When I was a young child, probably 4 to 6 years of age, I had an imaginary friend. Her name was Aunt Tell. I used to have conversations with her in my head, but I never physically saw her, nor do I recall having a physical image of her in my head. But I think she still qualifies as an imaginary friend because she was always around for me to talk to, and I treated her like she was really there. She wasn’t the type of imaginary friend that I had tea with or played dolls with, she was simply there to have conversations with me when I needed her.
She presented to me as an older lady (well, older than 30, which was very old to a 5 year old) and I can recall her not only giving me advice but also warning me of danger. It was almost like having another mother around when my mom wasn’t physically present. I can recall that when I was sad, Aunt Tell would comfort me. When I was in danger, she would warn me, and when I was doing something naughty she would admonish me. Now you might be thinking that she was just the voice of my mother when my mother was not around. But Aunt Tell was different than that. She had a distinct personality unlike my mother’s. If I had to classify her, I’d say she was more like a fairy godmother or an angel. She had a separate and distinct personality unlike anyone I knew in life.
Now here’s the kicker. I have a twin sister. And we shared the same imaginary friend. We both talked to Aunt Tell. And years later we both realized that there were times that we were in a three-way conversation. It astounds me now, but I remember clearly that sometimes my sister and I would have a conversation and we would both hear Aunt Tell telling us the same thing at the same time. Aunt Tell was very real to us. It mystified my brother, who was older than us, because he kept trying to tell us that Aunt Tell wasn’t real, but we astounded him as well when we were both able to tell him what Aunt Tell was saying to us, while we were physically separated.
It didn’t dawn on me until adulthood that the name was significant. Aunt Tell was the person we told things to. She was the one who seemed to know us the best, to take care of us from the inside, and she was never judgemental. I loved Aunt Tell. By the time I was 7 years old, my family had convinced me that Aunt Tell was just imaginary. I remember my sister and I reluctantly letting her go.
So who was Aunt Tell really? An imaginary friend? A spirit guide? An angel or my higher self? It’s hard for me to say, but I think she was a spirit guide, assigned to me at that time of my life. I think both my sister and I were tuned in to her and could hear her, and I suspect there are thousands of children out there who have an Aunt Tell inside them too.
Did you have an imaginary friend growing up? What kind of conversations did you have with him or her? Who was he/she really? What do you think?