There are a lot of “unique” things about my life. I’m first-generation American, to a Mexican mother and Israeli father (who’s also a rabbi). I was born in California, but was raised in the Deep South. I have half my head shaved off, and I’m a witch. But the thing that really seems to intrigue people is that I’m a twin!
My twin sister Alexandra and I were born in San Diego on 2/2. We were seven weeks premature, and although we were both really healthy, we had to stay in the hospital for an extra month. We were tiny sprouts, with Alex weighing 3 pounds 12 ounces. while I weighed 3 pounds 4 ounces.
Alex’s first memory of me came a couple years later, when she was showing me how to get out of our cribs. She did it gracefully, but when it was my turn, I fell flat on my face onto the table next to my crib. Fair to say — we’ve been through it all together.
When we were born, we were told we were identical; when we took a blood test at 11, we found out we were fraternal. Yes we were heartbroken, and yes we cried. But thankfully, we still managed to stay close growing up.
Because of our father’s job as a rabbi, we moved around a lot; across the country at age seven, from sunny Los Angeles, California to Buffalo, New York before settling outside Atlanta, Georgia, where we went to middle and high school. Thankfully, moving taught us how to make new friends and be generally sociable people. But that was made much, much easier because no matter where we went, we always had each other, and a friendship that no one could break.
Now, although we’ve always been close (we’ve lived together for almost three years), relationships take work; and that includes twinships, too! But on the beautiful path from wombate to roommate, I’ve learned a lot from being a twin. Here are some of my favorite pearls of wisdom.
Never underestimate the power of loyalty.
We’ve grown up together, in every sense of the word, and now we take care of each other, protect each other, and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Having a twin is like having a cheerleader, bestie, and family member in one.
People will always compare you, so you may as well wear whatever you want
Alex also hit puberty three years before me, and was a full head taller than me growing up. In middle school, we were constantly being compared by members of our dad’s congregation who only knew us as “the Rabbi’s daughters.” While always being told that I was younger and skinnier than my sister was difficult for my 11-year-old soul, it taught me to have thick skin. It also taught me that therapy is the best and that it’s okay to need help. It taught me the power of personal style, that it’s okay to dress for the person you are, even if someone else doesn’t get it.
Today, we don’t get compared as much, thanks to the fact our styles are totally different (as are our bodies), but it still happens. However, now we welcome it. Look — we aren’t the same, but we kinda are! The same, but different.
Sharing is caring.
When we were toddlers, my mother invented what she called “the ding method.” Alex and I had our “own” toys, but we also shared a lot. And instead of letting one of us hog the pink or yellow Power Ranger, my mom just bought a timer. Once the timer “dinged,” we knew it was time to give the toy to the other twin.
Apparently, at one point the timer broke, and Alex and I just “dinged” ourselves AND we still respected it. Nowadays, we share an apartment and although we don’t use our mama’s method for sharing, we still have that lesson ingrained in us.
It’s something that we bring to our other relationships; there is always enough to share, whether that’s love, happiness, food, or fun. If you’re in the mentality of abundance, it will come.
Those who are the closest to you are your biggest mirrors.
Alex knows me. I love her more than anyone else, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to scream at her sometimes. But the thing you notice when you have a twin — especially if you’re close and especially if you live together — it’s that they act as mirrors. All those things that bug the crap out of you about someone you’re close to? Chances are that’s something that’s triggering the way you see yourself.
Alex and I are similar, but also very different, and the things that annoy me the most about her are reminders of shit that I need to work on. She reflects what I need to see and move through, whether that’s the fact that I think she’s getting overtly emotional or not emotional enough. It’s pretty much the grown-up version of “I know you are, but what am I?” that teaches you to grow and evolve.
You’ll have memories and a bond that most people don’t understand, and that’s okay.
Unless you’re a twin or duplicate, you probably won’t understand what I mean when I say that “we aren’t best friends, we’re twins.” It’s a bond that’s hard to describe; in many ways it’s a larger part of who I am than nearly anything else because Alex es mi familia!
Yes, we live together. Yes, we love hanging out together. And yes, we’re technically best friends. But we’re best friends by choice and by blood; and I think that’s pretty special.