As the “sensitive” twin in Sara and I’s twosome, the first day of school was always fraught with anxiety and trauma for me. It obviously made sense to split up twins into separate classrooms - but to this twin it was unfair and terrifying to be pried off my sister and my mother every early September of my childhood.
I am not ashamed to say that I cried during roll call - when we were put into different classes - every year until 6th grade. And I still cried that year, I just had the sense to do it alone in the bathroom rather than in front of my new classmates.
The week leading up to the first day of school was really when I felt the most doom though. By the first day of school I was already prepared for the devastation of being separated from Sara. The tears were almost a sign of relief. It was the denial leading up to the first day of school that really caused the long-term damage I still deal with today. The fake enthusiasm about back to school clothes shopping - that could have been the additional trauma of being a tomboy - or the hysteria about binders and pens and pencils. I can remember packing and repacking my new backpack in the wee hours before the first day of school. Did I have enough pencils? Would anyone else have the same pencilcase as me? Should I pair my red sweat pants with the matching red and white teddy-bear sweater or should I try something bold like a giant oversized pink hyper-colour shirt?
I busied myself with these “bigger” life questions, distracting myself from the imminent ordeal of unravelling from Sara. The first day of school meant the first day of being one person rather than a pair.
But if I could time-travel back to give myself any advice now, I think I’d just push for the pink hyper-coloured shirt rather than Sara and I to share a classroom. In the end, we always really enjoyed meeting up at the end of the day to compare notes. Obviously the teachers were on to something. I just was too attached, come summer’s end, to know that."