“I’m not bitter… but I’ve seen better days.” (Hopefully) my mom and my sister will appreciate that throwback Teddy Geiger quote from The Rocker.
Anyway, I just came across a semi angst-ridden essay I wrote in July of 2007. So I’d like to share it. Because it’s hilarious to me, and I also think that many multiple birthed children will understand where I’m coming from. Sorry if it comes off harsh, Erin.
Note: I choose not to apologize to anyone I may offend who attended my high school. If you and I got along then, we get along now. I feel like EVERYONE will understand where I am coming from.
From the moment a child is born, they become the center of their parents’ world. They are taught that they are special, and that there is not a single person in the entire world that is exactly like them, I was taught the same way as any other “normal” child. However, I have always shared my spotlight. This fact became even more apparent when I started elementary school.
Ever since that first day of kindergarten, I have been referred to in plural (i.e. “the twins”) or in non-specifics (i.e. “a twin”). As my sister and I have grown and – hopefully – matured, the situation has only become more difficult. We are identical twins, but there are definitely differences in our appearances as well as our personalities. Unfortunately, despite this fact, a person could not tell by the names and titles people refer to us as.
People just cannot seem to get us straight. It has somehow over the years gotten to the point where they have simply given up on trying to know who is who. At work my fellow employees resulted to labeling our hats with our initials in black sharpie marker so as to tell us apart. And yet, still no one bothers to utilize this ever-so-useful (and also highly insulting) tool, and instead have continued to refer to us by our last name or a “clever” mixture of our two names.
Yes, my sister and I share many of the same interests. Yes, we resemble each other. But when it gets to the point where people that you see every single day – supposed “friends” – mix you up and then claim that it merely does not matter, hearts start to break. No, there is no “evil” or “good” twin. No, there is no “smart” or “stupid” twin. And, despite a myriad of pathetic debates, we are not and will never be “the same person”.
We were given two separate names for a reason.
Of course, I have become sensitive to the above issues over the past few years, and hopefully one can understand why. However, the climax of our story presented itself several months ago in my seventh hour health class.
The term “multiple births” was listed under “birth defects” in our health book.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it was clearly the publisher’s fault for allowing such a crude remark to be published. No, multiple births are not “planned”, but frankly neither are half of “regular” births.
I am not a defect.
Add this to the list of things that I, being a twin, am teased about. It is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
I had a revelation the other day. It strikes me as off that my school community gives me so much grief for being a twin.
At my school, “students” and “clones” are synonymous. If you are not Italian, you are not “in”. If you do not cut and color your hair on a regular basis, you are not “cool”. If you do not cake on makeup before school each morning, then you are clearly confused. You must be a slacker, be extremely thin, wear disgustingly unattractive tight shirts, carry a designer handbag (or a cheap knockoff: many of my classmates would not be able to tell the difference), expose yourself to deadly cancerous UV rays in a tanning salon at least once a week, and drive a moderately priced vehicle the moment you blow out the candles on your sixteenth birthday cake. And God forbid you have a job! After all, the last thing you want is to chip that manicure!
Coincidentally, my sister and I do not fit the mold in any of the above situations. Many of these people are my friends, but we could not be more different. Case in point? Why am I the birth defect? Why is it so difficult to just call me by the right name every once in a while? I was not given an ugly name! All of these cookie-cutter clones get that respect, and I, who defy every one of the above personality flaws and am actually unique, am the one who, of no personal choice, drew the short straw at birth?
My sister and I are alike, but we are not the same. We deserve to be treated with just as much respect as (if not more than) every one else in our cookie-cutter surroundings. At least address us by out own names. My sister deserves more than that, and I know I deserve at least that.
If nothing else, that is the one thing that we do not share.