(My twin sister Amber, the prettiest girl I know!)
People don’t always know that I am an identical twin. This seems funny because the first 18+ years of my life, this was probably the biggest part of my identity.
In fact, people often get angry. “You never told me you were a twin!”
Sorry. Next time I will introduce myself in the following manner, “Hi, I’m Erin. I’m a twin.” --Don’t blame me for thinking I’m weird, though. You asked for it.
Anyway, now that you know, we can move on to more of the juicy details that everyone wants to know.
(One of the weirdest things about being a twin is not always knowing who is who in pictures. My parents are better at this than I! I am confident that I am on the left and Amber is on the right in this one – and that’s Brenna, love the face!)
1. What if you were switched while you were babies and you are really your sister? People seem fairly traumatized by this thought.
-- I guess either way, I’m “Erin” now. And actually, I could never really be my sister now, could I? --Could I?
-- And besides, my parents attempted to prevent this by piercing our ears early on, thus preventing bathtub mix ups.
(I think this was one stage where Amber was the “pretty twin.” I think we are now the “equally pretty” twins)
2. Did you guys always switch places to trick other people?/take each other’s math tests?/do each other’s chores?
-- First, it’s only fun to switch places if someone else knows. I guess there could be some satisfaction in knowing between the two of us, but it didn’t feel like we were getting away with anything when we were so identical a single soul had no idea. Besides, it was hard enough for people to tell us apart, we didn’t think tricking people would help us in any way in establishing our identities.
--Secondly, yes, we did try. The requisite twin switch first occurred in kindergarten. We were pretty smart and getting away with it, but then I also wrote my name on “Amber’s” art project (in very small, five year old handwriting so I’d remember it really was my picture—yes, I was very proud, it must have been quite lovely) my teacher caught on to us. I think we were traumatized (she was mad) because we didn’t try again until junior high school. We switched every class, even band where we played each other’s instruments. Still, wasn’t as fun as you’d think. It was still school. Just more confusing.
--Thirdly, I had my own math tests to take, chores to do, etc. I must not have been smart enough to trick my sister into doing it for me. People forget that having a twin isn’t “having another me running around.” And besides, it’s still cheating, even if it is by the person who shares your DNA!
(I dunno in this one, I would guess I am the “angry twin” in this one. Amber is very rarely the angry twin.)
3. Were people able to tell you apart growing up?
(Luckily my mom didn’t always dress us the same!)
4. Really, they couldn’t?
-- I think I could count the people who could (outside of family), at least until later high school when I had a more established friend circle. For a long time it was Amber, Cami, Miranda, Dan, Andrew, then Rachel, Aaron, Ryan, etc…Some people never could (even after 7 years). Sorry Esther!
Don’t believe me?
At BYU I spent a summer term in Monterey, CA. One of my friends from there ran into “me” on campus afterwards. He was excited to see “me,”
“Erin, how’s it going?”
“Oh I’m sorry, you must know Erin. I’m her sister Amber.”
“Erin, you joker! You are so funny.”
“No, really, my name is Amber, we’re twins. I’m not joking.”
“Whatever, you prankster!”
This went on for some time until I’m told another friend walked by.
“Hey, Erin keeps saying she is her twin sister. Funny, eh?”
“No man, this isn’t Erin. You didn’t know she was a twin?”
I’m sure he felt dumb. Again, my failure to introduce myself as “Hi, I’m a twin” caused an awkward situation for the both of them.
(Doesn’t everyone in my family look alike? People always think Brenna is my twin now, too.)
5. So how DO people tell you apart then?
-- I’m told it’s much easier now (husbands and the whole ‘Amber being a mom and living 1800 miles apart helps’) But here are some things I’ve been told in the past:
Erin: dimples (we were always told, “SMILE!”), “happy” eyes, slightly taller, usually longer hair, green birthmark on forehead (yay, that’s gone!)
Amber: one dimple, “sad” eyes, slightly shorter, shorter hair
And there were other traits that kind of switched from twin to twin, including “the pretty twin,” the fatter faced twin, the quiet twin, the nice twin, etc.
And with that, I leave you with a little advice:
Even if you are trying to find your own special way of telling identical twins apart, it may not be the nicest to voice aloud all of the differences. No one likes being the fat, ugly, quiet, mean, evil, etc, twin.
And quite honestly, I didn’t like hearing those about my twin, either.