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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal Wiertella March 1, 2024

Being part of a pair

Growing up I always had a best friend, a partner in crime, a companion on long car rides, a fantastic confidant and someone who kept me honest. In fact, I had this before birth. I am lucky enough to be one of the rare people on Earth to have an identical twin sister.

When we were younger I remember my sister as a constant, an anchor when the world seemed backward. Reflecting on where we are now after living in different places for a few years, the world can still feel off-balance sometimes. The difference between now and then however, is that we’ve come to a place where we don’t need each other to set life straight again. I still find myself missing her, but being apart has made us stronger.

The trouble with being an identical twin, to me, comes when we are seen as a matching set rather than a pair of originals. We moved schools a few times and for a while most people called us by our last name only so there would be no chance of addressing the wrong person. I felt like we were a singular entity rather than two separate beings. It is a very strange feeling breaking away from that and it requires both time and a little bit of loneliness. I do know that it was worth it in the end.

We are now both happily doing what we love. She is pursuing a degree in material science engineering with a focus on metallurgy, and I am seeking a life of storytelling through journalism. You can clearly tell who will make more money. But, what matters most is that we are both proud and supportive of each other, even from afar.

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The lesson that I learned from growing up with a doppelganger is that identity shouldn’t be skin deep. Sometimes people can’t tell the difference between a mirror reflection and what lies beneath it.

This is not just an issue that occurs with twins. It is easy to identify people by snippets of small talk, from the way people walk or the pitch of their voice. I’ve caught myself judging individuals in this way at times and I realize I’m a hypocrite when I resent people for my own identity crisis.

Ultimately, we are all actively trying to find and create pieces of ourselves that make us unique. I may have experienced the desire for distinctiveness to more of an extreme than the average person, but I think we all have a bit of that desire to stick out from the crowd. My sister and I dyed our hair, we started dressing differently and actively looked for separate passions just to make it so people could tell us apart enough to address us by our first names.

Now we have established lives in different places and with different people. And, when we see each other after a long period of time the reunion is just that much sweeter.

My twin is still my anchor. When I’m feeling lost I can always give her a call or drive to meet her, but that anchor doesn’t define me anymore and when I look at a person I find myself constantly conscious of what lies further than skin deep.

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