I often pride myself on being independent and knowing how to be alone. I don’t do it in a jerky way (at least I hope I don’t), but I’ve had friends who have found better friends and I’ve seen people who can’t function in the world without someone by their side, so I’ve had to learn it. And I think it’s a good lesson, I can’t see how being independent could be a bad thing and in life you never really know when you’re going to be alone. It could be moving to a new city, starting a new job, or just a falling out with people, but I believe we’re alone more than we think in life and it’s good practice to know yourself, to love yourself enough to know how to be alone.
But I don’t think I’m as independent or as good at being alone as I thought I was.
This weekend my sister went away to a cottage with her boyfriend and his grandparents, she was at the actual cottage for three days but gone four days for travelling and prep, and of course I missed her. She luckily got cell service on the island (which we hadn’t expected) so we were able to keep in contact, but I still missed her. And it might sound silly for a twenty-four year old to miss her sister for being gone for only four days, but we’re twins, and that kind of changes things.
I have shared my existence with someone my whole life, and there aren’t many people who have that in their lives. My life has always been shared with hers, has always consisted of sharing with each other. Sharing toys, sharing clothes, sharing classes, sharing experiences, and of course we both knew the sharing would end at some point, that our lives would twist and turn away from one another’s but never apart. But it’s an adjustment, something we’re both getting used to.
And it’s to have time apart, good to have separate identities which is easier for us than some other twins because we’re fraternal (sororal if you care about the Latin, which I do) and our parents instilled in us very early that we were two separate people (matching outfits aside), but it’s still something I’m learning. I could write a whole blog post about being a twin (in fact, I plan to), so I’m going to narrow it down about how I’m (slowly) learning to be independent without my sister.
If you follow me on twitter, you’ve probably seen how I’ve become a stereotypical coffee shop writer. I find writing at home makes me unproductive while being in public doesn’t, I also just enjoy the white noise of the people and the workers, it’s calming. So I did that a lot this weekend, forcing myself out of the house (and writing) and being alone in public. It’s easier now than when I started writing in coffee shops alone, I always used to think that everyone was staring at me, judging me, or pitying me for being alone (but this has been a problem of mine since my first day of high school).
I did however change it up by writing at Donut Monster on Sunday. Donut Monster is a local donut shop in my city and literally one of my favourite places in the whole world, they have the best donuts and if they didn’t cost so much I’d go their everyday to write (and eat lots of donuts). Not long ago they announced that they’ve started selling milkshakes, and if you know me at all you know that I am milkshake OBSESSED! I’ve wanted to go ever since they’ve announced it but kept waiting for friends and work schedules to align. But on Sunday I decided that if I was going to write in a cafe I might as well go to Donut Monster and finally get a milkshake (and a donut). It was everything I ever could have hoped for! I got the Strawberry Buttermilk milkshake because it’s the seasonal flavour they’ve been promoting so far and I can’t even describe how good it was (just see how yummy it looks in the picture!). But now I want to go back because they have MORE seasonal flavours (CREAMSICLE! GINGER SNAP!) but I don’t think my wallet will allow me. Though I love Donut Monster, I think it will be my special writing spot for when I want to splurge on a snack.
On Sunday I also decided to go to Zineposium, a local zine fair where artists share and sell zines and art they’ve created. I’ve wanted to go for a few years now but I’ve literally been working every year it’s on. By some miracle I was free (maybe being laid off had something to do with it) and after much deliberation of “should I shouldn’t I” I decided to go, and I had a lot of fun! Again, I got incredibly nervous walking in alone, all those old fears and thoughts resurfacing, but I went in and really enjoyed myself! It was everything I thought it would be, and I bought a button and some cool zines and stickers and it made me want to get into zine making and to (hopefully) get a table for next year!
Neither of these things are spectacular. They’re simple things, something anyone could do and many people have already done, but they’re big steps for me. I have a lot to learn about who I am without my sister constantly at my side, and I have to learn that I can do things and go certain places without her. Growing up doesn’t mean we stop hanging out or being a part of each other’s lives, it just means that we both have to learn to get used to being apart. It’s a new kind of independence, a new kind of loneliness that we have to learn what to do with. And none of that is a bad thing.
It’s just an adjustment, and I can handle that.
(Pictures of delicious food and zines are my own.)