Tuesday, July 27, 2010

See It Split, See It Change

The title of this post precisely describes my sister and I. You see people split, you see people change. My twin sister and I have split on an emotional/personal plane when we were 16 years old and physically split since we were 19 years old. A mere 5-8 years of our lives and yet we are completely different people. I have been reading Abigail Pogrebin's One And The Same, a book about twins and how they are alike, how they're different, how they react to one other's presence, etc.

Throughout reading the book, I kept thinking to myself about how interesting it is to read about how much of a bond these twins have that were interviewed for the book... how they finish each other's sentences, get in similar lines of work and cannot stand living too far apart from one another. Some of them even LIVE together into their later years. I started to question why my own twin sister and I didn't have a similar bond to the ones I read about.

The author looked into some twins studies results and these particularly interested me:

Aggression: mostly genetic
moderately inheritable

Bipolar disorder: identical twins more concordant
identical twins who stay more in touch live longer than identical twins who don't

strongly genetic component

strong genetic link

50 percent genetic

identical twins are more similar to each other than fraternal twins and become more alike in intelligence as they age. Dr. Nancy Segal cites the finding that "identical twins are nearly as alike in IQ as the same person tested twice."

Job choice: identical twins choose more similar careers than fraternal twins
Left-handedness: more frequent among identical twins
Loneliness: 50 percent of identical twins and 25 percent of fraternal twins shared similar characteristics
mostly genetic

Sleep patterns:
identical twins are more similar than fraternal

Social life:
the identical twin who has a tight-knit social circle is in better overall physical health than the one who doesn't

I found the job choice similarity particularly interesting. Mostly because Lisa and I are on completely two different planes with our jobs/social lives/lifestyles. I know that not ALL twins choose similar careers, but that's where the question for me of nature vs. nurture comes to me because it seems so obvious that career paths are not inherent but they are made. My sister went to Boston University and majored in International Relations, Economics and Spanish. She now works for a notable senator in Washington DC and lives what I would like to think as my 23 year old self, a very grown up lifestyle. I on the other hand, transferred from Boston University to Emerson College and majored in Film Production with a minor in Photography. I currently work for Newbury Comics as a fashion buyer and continue to have similar lifestyle patterns from college. This just goes to show much environment matters to people as they are growing older.

When I was 16 years old, I was taking the SATs the first weekend of May in my junior year of high school. I made the conscious decision that day that I wanted to smoke pot for the first time. I believe this choice is what really divided us physically for the first time. I think I just got sick of the pressure of perfection that I felt from my family. I also stopped having the need to compete with my sister so instead I choose to rebel in the most extreme way I knew how. I started hanging out with a crowd my twin sister didn't understand nor conversed with. It was the first time I had my own set of friends and did things separately from Lisa and it was invigorating to have people know me for who I am as an individual rather than as a set. My values changed pretty quickly and severely. Suddenly getting all A's didn't matter so much. The tension at home got worse because my family didn't understand what was happening to me or what I was doing.

As kids we were the best of friends. We would play with our Barbies and if someone as so much entered the room we would promptly yell at them and kick them out (them being my grandmother, mother or father). They were not hurt by our reaction. They in fact enjoyed it. They loved seeing how much we loved and cared for one another, because back then there was nothing to compare each other about. There was no competition. Our competitive nature came out more in middle school when my mom put us both in rhythmic gymnastics and there was a clear division between the two of us. That division was then more apparent in our grades, our attitudes, our appearances... we were compared to the other about everything and it drove me crazy. I just needed to cut out my own little piece of this world for myself.

Lisa simply decided to choose a more socially-acceptable path (a path that is well understood by my parents and peers) and I diverted to art/film. I still feel the judgement from my family for making this choice just because they simply don't understand it and do not make the effort to understand it. So basically I found it interesting how much our environments changed us. My mom both raised us the same, threw us in the same activities etc, but it was the people I surrounded myself with that changed me, which I suppose one can say is an innate decision I made. I just chose a lifestyle that is a bit more of a risk which I think I may be the one who has taken the greatest risks in my family. My sister certainly would not have chosen this lifestyle because of the risk of not being able to pay bills on time etc.

I'm happy to say I wouldn't change any of it. Every experience I have had greatly benefited me and made me understand more about what I want out of life. I originally thought we would be more similar (and frankly we are still EXTREMELY similar in our mannerisms, stubborn nature, etc), but our values are polar opposites and that is what ultimately separates us now.

No comments:

Post a Comment