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How Growing Up with a Twin Changed My Life

Trent is one of the most brilliant human beings and one of the biggest pains that you’ll ever meet. He and I hated each other; I mean hate in the way that most people mean hate, not nearly to the full extent of the word. It’s more of a gentle dislike for someone that’s generally overwhelmed by love. Trent is my twin brother and I’ve never lived a day without him. Really though, we’ve existed together from conception. Ever since he dented my head in the womb and I almost had to wear a helmet to reshape it, we’ve been best friends and worst enemies.

Apparently, Trent and I shared our own language when we were babies. One of us would goo-goo-ga-ga and the other would goo-goo-ga-ga back, hand motions and all. Our favorite word was “hammat”, which is the name of a city mentioned in the Bible but probably meant something completely unrelated in our minds. My dad is still frustrated that he couldn’t crack the code. In kindergarten, I often spoke for Trent in front of teachers. It happened so much that they made notes on my comment cards home to my parents about it (I reread them recently out of some crazy nostalgia). In elementary school, we’d dedicate entire fall evenings to making up games on the playground, pretending to be pirates sailing to an island, and burying our spoils. Then we’d go inside and twist each other’s arms until we screamed or bend each other’s thumbs back impossibly far. In middle school, we grew apart and suddenly halted most communication. I’m sure it had to do with the divergence between female and male maturity during adolescence, or maybe we were trying to learn how to be our own individuals. Until our senior year of high school, there was a disconnect between us. We rarely interacted in positive ways; it was mostly to express annoyance. I felt like there was something vital missing. It’s sappy, but it’s utterly true. Not having Trent fully in my life was a source of frustration and loneliness.

As many parents will tell you, their children grow closer when they reach college. Being physically separated from Trent revamped the nature of our relationship. We were living in separate places for the first time, and we no longer had the luxury of seeing each other every day. I missed his quirks and his annoying habits, and I really missed his special sort of wisdom. I realized how deeply ingrained he is in my life. Most twins will tell you that they can sense things about each other and some twins will even tell you that they share thoughts. Without Trent, I might not be as mellow. I might be hyper-active and annoying and crazy in a bad and over-the-top kind of way. Trent was not afraid to let me know when I was acting insane since he’s a very level-headed kind of dude. I might not be able to talk to and deal with guys as well as I can. Trent’s given me the male lens to look through, and I can empathize well with other guys. I appreciate that about myself and I appreciate him so much for teaching me these things without even trying. Without Trent, I might not feel so understood; actually, I’m sure I wouldn’t. Even when we weren’t close, I knew that we were going through very similar, if not the same, things. I knew that if I needed someone to talk to, he would always be there, even begrudgingly.

Some of the things that I love about myself stem, in part, from growing up with a twin brother. We missed a few years of adolescence to be real buddies, but he’s one of my closest friends now. I’ll thank him ‘till the end of time for who knows what. I know there’s something I should thank him for that just doesn’t want to fit into words. Maybe that’s where “hammat” comes from.

Images courtesy of Lauren Weiss

Lauren is a spiritual, sarcastic science-geek from just outside of Philadelphia, PA. She studies cellular & molecular biology with a minor in writing at the University of Michigan. She's been labeled an "old soul" but can also demonstrate a lack of adult-like qualities. When she's not furiously taking notes in a lecture hall or blogging, you might find her practicing yoga, being unproductive with her roommates, reading, drawing, or meditating. Or watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a big bag of popcorn in her lap. Or looking at pictures of her dogs and wishing that her parents would ship them to Ann Arbor.
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