Twin individuality: Only half of a cookie


Joel Garibay

Twins and the split cookie represents their identity split.

“Be yourself.” 

“You are your own person.”

“Being you is what makes you special.” 

These are all things we all hear from everyone around us as we grow up. We all believe these sayings that are told to us because no one is like me or you. No one talks like you, speaks like you or is anything like you. For a twin, it’s none of those when you have a living mirror with you all the time.

These are things we hear as we grow up. We believe them because we hear them so often. The mindset of believing you are unique is so ingrained in our culture. It is hard to believe these when I have a walking mirror with me all the time.

Being a twin myself, I understand the distinct mentality that twins develop at an early age that separates their particular beliefs from those of others. Twins struggle to see themselves as they grow up, learning how they are different from others and discovering who they are. We are forced to conform to stereotypes, labels, and boxes.

According to Scientific American,”The worst part is that people really do believe that you are the same person.” 

How was I supposed to grow up to be myself when I was always being told I was someone else?

Hearing people confuse me with my twin brother when I was a kid did a lot more damage than most people realize. After being called your twins’ name innumerable times, your own name no longer feels like your own. It appears that you are nothing more than a shadow of your sibling. If I had to describe how it felt to be called my twin’s name, it felt like a borrowed one that overshadowed mine. It felt like my name wasn’t my own.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine,”The researchers interviewed 20 older twins between 78 and 90 years old about their lives as twins. While these siblings talked about classic twin love—the devastation at the loss of a twin, the lifelong friendship—the subjects also spent a lot of time talking about how different they were. Many of them expressed the desire to have a separate identity from their twin—to show that they were individuals.”

Growing up, misconceptions like feeling my twin’s pain or reading each other’s minds were factors that contributed to me desiring to be independent or different from my twin brother. Because of all these factors I felt like I was pushed to create my own identity. I was tired of being told I’m someone else. I wanted to be me. I wanted to be Joel.

My twin brother, senior Jesus Garibay, shared his thoughts about being a twin. 

“I don’t necessarily know sometimes what it means to my own person, at least at such a young age, the more I grow up the older I get especially now I feel like I do know who I am, most recently, being away from my twin. But, you know, when you’re growing up you’re always known, you’re not really being your own person in a sense, especially if you spend a lot of time with them at school and you’re in the same classroom.”

Every twin struggles with finding themselves as they grow up. Your twin is with you from the moment you’re born, so it can become difficult to find out who you are without them. Your twin is with you everywhere you go starting from when you are born. 

To really understand the identity crisis of a twin let me paint a picture. Imagine everyone in a room is given their own cookie to eat and enjoy. Twins are given one cookie for the both of them to share together. As everyone enjoys their whole cookie, me and many other twins are left not fully satisfied with a “cookie” that isn’t completely ours. That cookie is our identity.  

As hard as finding an identity can be as a twin, being a twin isn’t a curse. Its a blessing too.

The negatives of being a twin may be a weak identity and constant stereotypes but there are also blessings that come with it. 

Freshman twin Jeslyn Rodriguez shared her thoughts on the connection between her and her twin sister. 

She said, “I kinda feel like with her, we’re just like going through the same thing at the same time. And she can help me and I can help her.”  

Twins can always fall back on each other when life gets tough/difficult. There have been numerous occasions where my brother has been there when I needed him the most. He is my best friend and I can say without a doubt that is the blessing of being a twin. 

Freshman twin Abigail Vu said, ”I never really knew that we had such a unique bond until I got older. And my twin and I always have this special connection. I guess even though we fight a lot, we really have this special bond.”

The connection that twins have together is something that is unbreakable. You’re born with life long struggles of individuality but you are born with something even bigger. A life long best friend. Someone that is always there for you, no matter what.