Finding Your Identity When You're An Identical Twin
Which one’s which? Nobody knows...and nobody really cares.
That’s the life of a twin. You get packaged and branded as a set. Nobody seems to realize that it's hurtful when they get your names wrong and then say that "it’s all the same" and it "doesn’t really matter." We eventually get mad at some point and start to distance ourselves from our twin. We establish personalities and forge our own path, making sure that it is far away from that of our sibling’s.
Twins create a personality instead of finding it. We have to, especially so we can survive in a sea of people who don’t care about looking at us as anything but a set. If we don’t create our own interests, then everything goes haywire. For example, my sister and I are known as cute and deadpan. If we stray from our places in society, somebody is bound to say "Hey, that’s Love’s thing, isn’t it?"
Everybody on Earth has problems with identity, but identical twins take the brunt of it because we are identical genetically. We are clones of each other. Being a twin forces us to create our own identity, to create our own interests for the sake of being regarded as an individual. Twins end up liking different things or establishing personality traits such as the "quieter" one and the "girlier" one, but people still somehow get us mixed up. Our identities never seem to solidify because people never know who we are, and we are letting them create and mark our place in society.
Here's the issue: We can’t force identity and other people’s perceptions of us to actually shape who we are. They will always get our names wrong, or talk to us as an entity. Being a twin has made me realize this. As for the rest of the world, singletons, the same holds true. Somebody’s perceptions can’t change what we think of ourselves. My sister and I have accepted that people will misunderstand us or take us for the wrong person—we’ve given up on desperately trying to forge our own paths so that people will understand us and separate us. We can’t force others to see us as we see ourselves; that just ends in mistaken identities and confusion.
Instead, we’ve given ourselves our own identities. Our worth and our stature, how we identify ourselves, comes solely from inside and not from anyone else. We’ve stopped letting it matter when others say that one’s girlier or the other’s more talkative. Because, let’s face it—right when we think that we’ve distanced ourselves as much as possible, and developed our own ways of thinking and insight, someone will make a mistake and call me by my sister’s name.
Being a twin has allowed us to realize that our identity changes all the time and is only truly marked by ourselves. It has also helped us discover this a lot sooner in life than others. I hope you'll take this sentiment to heart and start placing value in who you are as a person, in how you define yourself, and how you help those around you (instead of waiting for someone to categorize you wrongly). The issue with identity, it seems, is that we are not defining ourselves but letting others choose how we are identified. It is time to take it back and give ourselves our own meaning and identity.
By Love Tsai, 16