I have a twin named Ashley. When I tell people I have a twin, the reaction is generally along the lines of, “There’s another one of you out there somewhere?!” Not exactly. We were born on the same day, but we’re fraternal twins. We are very obviously different people. As babies, we were easy to tell apart even in the same outfit. I was completely bald for a bit and she had lots of brown hair right out of the womb. It was more obvious when I grew bright blonde hair and she got glasses. Something about the word “twins” turns people’s brains off though. Ashley and I were in class together for three years when we started school. Our three kindergarten teachers (it was a strange set-up) basically refused to learn our names. We were refered to as, “OH LOOK, HERE COME THE TWINS! WHICH ONE’S WHICH?! I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU GIRLS APART!” I can’t understand that at all. Not only did we look completely different, but we also acted completely different. Even at that age, we were different people. I could only assume that they were all too lazy to learn which name went where.
As proof of what I’m saying, here are some photos of us as children.
Oh wait, that’s just me. But I can’t think of another reason to show this picture and I was clearly the coolest kid ever.
That’s my twin in the back there. Notice how she’s holding a lizard and I’m apparently a 6 year old hussy. Completely different personalities!
And of course, in the same soccer uniform. MY GOD IT’S UNCANNY HOW ALIKE WE LOOK.
When a new principal came to our school as we were entering third grade, she demanded that all twins be split up into different classes. At the time, I couldn’t understand why it mattered, although I was glad that I wasn’t going to have someone copying off my homework anymore. Now though, I really appreciate her splitting us up. It not only forced people to see us as separate people with different strengths and weaknesses, but also made me and Ashley make our own friends and operate more independantly of each other. It’s easy to count on one person to be there as a companion to the exclusion of all others and as twins, we learned from birth that there would always be another person to confide in and play with. Taking us our of our comfort zones helped us grow as people.
By the time I hit high school, Ashley had been held back a grade and we had our own bffs to hang out with at school and on the weekends. It completely threw me, therefore, when my Ceramics teacher approached Ashley during lunch to yell at her for cutting class all the time (which I never had but it’s a really long, stressful story about sickness). Up until then, I figured my teachers and extended family were just never sure which name was assigned to which kid. Surely they could tell us apart? It’s not like the only difference is a couple of moles in different places. We’re not even the same height or shape! Also, and I hate to bring it up even though it’s really funny, Ashley didn’t shower for about ten years. She had this very carefully cultivated ungodly reek. We were both of the black t-shirt persuasion in high school, but I had much better hygiene and I brushed my hair and I was pretty put out that my teacher (who I’ll never forgive for not being Paul Dinello) couldn’t smell the difference.
Once again, this is Ashley.
And here we are together all growed up.