Val and I have always had very distinct personalities, and as result very different styles. When we were very young, my mom would sometimes dress us in identical outfits. I imagine she would have had us dressed alike more often if money were no object. Many of our outfits were home-made. My mother is an excellent seamstress, and loves to sew, she even made designer jeans for us once!
We had matching orange and white striped swimsuits that she made for us in the summer, and blue and white checked coats that she made for us in the winter. Being twins got us a lot of attention whenever she took us anywhere. We had blonde hair and we both had big blue eyes and we looked a lot alike when we were younger.
“Wow, what beautiful, big eyes.” or “I’ve never seen such big blue eyes before,” were common sayings as I tried to hide behind my mom’s legs thinking ‘If I can’t see them, they can’t see me.’ Everywhere we went we were the twins!
As we got older we began to want our own uniqueness but sometimes Mom would buy us a matching outfit but in different colors. In 7th grade she got us some overall rompers, one in peach and one in mint green, that had embroidery work across the front (Mom never met any embroidery she didn’t like). I loved them, but I was careful not to wear them on the same day that Val wore hers. It had gotten to the point where it felt ‘nerdy’ to wear identical outfits, that was little kid stuff. I was totally more mature than that! Dressing in my own style showed my personality more and gave me more of my own identity.
In high school, we never would have purposely dressed alike. If we happened to put on something that was a bit too similar, one of us would go back and change. The only exception was on something simple like jeans and a t-shirt, several hundred girls could have been wearing the same thing. I was more of a jeans and t-shirt girl back then. Val could get away with more feminine things, but I decided on being more the tomboy. I don’t think I wore anything with a ruffle on it for a good ten years, let alone embroidery! Over time I have added a lot more variety to my wardrobe.
By the time Val came into our family I was completely comfortable with my identity and who I was. For ten years no one saw us much together, and when they did we were with different men or kids and were seldom mistaken. After she married Joe I noticed my old desire to differentiate myself from her came up. I hated wearing the same outfit, and I found people mixing us up again. I would find myself surprised about how bothered I would get if people called me Val or if she and I would get dressed up to go somewhere and we came out dressed too similarly. (At least Joe never got us confused!)
Gradually I have learned the genesis of where those comparisons came from. Wanting to be unique in my childhood brought up a need to be known for me. My desire to find a different dress or identity is simply a false way of being and has nothing to do with who I really am. Like my parents in my youth, the people who really know me don’t need any of those outside identifiers to love me. I also discovered many other areas of my life that have nothing to do with being a twin where I put on a false pretense in comparing if I am smart enough or good enough at something.
Being a person of love attracts love into my life. I have learned that when I compare to find my worth I will never find it, for my worth comes from the being that I am. Now I have such a love for the person Valerie is and a security in who I am that those issues are not the triggers they once were. Nowadays there will be times that we will actually buy the exact same item while shopping completely separately from one another.
Recently, we had a dinner planned with all of us. Joe had said he wanted to leave at 6:30 and the four of us went to our rooms to get dressed, do our hair and get ready to leave. At 6:20 I walked out to see Val in a pink outfit with a matching scarf. I laughed as it looked like we had purposely coordinated.
The funny thing is, sometimes Alina will match one or even both of us, too! In fact, when we were filming the Sisterwives episode, I was getting ready for the day and discovered that both Joe and I had planned to wear an orange and white striped shirt, so he ended up changing. He did not want to seem to be matching one of us. When we met up with the others Val had on an orange and white polka dot top and Alina was wearing an orange top with some white diamonds. We all could have looked like we had planned for a matching picture.
It used to be that one of us would go back and change if we were going anywhere public, but now we often just run with it. In fact I have actually come to appreciate how much we are on the same wavelength. Even though we are completely different in personalities we share such a common love and values for one another we are bound to be as one. It is a beautiful thing to me now.