Thursday, 9 October 2014

Jon Bear Journal: Growing up as a Twin‏

I posted the Jon Bear Journal picture twice because as I have mentioned to our readers before, I am a twin.  But rest assured this is the Jon Bear Journal and not the Clifford Bear Journal.  Perhaps one day I'll be able to coax him into a guest post?

When I was growing up several people had questions for me as to what it was like being an identical twin.  I think many of those questions were conversational and enjoyable to answer. I often felt very uncomfortable answering some of what I termed, "the twin questions" though, or questions that tend to be directed towards twins but not other siblings. Yet the twin questions that got to me were those that tried to get you to admit either a superiority or inferiority to your twin.  I'll try to answer a few of the questions I was asked years ago, and even some of the "twin" questions that made me feel uncomfortable.  Perhaps it will provide a little insight into what it is like to grow up as an identical twin for anyone who might wish to know.   Who knows, maybe I will even find a bit of "self discovery" in answering  the questions.  

For the past 15 years Clifford and I have lived hundreds of miles apart, so my questions and answers will be relative to my childhood and young adulthood. 

Do you and your brother fight?  And who wins if you do?
Yes we do fight, but no more often and possibly even less often though than any similarly aged siblings might.  I would say it's pretty equal as far as wins and losses.  Our fights are more wrestling than striking fights though.  We don't wish to seriously hurt one another, or worse yet, get in trouble from mom and dad if we were to hurt one another in a fight.  Once Clifford did drag me by my hair around  the house, which wasn't much fun.  As to the hair incident tough, in fairness, I should mention  that I once put chewing gum in Clifford's hair when a mutual friend of ours father was taking us on a field trip. 

Who's the "evil twin"?  *this is one of the "twin questions*  All twin questions hence forth will receive an asterisk. 

Well, as you can see from my answer to the question above, we both had our fair share of "evil" in us when we wanted to let it out.  I think Clifford "school wise" came off a little bit more like the evil twin then I did.  Not because he was actually evil, but because he was much more likely to speak his mind or present a contrary opinion.  He liked to play devil's advocate.   I think I was more concerned with being liked then Clifford and I would capitulate or shrink from confrontation. 

Are you and your brother friends?  Or do you hate one another? 

We are best friends.  It would be difficult if we were not considering the amount of time we must spend around one another. 

* Who's smarter?

I don't think that even standardized testing has resolved this question.  Our I.Q.'s are only 1 point apart.  I do not even remember who was one point higher. Grades wise in high school and undergrad college I did a little better.  Clifford had a better S.A.T. score. 

*Who's better looking?

If I answer... "ME!" I'm vain. If I say "HIM!" then I lack self confidence.  So I suppose to some people he looks better and to some people I look better.

*Can you read each other's minds and feel each other's pain?

I have not ever been able to read Clifford's mind and when I got hit by a car and broke my leg, Clifford told me he did not feel it. 

Do you finish each other's sentences?

Yes, we often times finish each other's sentences.  I believe that can be attributed to the time we share together and the experiences we've shared.  I really think it is very similar to what married couples experience when telling a story involving a shared experience.  So I think it has less to do with a symbiotic mind and more to do with environment, being in the same place at the same time so often. 

Do you like being a twin?

Yes, I think it has a lot of advantages.  You almost always have someone to play games and do things with who shares your interests.  You never feel lonely.  You learn to share and I think creativity and imagination thrive in an environment where you have another person to bounce your ideas off of. 

What is the worst thing about being a twin?

The constant comparisons when trying to establish your own identity and be seen by others as unique, and not just the copy of another person.

Did you ever try to switch places and fool people?

Only one time that I can recall in kindergarten.  Clifford and I switched classes.  It took our teachers pretty far into the day to figure out that we had switched places  It was fun but tough for me because I did not know all the things his class had been doing in their previous lessons and I had to get used to responding when called by a different name.  I also did not know the names of all Clifford's classmates.  As I recall, our teachers thought it was funny and we did not get in trouble at all for switching.  I think it helped that we only did it once.  Had we tried it again we may have been pushing our luck  a bit. >.<

So hopefully that provides at least a little insight to what it is like being a twin.  If anyone has any questions I did not answer here that they would like to ask me about being a twin, please feel free to ask them in our comments section and I'll be happy to do my best to answer them.  

*posted on Jon Bear's behalf.


  1. Very interesting and a bit funny--especially the part about switching classes! Must be neat to have an identical twin!

  2. Thank you Bethany! Yes it is wonderful having an identical twin. I think we could have taken advantage of our twinage (?) more than we did, but I am kind of happy that we did not. I am also lucky to have the best older sister and older brother who helped keep Clifford and I in check! =D


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