Growing up as a twin, often the first question my brother, Matt, and I would be asked is, “Are you fraternal or identical?” Logically, as biologically boy-girl twins, the answer is fraternal. Nonetheless, as we matured, we learned to answer this question with more understanding, recognizing that not everyone could relate to the experience of being born just six minutes apart.
Although Matt and I don’t quite have twin telepathy, our sibling relationship transcends conventional brother-sister dynamics. We were in the same school and grade throughout elementary, middle and high school, and we often shared friends. On a deeper level, we picked up speed together: learning to walk, ride a bike and drive side by side. Ultimately, while we have certainly had our fair share of divisive moments, the complexity of having countless shared memories and experiences unifies us in a way many couldn’t conceptualize.
When it came time for the college selection process, our differences led our college searches to different regions of the country. Now, as we have each established ourselves at our respective universities, I have found myself in pensive reflection of my new identity. My friends, professors and classmates know me as Liz, regularly unaware of the brother that walked alongside me throughout my upbringing.
The very nature of differentiating myself has made it evermore apparent that identity is a dynamic concept. While I’ll always be a twin and cherish the relationship that I have with my brother, the influence that different aspects of my identity have on a daily basis change during different stages in my life.
While the concept of redefining yourself as a twin on opposite ends of the East Coast is not universal, the truth is that we are all constantly evolving and redefining ourselves; identities are dynamic. Although it isn’t always obvious at the moment, each life experience we undergo and each subtle moment of growth we experience help shape who we are as people. While core moral values and identifying attributes may endure the test of time, some seemingly more minute facets of our identities often manifest themselves and become powerful forces.
As life continues to pick up speed in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, it is more salient now than ever to embrace the transformative nature of identity. The beauty of change helps illuminate the vibrancy of life.