My Twin, My Inspiration | Teen Ink

My Twin, My Inspiration

May 29, 2020
By juliatotten21 BRONZE, Jamestown, Rhode Island
juliatotten21 BRONZE, Jamestown, Rhode Island
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I stroll with my family down Winter Street on vacation, approaching our favorite taco stand. We smile and laugh, excited about our meal, but not for long. When we arrive, the restaurant is loud and overly crowded. To most families, this situation may seem simple to navigate, a regular occurrence on hot summer evenings in New England tourist towns, but not for us. The combination of the small space, noise, and waiting is too much for my twin, who becomes extremely anxious. He paces and yells as we wait in line. Everyone around us stares and whispers. When people look his way, he swears at them. My parents rush him out onto the street. They tell me to wait with him while they order food. I see the strain on Sam’s face. Instinctively, I know what to do; I make funny faces and poke him. At first he curses at me, but soon he giggles and asks for more. By the time my parents return, we are laughing and smiling. 

My relationship with my twin is magical; we have a bond that I can’t put into words. Sam has Tourette’s Syndrome and autism. His needs have and always will be a defining part of my life. We have been by each other’s sides since before we were born. The first thing I ever knew how to do was to be a twin and a best friend. Our paths will forever be intertwined, no matter how far apart we travel. 

As Sam and I have grown older, our lives have taken different paths, but I still find myself immersed in passions that started with him. I seek the joy that originates from helping Sam when I volunteer. At our local hospital, I wheel a patient who I learn lives in my town. Just out of frightening surgery, I can feel his worries. So I ask about his children, his home, and what he likes about our town. Slowly, I see him relax. When we reach his wife, he gives me a heartfelt “thank you,” and the smile that lights up his eyes makes me feel the way I do whenever I help Sam. It reinforces what I need, deep in my soul -- to help people smile in any way I can.

Sam’s struggles also inspired me to help others like him. At the Autism Project, I connect with those who need it the most. During an activity with kids I haven’t met before, I am drawn to a young girl, Alice. The group leader says she is shy and difficult to connect with. Despite this, I decide to talk to her. She seems hesitant at first, but opens up when I mention music. Her eyes smile as she tells me about her favorite artist, Eminem, and her entire face lights up when I say I love him too. She tells me about school, friends, and the winter formal, showing me pictures of her dress. Before we leave, she shares her social media to keep in touch. Waving goodbye, I feel fulfillment and exhilaration from making someone’s day, and hopefully life, a little better.

I understand that many people want to make the world a better place, but I am driven to do it, from deep inside. Not because someone has told me it is the right thing to do, but because I feel an unwavering need to be involved that flows from my love for my twin, my best friend. From Sam, I have learned to use a small gesture or a few words to ease suffering. As I venture into the world, I will use this knowledge to help others, whether it is as simple as connecting with an autistic child, or as complex as discovering how to cure Tourette’s Syndrome. I will never let go of the gift Sam has given me.

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