This I Believe

Tirion - Cornelius, North Carolina
Entered on May 23, 2007

Similar but Different

I once read a book by Jim Wooten called We Are All the Same. Wooten tells a powerful story about a young boy who is dying of AIDS but Nkosi, the boy in the story, teaches the world that people with AIDS are people and, in the end, that we are really all the same. I believe even though we share the human condition, we are different.

As a twin, every day someone asks me, “Where’s your other half?” “Which one are you?” “Is one of you smarter than the other?” It’s not that I don’t understand what people are trying to do, but when these questions are asked, it makes me believe that they don’t see me as a different person than my twin sister. I believe in the individual. I believe we are all different from one another. I believe that is good. Diversity makes the world more interesting.

I like being a twin. I even like dressing like my sister and looking like my sister, but I believe that we should be treated as individuals. We are not the same person. We deserve to be called by our own names, not “twins,” “twinny,” or “ducky 1 and ducky 2.” Our parents and close friends know us apart. Sure, they get us mixed up sometimes and call us the wrong name, but they respect our differences and we respect them.

My mom encourages us to dress differently (although we rarely do), have different friends, and be involved in different activities. When we were four, my mom took us each out by ourselves to do something with her to celebrate our birthday. I got my hair done up like a bride and went to JC Penny to get my picture taken. My sister went and painted a pot with my mom. My mom knew we were different and she allowed us to express ourselves in our own way.

Although my twin and I share a special bond – we can finish each other’s sentences, think each other’s thoughts, share the same dreams, and say things at the same time – we are individuals. As competitive swimmers, I am a butterflier; she is a breaststroker. I am not good at navigating; she is. I can’t work the DVD player; she can. I like to talk to people; she is more shy. I like different clothes. I put up my hair differently. I write differently. I am an individual. I have a right to be who I am — independent of my sister. I am me and she is she. That is a good thing.