From the womb to the tomb

Emily+and+Rachel+Dvareckas+as+toddlers.+Growing+up%2C+they+were+always+told+they+looked+the+same.

Courtesy of Emily Dvareckas

Emily and Rachel Dvareckas as toddlers. Growing up, they were always told they looked the same.

Emily Dvareckas, Photo Editor

Which one are you? I have heard this question so many times during the past 21 years that I have begun to expect it. Being a twin will always have its perks though. I have a built-in best friend for life and someone who knows me better than I know myself.

 

Growing up, I always had a friend to play with and I never had to nervously ask someone to be my partner. I would not trade my twin for the world and I honestly do not know if I would be able to survive without her.

We have always done everything together. Whether it was softball, figure skating, soccer, basketball or field hockey, we have always been interested in the same activities and hobbies.

 

We have basically been connected at the hip and often are viewed as one person. I have accepted that I will be called the wrong name and will answer to either Emily or Rachel because I find it easier to go by Rachel than to correct the person.

 

I often make the joke that my sister and I are the same person but as I get older, it has become harder to figure out who I am without my sister. We go everywhere together — if one of us does not want to go somewhere, we both do not go.

 

I have been actively trying to separate myself in the slightest ways, by going somewhere like a friend’s room even if she does not want to go. To that point, we have the same friends and always have, and even they will tell us that they think of us as one person and not two separate people. We are always referred to as “the twins,” even within our family.

 

All of this contributes to my struggle of finding myself because I am no one without my twin sister. I know I need to find who I am before I go into the real world so I do not find myself lost. We both study at RWU but we went into two very different majors, and it was the first time we actually went down different paths, although we do participate in the same extracurriculars.

 

We grew up thinking we were fraternal twins but people always liked to question us because they thought we looked so much alike. We only recently found out we could be identical, but I do not think we look identical. I do not understand how people think we look so similar, especially now as adults.

 

When I was 15, I got a terrible concussion and remained symptomatic for 10 months. It left me with multiple lasting effects, one being weakened eyes. So, when I was 18, I got glasses. That was the first time I had a distinguishing characteristic.

 

I thought the glasses would be my saving grace beyond making it not hurt to see. Even though I thought my sister and I looked different before the glasses, I thought they would help people recognize that I am Emily and not Rachel.

Somehow, they were not enough and I still end up having to tell people which one I am. The glasses are not the only thing that make me different though. I have dyed hair, which I have had since I was 13, as well as a nose ring.

What more do I have to do for people to remember that I am Emily and I am my own person?