From the beginning of when I can remember everything has been shared. Birthday parties, celebrations, pictures, graduation day and even small things like a room when I was younger. But I never minded it. Sharing with my twin brother seemed natural and it was almost strange that everyone else didn’t share like we did. But it seemed that everyone else didn’t think that we liked to share with each other.
Throughout my childhood, I remember family and friends poking fun at our shared birthday parties with comments like “Don’t you wish you had your own party? My answer is no. Many of my family members held the idea that sharing everything and ultimately being a twin was wretched and awful. Where they got these ideas I’ll never know. My brother and I enjoyed each other’s company and when asked if we wanted two separate parties upon graduation, we promptly looked at each other and laughed at our father for asking such a silly question. Even though we don’t mind sharing everything, sometimes it’s hard to be seen as your own person. Once a twin, always a twin and one is always labelled as such.
Because of the extreme stereotypes that society has about twins sometimes it’s difficult to break the chains and become an individual and not necessarily a twin. Although everything is shared between us, that’s not the most annoying part of being a twin like everyone else such as family and anyone my brother and I happen upon the street thinks it is. The most troublesome part of being a twin is the constant asking of questions. When you meet someone on the street, the first question to be asked usually is “Who’s older? ”.
Yes, it is interesting to find out which sibling is older, in the case of my brother and I it is me, but many people don’t realize that it is somewhat offending to ask such a question. In his interview, my brother, Dakota Chaney, described that, “It’s annoying to be asked who’s older. It’s always going to be her who is first, but to us it really doesn’t even matter. Why does everyone else care so much? ”. My brother and I have faced this issue our entire lives and even those who are not twins would think the questions would stop when we turned eighteen but this is untrue.
Even today, we still are asked the same question when meeting someone. Blogger David Manly reflects on his childhood in his article entitled, “Mirror Images: Twins and Identity. ” Here, he tells his readers the story of his parents not telling him and his twin brother Daniel which sibling was older. His parents expressed concerns of one twin expressing a seniority over the other and getting a sort of power complex. Whatever the reason, David and Daniel’s parents taught them an important lesson.
Although everyone is concerned about which twin came first, David and Daniel are happy in not knowing. Their not knowing allows them to be able to be themselves, two different and unique individuals with no number weighing them down. They can be who they want to fully with no imaginary number shackling them to the twin stereotype. In my quest of self, I interviewed two twins. One interview was of my own sibling and the other an identical twin that I went to high school with. Dakota Chaney, my twin brother, describes out relationship as being very loving.
He states, “I genuinely care about my sister and I know that she cares about me. It’s not how people think it is. In fact, I think there’s less of a sibling rivalry between us than just regular siblings. ” Dakota’s experiences have contradicted the typical stereotype of it being “so terrible” to have a twin. He says that his sibling relationship is quite enjoyable and not that bad. In fact, Dakota states, “My family and even strangers don’t realize how close we are. I think that sometimes they get confused and mix up our kind of sibling relationship with those who aren’t twins.
Not to reverse stereotype, but siblings who are not twins seem to be more distant and fight a lot more. With my sister and I, this isn’t the case. ” This isn’t to say that twins don’t argue at all. We still have our tiffs, but they are few and far between due to how close we are to each other. Going through the same situations and problems and helping each other find solutions helps twins to become very close and may even contribute to their lack of fighting rather than what most would think of as causing an argument.
Hayley Brown, an identical twin from Cambridge Springs, has had similar experiences to those of Dakota and I. She concludes that her relationship with her sibling is “built on trust” and is “compatible and close. ” To accentuate her feelings, she says that she “wouldn’t give up [her] twin sister for anything in the world. ” Hayley says that the stereotype that she faces the most is the issue of being somehow “connected” to her twin.
“A lot of people believe that Sadie and I are connected in some ay, like, telepathically,” states Hayley, “However cool it may be to think about, we cannot read each other’s minds. I think I speak for many twins when I say that there isn’t any telepathic or magical powers connecting us. We’re just really close sisters. ” This is another stereotype that twins face daily. Yes, twins are close and may be able to accurately guess what their sibling is thinking, but it isn’t with the help of magic or the supernatural.
Being able to “read each other’s mind” comes with paying close attention to each other and learning each other’s feelings, emotions, reactions and personality. One of the last and what I consider to be the most important cliches includes twins being completely the same. Hayley says, “My sister and I both enjoy some of the same things, like running and school, but we definitely aren’t the same. She likes criminal justice and I prefer the medical field, her strong suit is math while mine is English, she likes the indoors while I would rather be outside.
It’s frustrating that people think we are the same. ” This is one of the big stereotypes that most all of society believes including my two non-twin interviewees. Ryan Peters, a nursing student at EUP, says that his relationship with his younger non-twin sister is strained. They do not get along at all and are constantly fighting about the simplest of issues including leaving the bathroom light on in the morning. They “do not mesh” as Peters describes and “do not want to mesh. ” In response to the question “Would you ever want to be a twin? ” his answer is no.
He states “I don’t think I would be able to handle someone doing everything that I liked and wanted to do, like the same things I do and generally act like me. It’s simply not something I’m interested in. ” But where did this stereotype come from? When pressed about the origin of such thoughts, Peters expressed that movies and his own experiences with twins have perpetuated this thinking. Peters remembers a set of twins from school that were identical and acted completely the same except for the fact that one enjoyed volleyball and sports while the other liked school.
Other than this small difference, in Ryan’s mind, these twins were the same in every respect and therefore all twins were completely the same as each other. Looking through the flaws in his logic, Peters is only one of a population that believes that twins all act, look, think and feel the same. Pamela Fierro, a twin expert, expresses that the media and other literature are responsible for feeding the population the preconceived notion that all twins act the same as their counterpart.
These stereotypes are “based on ignorance or a lack of understanding. Jordyn Gregor, a childhood friend from Seneca, shares the opinions of Peters. She states that she “couldn’t imagine a carbon copy of [her] running around,” in response to the questions of if she would want to be a twin. Her perceptions of twins include participating in the same hobbies and having the same interests as well as looking and acting the same. Her opinions reflect the general population yet again, a very frustrating fact from the twin side of things. David Manly describes it being a challenge for twins to make their own way.
Society has all of these checklist expectations that it’s hard for a twin to become an individual who is recognized for their own personal traits and not their twin’s. Although having your close sibling around, sometimes it is necessary to cut the chain, step out of the societal views and become your own person. The societal cliches of being a twin are crucial to my everyday life. Personally, I strive to establish an identity away from my brother. Although we are different in many ways, including gender, the stereotype of having an age difference and having similar likes and personalities still binds us together.
Trying to become an individual and unique person is difficult for both parties in a twin sibling relationship due to the extreme binds that the thoughts of the general population puts on us. It seems that neither one can escape the shadow of the other. The hardest part of this self-exploration was facing the reality that society puts such a generalization on you just because you are a twin. Much of the population looks past the fact that you are a human being and focuses on how many minutes older one twin is over the other and then to add insult to injury tells you that you are the same as your sibling.
Escaping this constant onslaught is challenging and heartbreaking. I think that David Manly put it best when he said, “ ‘There comes a point where I needed, really needed people to know me for me,’ says Elise Milbrandt. ‘I wanted them to know me as Elise, the person who happened to be a twin, not the twin who happened to be named Elise. After all, you don’t want to be twins forever. ’” Although we are twins, we are unique individuals too.