up. I did not understand that at all at the time.
But what she did love to do was to write, just filling up books with poetry. There was a depth within her and she was really into the world within. She wrote about making the impossible possible.
She was about 16 when she first got into drugs and it was a part of her life that she did not tell me much about. She tried to protect me from it and warned me off about ever becoming involved.
She passed away when she was 19 and it was suicide. I am sure it was by choice. It was her thing.
Within three weeks, I had gone off overseas travelling. I knew I had to grow up and travel. I really didn’t feel much about what was going on back here as I was away for four years.
While I was living in the UK I found a man and got married. I was 20 at the time and so young. I was trying to convince myself I was not really gay. I had spent a few years wondering, Am I gay, or am I not? When I got married and decided to come home to Australia, I was trying to convince myself it would work out here.
But once I got home, I ended that part of my life. Coming out three years ago was so freeing and I finally felt I could be who I wanted to be. I looked at it for so much of the time as a problem, but now I look at it as a gift.
I had been working in sales and training but I began writing after I came out -“ it just came through me. The day I walked away from my husband it poured out of me and my life completely turned around. My sister was the writer of the family but, since her passing, I began to go with the flow and what came to me.
I feel I can’t take credit for it as it is not about me. It is about her real heart, which whispers to me. I go with the feelings and it is only later I realise what I have written. I have since filled up 10 books with my writing.
For years I wanted to release my own book but, when I looked at the books out there, I thought they were all so edited and the main stuff gets cut out. I know how editing works and I wanted to do it my way with no editing and to tell it like it is. So I started my own publishing company to publish my book, Whispers Of The Real Heart.
For me, I wanted to present who I am and this is the moment. Some people thought the grammar was controversial and they didn’t understand it. My response is that it is poetry and so it’s not about the grammar. Also, the words are very strong and some people said I could not say those kinds of things, but I thought, maybe through my book, they might have an understanding of it.
While the book is all my own writing, on the first page is a picture of my sister and I have put in one of her poems. It is in loving memory of her and it is her dream that I feel compelled to go forward with.
Interview by John Burfitt
Whispers Of The Real Heart is available only through www.whispersoftherealheart.com.