tomorrow is my sister’s birthday

Tomorrow is my birthday. Which means that tomorrow is also my sister’s birthday. Of all the twin questions I’ve been asked in my life only one lends itself to eye rolling: so do you guys have the same birthday?

I do not roll my eyes when people ask if we have telepathy. Answer: we’re working on it. But for someone to deign to suggest that we were born on different days–now that makes me angry. Politely and calmly I will say: yes we are twins and yes we are identical and yes we are close and yes our parents get us confused. Emphatically I will announce: of course we were born on the same day.
How could we be anything but the kind of twins that are cut from the same cloth? How could we be anything but exactly the same and two minutes apart? We are not the kind of twins that were born on different days. Sure, twins can have different birthdays. “Like one’s born at 11:59 PM and one at 12:01 AM?” Yes, like that. But looking at us I always hope that strangers would know that we couldn’t possibly have been born on two different days. The cacophony that would ring out from “May 25th and May 26th” would ruin the harmony of our twinship.
I write about my sister a lot. She is in everything that I do and everything I want to do for the rest of my life. I have hinted at an explanation for our relationship but I have never really wrung it out for a public audience to dissect, analyze, understand. I probably never will. If you are not a twin you could never understand. If you are a twin you could never understand. I can’t understand why two people love each other unless I am one of the lovers. Why would I want to? Why would someone want to understand us? … dissecting who and how we are would ruin the mystery of our perfectly intimate two person world.
But, alas, sometimes someone wants to understand why I love my sister more than anyone else. Sometimes someone wants to know why my sister can never love him like she loves me. And we try to help them understand because we want them to love our love. And for ourselves–we want to be able to let others in our world if only for a moment, so that maybe we could learn what it’s like to love someone who does not share our DNA.
I am currently a point in a love triangle. The triangle is top heavy for that’s the point I’ve designated Connelly-girlfriend/Connelly-sister. The other two points connect to me but not to each other. So I guess it’s not really a triangle. Not a stable one anyway. What does this love triangle have to do with my birthday? Everything. For tomorrow the triangle will be thrown off balance. Tomorrow is a microcosm of the whole big messy wonderful thing that is our twin relationship, in relation to anyone else.
I will want the day to be one where just my sister and I twirl around in our world and let some people stand on the periphery, cheering on the beautiful colors our happy rings-around-the-world will create. I will want the day to be one where my beau (boyfriend’s kind of a juvenile word isn’t it?) and I can be together so he knows that I want to share beautiful twirls with him too. I don’t know if the day’s big enough.
The other night I was upset about the off balance effects of my top heavy triangle. My sister was home alone and I was happy and wrapped in the arms of someone who wondered why my mind was somewhere else; he wondered why my love affair with my sister was too distracting to let go once I left my apartment. He asked quietly: do tears stain shirts? As I cried into his. And I wanted to answer emphatically, of course. If the triangle I’ve created is hurting my sister then of course there will be a stain, a bruise, a scar; we were born on the same day, there is no date difference to dissipate the pain.
But we were born on the same day. Pain hurts more but love loves deeper. My triangle will balance itself again. My sister will slowly let the third point connect to her. Maybe she’ll let him twirl (on rare occasions) in our world. Tomorrow is my birthday. Tomorrow is also my sister’s birthday. Can’t you tell that that’s the only way it could be?

what i write about when i’m in between what just happened and what’s happening next

It was easy for me to write my last column of the school year a few weeks ago. I said some pithy things and some petty things and I wrapped it all up with a hypothetical memory that had both my mother and my sister crying when I read it to them in my apartment. Then I took my exams, checked my grades, cried a little over the lack of any kind of “A” and drank beers on the beach.

I’d written my last column of the year but that didn’t mean that my thoughts had stopped or that my too-young-to-be-wise and too-old-to-be-ignored opinions had gone anywhere. I still want to write and reaffirm that there are–in fact, some things I know for sure.
Composing pieces of myself on the internet is a fascinating concept. Sure I “write” by typing. I have for years. I write on Facebook and Twitter. My columns are online. But those columns are edited by at least four people before they hit the presses. Those posts online are short and silly and I can excuse regrettable ones by simply throwing out the words “friends” and “hacked.”
Several people have complimented me on the inherent truths of relatable writing that my columns present: write what you know, reveal yourself, don’t keep any secrets. I can do all of those things because I know that at least two people will call me and tell me they liked what I wrote. At least two people will comment on my comments and tell me that I am funny. But everyone blogs; I feel like putting myself on the internet in a how-hipster-is-it-that-I’m-blogging-world is far more frightening than writing to a student body of whom maybe 20 people read what I have to say.
But I’ll do it anyway. I’ve kept a journal since I was 15 years old. It’s not even a journal; it’s a hard shelled orange notebook that I should have used for school but instead scribbled in lists of SAT words which eventually turned into sentences which turned into entries which turned into the most valuable aspect of my teenage existence. Once I filled that notebook I moved on to a leather notebook that I picked, after half an hour of deliberation, from a shelf in Barnes and Noble. Until I entered my first year college dorm I wrote in that leather notebook.

Sometimes I wrote everyday. Sometimes I wrote once a month. I usually wrote when I was sad. When you’re happy there’s nothing interesting to say. Occasionally I’d type entries in my laptop. That’s all I do now. Hand writing takes time and for the past two years I’ve liked to pretend that I was far too busy to check in with my 15 year old, 16 year old, 17 year old selves.
I always thought that one day I would publish those journals and have the wittiest most popular memoir that the NY Times Bestseller List had ever seen. But I won’t. There’s nothing “fascinating” about a teenage girl’s trials and errors. I hold those two notebooks close to my chest and wish them into me–so that my heart and brain can figure out what to do with all those almost-lessons. Those are things that do not need to be shared. Who else could I help with all the sentences that start with “I” and end with “don’t know”?
I can share this. Like I share my columns, I can share my everydays with people who might want to check in. When I was 15 I named my orange notebook “Chagrin” because I was embarrassed that I was keeping what most people called a “diary.” I’m still ashamed of a lot of things I do and fail to do. But writing about myself is no longer one of them.