The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

Reflections on Perfection

My twin tension

My first time competing was in my mother’s womb.

Just moments before I was born, I lay parallel with another person. Beginning my life in such a unique fashion, as a twin, leads me to believe the urge to race and come out on top has always been in my nature. My mom has told this story to me numerous times.

“I didn’t know who would be born first, but then you kicked your brother, and you became the older sister,” she said. “It couldn’t have happened another way; you wanted to be the older sister!”

I was born on July 26, 2005, three minutes before my other half, Ryan—my other half who shared my mother’s 24-inch bulging stomach. I had three minutes of loneliness before my little brother was born. For as long as I can remember, we’ve always been attached at the hip. “Twin” is a term that has labeled me for the past seventeen years.

Growing up, Ryan and I slept in the same room, played with the same toys, went to the same school, shared the same friends, and even dressed in coordinating outfits. We walked to elementary school together, and I insisted that we walked hand-in-hand. We were inseparable. As we grew up, we became known as the “Chang Twins.” We built our trust with each other quickly, and I often relied on him, even if I just needed a laugh. I knew I didn’t have to be scared because he would always be there for me. One of the qualities I’ve come to love about being a twin is I always have someone to lean on.

Ryan is my built-in best friend.

Though I’ve been asked the question, “What’s it like to be a twin?” millions of times, it still manages to perplex me. I feel pressure to come up with an elaborate response describing the skill of twin telepathy. While I can admit that sometimes I truly am able to conjure up what Ryan is thinking and finish his sentences, more often than not, I can’t. Although we might not be telepathic, we do have a special connection. Of course, being a twin isn’t always easy—we’ve had our fair share of arguments and fights. However, we recognize how much we need each other, leading us to always make up in the end. I think that the bond of twins can never fully be described.

Twins have many shared experiences; I mean, we literally share the same birthday. That being said, sharing has its downsides. Since my time in the womb, I have been on a quest for dominance. In this fashion, even my first steps were taken months before Ryan. Even baby me wanted to win.

It was inevitable that we would grow into different, sometimes combative, personalities with unique interests. I became busier with piano and skating while he picked up golf and cello. Although we continued to share special memories with each other, life changed. We didn’t sleep in the same room, I didn’t have all my classes with him, and I saw him a lot less throughout my day.

Soon, with my own demand for perfection, I started to compare myself to Ryan in all aspects of my life. I kept trying to satisfy my hunger for achievement by looking for new expectations to take on. I was scared that just because my brother could do something, others expected me to be able to as well. Secretly, I always felt the need to achieve more than Ryan. In a sense, I was afraid that I wasn’t enough on my own. I began establishing my individuality so vociferously to make myself feel as if I was more than just a twin.

Two summers ago, during the pandemic, Ryan moved to Florida to attend a boarding school where he could continue to play golf. Seeing as he planned on returning the following year, the situation was originally temporary. Yet, as the pandemic continued and he discovered his dream, he decided to stay. I went from having a best friend at every corner to going days without talking to him. We tried to Facetime every day, but as we both grew busier, staying in touch seemed impossible. Sometimes, I would even pace around his room at home, envisioning him being there.

Thankfully, we were able to maintain our bond, but certainly not without difficulty. Each day without him proves to be harder than the last. However, even though I said twin telepathy doesn’t really exist, I honestly think that the sixth sense that I have with my brother acts practically the same.

In retrospect, I understand that growing up, I spent too much time worrying about being perfect that I treated Ryan as competition: my twin tension. I never stopped to appreciate the fact that we didn’t have to be the same to be loved and supported. I’ve realized I am forever grateful to be a twin.

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