Dear twin sister
How do you like being a twin? And how does it feel like being a twin? Haha, it must be weird getting this question from me! I was reading my old emails last night, and I came upon this email exchange between Dr. Joan Friedman and me, and it was like…I don’t know how to phrase it, but it felt like meeting a high school teenager who was torn between being so attached to her twin sister and desperately wanting to find her own identity! And yes, that was me, back in high school! Honestly, I almost forgot about that identity crisis phase I was going through!
Dr. Joan Friedman is a twin expert, and I was very lucky to have found her on the internet. At the time, I was doing a project on twins for my Theory of Knowledge (ToK) class as part of the IB program. I wanted to find out how society’s perspective on twins affected me as a twin. I had finished my research on the nature science part about the link between genes and personalities, and I wanted to learn more about the human science/psychology area, so that’s when I reached out to Dr. Friedman. She helped me a lot with my project and we kept in touch by emails.
(Dr. Friedman’s book on parenting twins She sent me two chapters of it to help me out on my project. She sure knows a lot about twins, especially being an identical twin herself and having two fraternal twin sons. She has a new book on adult twins coming out next year and I can’t wait to read it!)
In my email, I said that I never felt stressed about being a twin until high school. I mentioned that it was when my grade started to drop and you were always seem to be the “smart one” But then I said I understood our differences and was proud to have “more friends“. Haha! I think it was only because you had a boyfriend and I had just broken up I also mentioned that I felt annoyed when people always saw us one and called us “the Lin twins“, or when people kept overemphasizing how cute it was when we dressed up similarly…
Of course, when it came to applying to colleges, I struggled because I didn’t want to go to the same college as you. I was ready to be known as “Nora” and not “Sharon’s twin”, you know, to be seen and to experience as a “singleton” instead of “one of the twins”. I wanted to have the chance to shine on my own and not have the constant pressure of competition and comparison. I talked about how I was annoyed when you said you were also interested in art history and museums (What? Really? I totally forgot about it until I read my own email). We were definitely very sensitive about “copying each other” back then haha. However, I also felt sad when you said you wanted to be separated from me...What a hypocrite, right?
In Dr. Friedman’s response, she said that “twin siblings are often torn between their love and loyalty to their twin as well as their resentment, frustration, and hatred. Twin siblings feel very guilty and confused about having such strong and conflicting feelings toward the person they feel most connected to.“ Aww! She comforted me and told me to not feel bad about being upset with you, because “it has nothing to do with loving your sister.”
Like every other teenager, I struggled to gain my sense of identity. But as a twin, it was more difficult because I wanted people to know who I was rather than having an identity based upon being a twin or being defined as different from my twin. I think that pressure was always there but I just never really noticed it until high school. And I have to say, maybe that pressure wasn’t a bad thing. We were always there to motivate each other At the same time though, I really lacked confidence because I always thought you were much smarter haha. Now that I think about it, I’ve changed so much I’m so glad that I’ve passed that insecure and not-knowing-who-I-am phase! :’)
Twins aren’t the same and genes don’t mean everything. Honestly, I don’t mind anymore when people call us “the twins“, or when people think we look alike. I think it’s cute! I never think I get less attention because I have to share it with you. In fact, I think we’ve always been the center of attention because we are twins! And, our 4 years of college being apart from each other proved that we could shine on our own simply because of who we are
I think a lot of times, it’s the society (and maybe even relatives) that puts the pressure on twins. They expect twins to be equally smart and equally talented…Anyways, I just wanna say, I feel so happy being a twin! Being a twin is great because you always have someone to turn to. When I was in high school, I struggled to find my own identity, but now I’ve realized that being a twin IS part of my identity and there is nothing wrong with that.
We are twins. We might look alike but we are two individuals, and we are also best friends who share the same parents and same birthday :) I also believe that twins have this bond that’s not the same between “normal” siblings! (We all know that there are lots of crazy long-lost twins stories out there!) I love you so much What are YOUR story about being a twin?
If interested, please read my blog post on the most frequently asked questions about twins! Click here