I was born on November 17 2003 at 4:44pm.
My sister was born on November 17 2003 at 4:45pm.
That makes us twins: fraternal twins to be more specific. For those of you who may not know, fraternal twins result from the fertilisation of two separate eggs, whereas identical twins stem from the same egg split in two. Simply put, we are siblings born at the same time. Having twins was not a complete shock to my family – my Grandad is a fraternal twin too, except they are boy-girl twins, and I’m a girl-girl twin. When I asked my mum how she felt about having twins, she said: “I felt blessed.” When I asked my dad, he said that he remembered thinking: “We’re going to need a bigger car!”
My sister and I were born three months early (yes, you heard me correctly). We were born on World Prematurity Day, which is undoubtedly the biggest coincidence ever. We weighed roughly 2 lbs each and had to stay in tiny little incubators for quite a while until we were released into the real world. When we first went to school, my mum requested that we be placed in separate classes. I’m not entirely sure why, but it was probably to reduce confusion and to make sure we wouldn’t mess around. Ironically, my sister and I decided to become friends with another set of twins in our year, which I think just made it even more confusing. Something about our bond seemed so much more different than our other friends, and I’m sure we will remain friends for life.
Being a twin forces you to associate all of your life with one another – your personality, hobbies, even your appearance
As you’re probably aware, (most) twins share the same birthday. When we were younger, arguments were common on the odd occasion when we had to share our birthday cake and the subsequent blowing out of the candles. Along with birthday cards addressed to both of us, we’d usually receive the same birthday presents in different colours. My colour was always blue, and my twins’ was always red. I’d get a blue pencil case, she’d get a red one. I’d get a blue race car, she’d get a red one. Apparently, this is common amongst twins, as our friends who are twins told us that they were assigned colours when they were younger too.
Being twins, we have had to deal with MANY questions over the years. To name a few of these questions: Are you twins? Which one’s older? Do you ever trick people? How do people tell you apart? Do you have twin telepathy? Have you ever switched places? Who’s the good twin, and who’s the evil twin? What’s it like being a twin? Can you feel each other’s pain?
Having a built-in best friend from birth (even arguably before that) has made me the best version of myself
Though I am very grateful for my twin, it has come with its struggles. Many people assume that we are the same person and act in the same way. In reality, we are two individuals with our own interests and hobbies. We are constantly referred to as ‘The Twins’ or ‘The Girls,’ even though we have separate names and identities. Even when people attempt to name us, it is usually wrong anyway. As we have a shared experience in relation to this, I asked my own twin what she thought was the biggest problem about our unique relationship: “Being a twin forces you to associate all of your life with one another – your personality, hobbies, even your appearance. Essentially you lose that all-important sense of individuality.”
Joining university was probably one of the best solutions to this problem. We now live in completely different counties, study completely different degrees, and associate ourselves with people who don’t even know that we are twins. In a way, university has sort of been a liberating experience in terms of expressing our unique individual identities.
Don’t get me wrong, I would not change being a twin for the world. Having a built-in best friend from birth (even arguably before that) has made me the best version of myself. Having someone who’s always there to back you up and support you through everything has helped me a lot in life. Whenever my twin and I are out in public and see people walking alone, we always wonder, how can you not live without a twin? It is a defining part of our lives – I wouldn’t know who I’d be without my twin. I would probably be much quieter and far lonelier. At the end of the day, we really don’t mind people getting us mixed up or asking the most bizarre questions about our lives, as it reminds us of how special our relationship is with one another.