“Oh my gosh they look exactly alike!”
I heard this phrase over and over throughout my childhood. It was usually followed by a request that my identical twin sister and I stand next to each other so a person could compare our features.
“Her eyes are more almond shaped.” My mother’s friend would say.
“Her jaw is more square.” The lady at grocery store would comment.
“Her nose turns up just slightly.” My Sunday school teacher would remark.
Back and forth their eyes would go from my sister to me and back to my sister again. Counting freckles, examining ear lobes and looking at us from every angle.
“Now which one is Lisa and which one is Chrissie?” They would ask. Over and over they would ask.
Sometimes I loved the attention, but other times I felt insecure. As they compared, I wondered if they were asking bigger, darker questions, “Which one is smarter? Which one is more athletic? Which one is more outgoing? Which one is thinner? Which one is prettier?”
They were looking at me but I didn’t feel seen. The closer they looked the more unseen I felt. The more they compared, the less I felt like an individual. Ironic, isn’t it? The closer we look at the outside of a person, the less we see the actual person.
Twins are fascinating. I have always loved being a twin. But being one of two, being constantly compared to another person has its challenges.
It’s crazy to consider I have a sister who has been by my side since before we were born. We have so many shared experiences, not mentioned shared DNA, that we literally know each other inside and out. At first we were one; one egg, that became two. I am incomplete without my twin sister. She is most definitely part of me. The only way I can begin to describe the unique relationship of being a twin is to compare it to motherhood. Many of my friends have remarked when they became a mother they experienced a deep, passionate love for their child they had never felt before. The love of a mother is fierce and intense. This baby is part of her and she will love and nurture this baby at all costs. She will fight to protect her baby. It’s an rare and beautiful thing. When my baby was placed in my arms for the first time, I thought, “I know this love. This is the love I have for Chrissie.”
Comparing two similar things is part of human nature. And it isn’t just twins. As women we naturally compare ourselves against our sisters, friends and coworkers. I grew up being so often compared to Chrissie, so often coupled with her, I began to believe there was nothing unique about me. We looked exactly the same except for slight variations. We were practically the same person, right? Of course not! We were very different despite our similar exteriors. We had very different personalities. We had difference preferences. Each of us exceled in different areas. Despite looking so much alike, in many ways we were opposites who complemented each other—two pieces of a puzzle that fit together, night and day, peanut butter and jelly.
As I grew into an adult I became less dependent on Chrissie. We had different jobs, different friendship circles and after college we lived apart. I worked with people who didn’t know I had an identical twin. They only knew me, Lisa. They didn’t compare me against my look-alike. I was growing into my own person. I was becoming me, instead of being one half of a set of twins. I was a whole person, just on my own. And one day I had the very big realization that my soul is completely my own. My soul is unique and amazing and no one, not even my identical twin, has a soul like mine. God created me to be me.
My soul can’t be compared with any other soul because it’s unlike any other soul.
My soul was created by a God who makes wonderful, amazing things.
My soul was lovingly designed by a God who has endless creativity.
My beautiful soul makes me, me.
And your beautiful soul makes you, you.
It’s our distinct souls that make togetherness an incredible blessing.
Comparison wonders, “Which one is better? Which one is best?” Comparison wants to categorize things from greatest to least. Comparison begins with the false assumption there is one correct standard and everything is measured against it. Comparison can make us feel powerful or desperate, turning on us in a moment. The more I compare the flatness of my tummy, the length of my legs, the wrinkles near my eyes, to another woman, the less I see myself or her. Her value cannot be summed up by examining each part of her. Her value isn’t found in those things at all. Her value is found deep within her soul. It’s a spark all her own, so uncommon and rare it can’t be found anywhere else in the whole world. And truly, how can we compare one soul to another? Each is so unique, so precious, so individual.
I love being a twin. I cherish our unique, deep bond. I know Chrissie’s soul and she knows mine. We look alike but we are not the same. Together we are stronger. We shine brighter. We are better.
My soul is the truest, deepest part of who I am. My soul is a marvelous thing that belongs to me. It’s been given to me by a God who created it and called it good. My soul, and yours too, is incomparable, there is nothing else like it on earth.