Today is our birthday. That's right -- our birthday. I'm lucky enough to share my big entrance into this world with my twin sister Jess, and have never really considered using a singular pronoun to announce this day. It has always been "our" day, just like it's always been our room, our first day of school, our shared sweet sixteen car, and our graduation day. Everything up until adult life was done together, and I'm happy to report that we're the better for it.
We've long believed that the world would be a better place if everyone had a twin. World peace would instantly ensue. Broken hearts would instantly mend, worldviews would change, and everyone would be better at sharing. This is literally one of the first things I'm going to ask God when I get to heaven. Right before I ask if I can visit Jess in a dream and let her know if there's baseball in heaven, 'cause we made a pact when we were seven and I'm not about to be the loser who breaks it.
So in honor of my better half (sorry husband Josh), I'm sharing an incomplete list of why we wish everyone in this world had a twin.
One of our the first birthdays we can recall without narratives from our parents.
You're never alone.
Ever. You always have a buddy. There is always someone to play with, to imagine with, to be silly with. You don't ever get bored because someone else has their own ideas of fun and you play those for awhile. It's the best. Never being alone also allows you to be braver -- kindergarten is not so scary, and trying out for a sport is much less intimidating. Jessica and I were such outgoing children because we had the built-in feature of a buddy. We were never alone, and it provided a safety net that allowed us to reach farther than we otherwise would have on our own. There's also zero peer pressure, because if someone doesn't like me, well that's OK. I'm not changing who I am or what I like to be your friend; I already have one.
There's also the flip side to that: you're NEVER alone. We shared a bedroom until we were sixteen, meaning we had zero personal space. Ah, character building at it's finest. You want your kids to learn how to share clothes, toys, space, and even silence? Leave them in a 12'x12' box for sixteen years. We fought and screamed our way through those formative years, and came out on the other side full of patience, compassion, generosity, and the ability to intuitively understand someone else's needs and consistently put those needs first. I always thought this prepped me for college and my twenties and roommates, but it has especially helped in marriage.
You don't compare yourself with others.
I once had coffee with an amazing twenty-something who knew how well my sister and I got on. She sat me down specifically to ask about comparison and envy, and why I seemed to lack it. She herself came from a large family of girls who were as different as night and day, each with their own sets of talents and interests. Comparison was a huge struggle for her, and she was always fighting the urge to do better than her sisters, or be prettier than her sisters, or make better grades. She wanted to know why I didn't seem to ever harbor a bitter thought towards my sister. I blinked for several seconds, my mind turning a mile a minute as I tried to figure out a way to tell this beautiful girl that comparison was not a battle that I'd fought and overcome, but simply a battle I'd never faced.
You see, we're identical twins. We experienced the same childhood with the same resources and the same opportunities. We both started out with the same lump of clay, and no one had an upper hand or better gifts. Every difference that developed between us was a choice. A happily conscious decision was made to choose different paths. I chose sports, she chose to read. I chose dance, she chose law. I chose creativity, she chose education. This doesn't at all mean that I don't like to read (I read like its my job) or that she has no rhythm (the girl can MOVE). What it does mean is that we chose different areas to develop and master. I have a different job, a different sort of beauty, a different income, and a different LIFE than someone who is JUST LIKE ME. And guess what -- I really like what Jess has done with her life. It's so different from mine, yet winning all the same. She's spectacular. It's not like one of us ended up as Miss America while the other is living under a bridge somewhere. I can be confident in my decisions as well as hers, which means no one is better or best. We both win.
So here's the bottom line: even if this amazing friend did a little Jamie Lee Curtis Freaky Friday action with one of her sisters, she'd still choose a different path than her sister is currently taking. Even with a "better" figure or a "better" mind she'd make alternate choices, so it's just plain exhausting to spend even a minute of your life comparing your beauty with someone else's or your talents with someone else's. If you had their beauty, you'd just be different than the current you. But not better or happier.
I wish that all women were able to experience the freedom that comes from being completely happy with who they are and what they look like. Just think about the power and unity that would result if all that wasted energy were directed towards loving ourselves and truly celebrating others! I'm telling you, it would happen if we all had a twin.
About the time we made the Heaven pact.
You already know your biggest fan.
You don't spend a minute looking for the president of your fan club. She's been holding office since the womb. She knows what to do when you're feeling down, and when you need indulgence and comfort. She also knows when to kick you in the proverbial pants and tell you to stop whining you wimpy baby and do your job! She helps you move into every house you've ever lived in (we're clearly talking about me in this scenario; Jessica has been conveniently out of the state every. time. I. move).
Your project is her project. Your goal is her goal. She wants you to win just as much as you want to win, and that kinda support is hard to come by. I can't tell you all the hours Jess has spent helping me prep for a runway, or editing web content, or driving hours across state lines to lend her expertise in a project. My wedding day was magical because my sister knew just what to do and how to help. I'm totally invested in her students, and even have two of their names written in a frame to remind me to pray for them every day. We cheer one another on, lend all the support we can, and believe in one another WAY more than we believe in ourselves. I'd like to think this is how parents feel about their children, only we don't roll our eyes at each other when the pep talk commences. Having this amount of constant love and support always keeps the cup overflowing, making us better friends, wives, and leaders.
Jessica's wedding day!
I could go on and on as to why you need a twin, but I think you get the gist. I can't do life all alone, and Jess is my person. She is so good at being my person! So until I can talk God into giving everyone a twin, the rest of you single births will just have to make do. Find a person, and make sure they're really good at it. Be a really good person to someone else. Stop comparing yourself to others. Be brave. Go after something with wild intent as if there's a safety net beneath you. And believe in someone more than they believe in themselves because trust me, they need it.