I had eight minutes alone in this world; my sister followed my lead a few chaotic minutes after. Since then, I have spent most of my life with my twin.
Whenever I meet someone new and they find out I have an identical twin, they often ask, “How do I tell you two apart?”
Since I was young, people have been mistaking me for my identical twin, Gaby. Some teachers have gone as far as to think I’m one person with two different names.
I know it’s not their fault when people mistake me for my twin because we do look pretty similar. My twin and I surprisingly have many similarities. We have the same sense of humor, and we can read each other’s emotions and minds. However, we also have differences.
Sometimes, it feels as if people don’t care enough to take the time to realize we are different people. Even people who have known us for a long time have trouble telling us apart.
When people continually group my twin and me as one, it’s hard for us to become our own unique selves; the same goes for all twins. Everybody deserves to be treated as an individual, whether born as a twin or not.
When people see us apart, they often ask, “Where’s your twin?” They see us as individuals when we’re together, but they see us as incomplete when we’re apart. Yet, this is ironic because we are more individual apart than together.
Many people also tend to refer to us as “the twins.” They ask questions to one twin and don’t make an effort to ask the other because they likely either assume we’ll have the same answer or that we speak for each other.
These interactions feel dehumanizing because I become an object instead of a human, lacking basic human rights like free speech and self-expression. Treating twins in this way also suppresses individuality because without being able to express myself in public, others don’t get to see who I really am.
Additionally, the expectation that twins are supposed to be the same strains my relationship with my twin because we try so hard to be different from one another so that people don’t treat us like we’re the same person. Treating twins as individuals is crucial because it allows us to dress, speak and act the way we want without worrying about what people will assume.
So, treat twins as two people who happen to be born on the same day. Refer to us by our names and not “the twins.” Because when I look in the mirror, I don’t see my twin. I see me; when I look at my twin, I don’t see me. I see her. When you look at us, see two unique individuals.
Though being a twin is a big part of my identity, it doesn’t define who I am. Instead, I am a collection of my own experiences and opinions, which differ in every person, even twins.
In short, I love my twin, but people need to realize that we are not a package deal.