By Anabella Schofield
I sat on the edge of the stage, swinging my legs and watching my friends talk. I had arrived late to our youth activity and was on the verge of breaking down from an extremely stressful day. But as usual, I held it all in so no one would notice. The activity planned was a dance-off – something I was not interested in doing at the moment – so instead of joining in, I just watched as my group laughed together. Feeling somewhat excluded and trying not to let tears escape my eyes, I sat quietly, thinking about the five projects due the next day and dreading the late night of work ahead of me.
The rest of the group jumped down from the stage and took their places. One of my friends looked up, noticed me sitting awkwardly by myself, and said, “Hey, come join us!” Part of the heavy weight on my shoulders lifted.
He then paired people up to have a specific part in the dance, calling out their names as he did so.
I smiled, waiting for my friend to call me.
Instead, he glanced at me, confused, and said, “Sorry…I don’t know your name.”
Here I was, standing with someone I’ve known for years, someone who I see nearly every day, and he didn’t even know my name?!
Shocked, I exclaimed, “You…you don’t know who I am?”
He looked embarrassed and muttered, “Sorry, I can’t tell you apart from your sister.”
Feeling deeply hurt and betrayed, I said softly, “I’m Anabella,” and walked over to my spot on the dance floor.
My group performed our two-minute dance to “Stayin’ Alive”, which concluded with me dancing across the stage, smiling at the audience but feeling like I was barely “staying alive”. If my own friend didn’t know who I was, who did?
This is one of countless experiences similar to it. Pretty much on a daily basis, people say: “Um…which twin are you? Anabella or Sofia?” “Who are you again?” “How can I tell you apart? You look exactly alike!”
And every time I think, Please, please just get it right!
Most people see me as only a twin, not an individual. Though I’ve come to accept that as part of my life, it still hurts me when I’m asked that age-old question, “Who are you?” Yes, I am similar to my sister in many ways. We’ll often say the same thing at the same time or think of the same idea. We both love art, music, movies, writing, and photography. But we are not the same person. If you come to know Sofia and I not only as a pair, but individually, you’ll find that we definitely have our differences – not only in how we look, but how we act; our personalities, our style, our preferences.
The reason I’m sharing this is because I want people to understand that even though I am a twin, I am unique. Don’t get me wrong, being a twin is one of the greatest blessings in my life – I have a built-in best friend. 🙂 But I truly, deeply wish that people would learn to see that even though we may be identical twins, we are individuals as well. And isn’t this what we’re all striving for in life, to find the best version of ourselves as an individual?