From womb to tomb – the story of a twin
Growing up as a twin is not what it looks like in the movies; it’s so much better
Being a twin is more than just having a built-in best friend, despite what everyone may think. There are certainly good things like never having to grow up alone; there are also bad things like always being known as a pair and rarely known as individuals. For me, being a twin has fueled my drive since the day I was born and everything that I strive to accomplish is for the sake of my twin brother.
When looking at us side by side, especially in the present, you would probably never guess that we are twins. He is over six feet tall, has a broader build, and facial hair which definitely makes him look a lot older. Meanwhile I come in at an outstanding 5’8” with a small frame, and a face that would fool anyone on my actual age. Surprise, I am the older one out of the two of us, and I enjoyed those brief ten minutes out in the world as an only child – or so I like to tell people.
Unlike most twin pairings, my brother, Alex, and I are a little bit different than most. He was diagnosed with autism when we were very young which has ultimately shaped not only who he is, but who I am as a result. It is glaringly obvious that we have a bond that does not exist between other siblings – whether it is my ability to help calm him down if he is getting overwhelmed or knowing what he wants just by seeing the look on his face, it is something I can only describe as our “twin-tuition.”
Now for me, having this driving force of my brother behind me has motivated a lot of what I have done throughout my life, pushing me to try things I otherwise think I would not have bothered with so he could have the opportunity to come to the events and to watch the action, even while knowing that he could not participate if he wanted to. One of us should have the experience at the very least, while providing an opportunity for the other to enjoy it all the same.
As a result, our interests have lined up remarkably well. Typically, you run into twins that are either the exact same and literal copies of one another or they wind up to be so vastly different in every way. I think we have been able to find a wonderful middle ground. The most significant and noteworthy area of interest that we have both found is music. However, we have not developed this passion in the same way. Yes, we both grew up driving around in the car with our mother while she played the radio or whatever CD was her favourite at the time until we fell asleep in the backseat (certainly, more effective than sleeping medication, that is for sure), or listening to evening polka nights on the TV at our grandparents’ house, but that passion manifested itself differently in both of us. Alex developed the love of listening to music: from rock to country, all the way to jazz, he will listen to it all and enjoy every minute of it. Meanwhile, I took to playing and being a part of the creation of music. Concert bands, jazz bands, and even marching band – I have been placed behind a band stand for many years of my life. Although it looks very different, the ways in which we enjoy this activity compliment the other very well – that is until he informs me that I am not sounding good that day.
Although he never asked to be the way he is, I would not change him for the world. It may not look the same as everyone else, but watching someone grow and develop in a way that is not traditional is truly fascinating and inspiring. He reminds me every day of our lives that it does not matter who you are or what you look like, what matters is the smile and joy you are able to bring to those around you.
When asked why I work as hard as I do and push myself in the ways that I do, my answer will always come back to my twin brother. There are a million stories that I could share showing the strength and the joy that he possesses, and I push myself in the hope that I will make him as proud of me as I am of him.
Growing up and loving someone who is the physical embodiment of everything that is good and positive in life makes it extremely difficult to not want to do everything in your power to make the world better and brighter for him. Regardless of what happens in my life, I know that he will be there – waiting for me to come over so he can give me his toothy grin and a high five. And let me tell you, an unprompted high five will never feel more meaningful. The life of a twin is certainly an eventful one, and I would not be who I am today without my wombmate.