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Being A Twin Isn’t Easy

I’ve always thought of myself as a blessed individual. After all, unlike most people, I do have a sister that looks exactly like me. My sister once told me that she considered herself the luckiest person in the world — for she was born one minute after her best friend. Besides being utterly flattered, I had to agree with her. Because of her existence, I was never alone growing up. I always had someone to play with during recess and to sit with during lunch.

I really enjoy having an identical twin sister. I feel that she understands me more than anyone ever could. We have similar tastes; we can talk about an episode of Community for hours and never get tired of each other’s company. I don’t have to finish my sentences most of the time because my sister already knows what I’m going to say. We’ve found ourselves thinking of the same thing or having the same dream. My sister is the first person that pops into my mind when I think, “Whom should I share my thoughts about ______ with?”

But like anything in the world, it’s not easy being a twin. I can think of several disadvantages of having someone that looks exactly like you. When someone tells me that he or she thinks it’d be amazing to have a twin, I get extremely uncomfortable. Having a twin doesn’t make me any more special than someone who doesn’t have a twin. In some occasions, I feel that having a twin makes simple things difficult. For example, it’s really hard to cope with the fact that some people can’t tell who I am the moment they see me. Some call me by my first name, but some call me by my last name in order to avoid the embarrassment of calling me by my sister’s name.

When I walk through the halls of my school, many call me “twin,” and that always brushes me the wrong way. I don’t like being solely called “twin” because it makes it seem like that’s all I am. Having a twin makes it harder for me to figure out who I am; I’m not unique because someone looks and acts like me. There have been instances where people considered my sister and I to be just one person, and that is the most hurtful thing I’ve heard directed at me.

That’s not all. For being twins, my sister and I tend to freak some people out. I remember one instance in English class last year where our teacher asked us to draw a cartoon describing what happens in Odysseus. My sister and I were sitting in opposite sides of the room, yet we somehow managed to draw very similar cartoons. Our teacher called out the teacher next door to come and see this strange occurrence. This happened in October, where things always tend to look creepier than they are because of Halloween, and the teacher made some unnecessary comment about how freaky this twin business is.

Freaking out adults is something that I’ve gotten used to. The instance highlighted above has happened several times in different forms. What I really can’t get past is scaring babies. Babies look at me, then look at my sister, then turn their gazes back to me and start crying. There is nothing more traumatizing than making a baby cry just because you have someone that looks like you.

The hardest thing about being a twin is so complex that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to comprehend or explain completely. My sister and I have done everything together for the past sixteen years. Yet, we both know that one day we’ll have to get “twinvorced.” I know it won’t be for the next six or seven years, but I can already predict a huge fight over who gets to keep the complete first season of Girls or some other precious object we co-own. But that isn’t the biggest thing I’m worried about. To me, life isn’t complete without having my twin sister to share it with. Yet I know it’s essential that we split up once we go out into the “real world.” We both have to find ourselves, and to do that, we can’t have each other lingering close by. I just know that parting ways with my sister will be the hardest thing I’ll ever do, and I dread that moment every day. Therefore, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s not easy being a twin.

You can follow Mariah Schaefer on Twitter.

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