So this speech is not meant to make you cry cos as you know, I am as hard as nails and don’t like when you cry so don’t look at me ok? Just hear it!
But I want to start by saying that it is strange for me to sit looking out at a sea of people that I love and care so much about and gush about one person. People that would never know how much they mean to me because my hardened heart will never let me say and because I do not know whether I will ever be given a more opportune time to say, I am going to do it now. So to my amazing mother, my precious big sister, my beautiful nieces and nephew and my cousins whom I am so proud of. My dad, my younger siblings who I see far too little of, Andrew Milnes, my aunts and uncle, my wonderful best friends whom I appreciate and thank for everything they’ve done for me and all that you are individually. My brilliant new brother Alexander and of course my precious daughter Eva. I genuinely love you all more than you will ever realise.
But ultimately this speech belongs to just one person and that is my beautiful twin, Natasha Michaela Martin.
I remember when Natasha, Corinne and I were growing up and we used to talk about who would get married first; Tasha would always be bottom of the list.
Literally, I was top (the irony isn’t wasted on me) Corinne would be next, we’d skip about 10 lines, and Tasha’s name would be underneath the bottom line in teeny titchy tiny writing….and even then we weren’t hopeful of marriage for her.
Now anyone that thinks I’m being unfair merely didn’t know her then. The fairest thing to say is that she didn’t always look and act like this.
People often ask what being a twin is like and if I ignore the fact that I am still yet to forgive her for bringing Antony into my life, there are many ways of answering this. In its simplest form it is having someone that you are really really close to but have to make no effort with whatsoever, the conflict this raises between us completely passes over us whilst everyone else is left feeling uncomfortable, irritated and/or embarrassed and whilst they’re still reeling we’re friends again.
It is speaking to her a million times a day and getting her opinion or advice on the most trivial or complex of matters. Sometimes I speak to others because I think, oh ok I have bothered her at least 10 times today and maybe someone else will have an opinion on whether the sky is a slightly lighter shade of blue (or other such interesting matters) and I’m left feeling baffled on how little they get me but it is not that they don’t get me, they just don’t get me in the way that I’ve taken for granted because I’m a twin.
And because we are so close I am sure people wonder whether today feels like I am losing her but I already lost her some time back in 2001 when she moved in with her first boyfriend and I cried and cried and cried but I didn’t know then that I hadn’t lost her, we’d simply had to evolve from sisters into friends. And when I felt excluded as a result of this she strived and continually involved me in all of her subsequent relationships and it is because of her inclusion of me in her life that I can look around the room and know most people here and count a lot of them as my own friends.
But being a twin is not all perfect as invariably feelings get hurt and one of us feels let down by the other because of the ridiculously high expectations of each other that are actually met 9 times out of 10. And I guess that is the single best thing about being a twin. That there is someone that is always striving to get it right for you 100% of the time even though they owe you nothing.
And Natasha, I know that you have always felt responsibility for me as well as guilt that I have not been fortunate in many areas of my life. And so I write this speech, as although I did not give you away officially today, I feel there is nobody better placed than me to give you away with my complete blessing and happiness for you and to say that you do not have to feel the misplaced guilt, responsibility or burden for the luck I’ve had and that it is always ok to be happy.
There is a misconception that Natasha is the stronger one of the two of us, probably founded on the fact that she introduces me to people first and tells anyone that will listen that I am 21 minutes younger. But a little known fact about Tasha is actually how sensitive and easily hurt she is and if it were anyone else marrying Tasha today, I would be warning them to look after her but I do not have to because I know that Alex appreciates who and what he has and that not only does he have her back, he has her heart. And I wouldn’t be able to finish this speech without mentioning Natasha’s husband, Alexander Fingal Martin aka “Alright Mister” who has not only been more than inclusive of me and the reason why I can count his family and friends as my own now too but who has been a great friend to me and more than this the most amazing, supportive and dependable uncle and male role model to Eva.
Alex and Tasha, you are both lucky to have each other and for the laughs, babysitting, support and singing Valerie to you of a Friday night, I am lucky to have you both.
And Natasha although we will no longer share the same surname, it aint no thang but a chicken wang because we will always have everything we’ve been through together.
So here’s to you Natasha Michaela Martin nee Wisdom. My Mode, my D’emploi, my twin, my heart.
Love you long time, always and forever
Natty nat-man Dude
…who loves ya baby?? you’re beautiful!