What’s it Like to be a Twin?
Being a twin is an incredible way to go through life. I joke with people that I highly recommend it and they should try and get one if possible. As a twin you are always asked what’s it like to be one. You have someone who has been by your side most of your whole existence. There is something very special to having a witness to your life. When we were growing up I was the only twin I knew. We were a cool/freak of nature team. Now I see so many twins. It’s so fun. I am always running up to the parents saying, “I am a twin too!” Parents of twins are always asking advice and thoughts. There are a few things I have learned from being a twin.
As a twin I always knew that close relationships are the most meaningful thing in life. I know most people probably believe that. However as a twin you know it, deep in your soul. You don’t have to figure it out later in life. I have always been lucky to be able to search out and find close friendships. I have always put a high value on closeness. I guess you can say I always knew what it took to be a good friend and I always knew what a good friend should be like. Being born with your best friend will push you to find your tribe of people who you connect to best with.
I don’t have much experience with loneliness. I am extremely luck to have come into life with the ultimate cheerleader. When I am nervous, scared or excited she is the one I want to talk it all out with. I remember having a boyfriend who said, “Its hard to be in a relationship where you know you are not going to be the 1st person you’re going to call.” We broke up. My sister has had similar discussions with her boyfriends in the past as well. I think it’s hard for some to come into a relationship with someone who has such closeness with another person already. But really it just makes us able to be better connected to other relationships in our lives.
As a twin you are always compared. This is hard. Know one likes to be compared and especially to someone who is the closest person to you. Some of the comparisons are small and seem insignificant. Others can be rude. I remember a few years ago at a family gathering a woman said to my sister, “you are the one who is single and doesn’t have a kid, right?” As a twin maybe you end up being a bit more accepting because you have been judged so much in your life. From the time you are born people are innocently trying to figure out how to tell you apart. And that means comparing any and everything.
When Mica and I were little we had our own twin language. This is somewhat common for identical twins. We didn’t have any real need to speak to anyone else. People are always interested to know about if she can read each other’s minds or feel each other’s pain. The reality is I have been with my sister my whole life. We were together before birth! I know her VERY well. It’s like your oldest dearest friend from childhood times 100 plus the genetic. Its super special and particular but I do think non-twins can sometimes think about this analogy and imagine it a bit.
There are some hiccups to a twin relationship. There is a time of differentiation, which occurs, and it can be painful. Its normal, natural, and even healthy but can be a very challenging time for twins. But it is a wonderful thing to come out the other end and be connected. But it’s hard to go through the challenge of breaking into adulthood and independence and walking away from a safe and sacred situation. However now we are able to be closer and more authentic.
I was born into life with a best friend and its awesome. It’s probably as awesome as what all of you non-twins are imagining. It’s beyond fun. It’s amazing. I have heard that when you have a child you realize you have never known love like it. As a twin and a mother of an amazing daughter I think as a twin you are born knowing what that love feels like. I didn’t have to wait to feel it. Its like I have two parts of my heart outside of my body. One for my sister and one for me daughter. (And I have a fantastic husband who has part of it too!)
Originally published in the Huffington Post.