When I reached out to Kehinde, and explained that I was fascinated with twins and would love to feature them on here, she jokingly responded "No worries, we are fascinated with you mortals too". Oh dear. I guess we mere mortals just have no idea how twins are slightly above mortals eh?
The names Kehinde & Taiwo are common names for twins from the Western part of Nigeria. There's an interesting explanation regarding who is older, and who comes out of the womb first. I often think I know this clearly in my mind, and then when I try to explain it to someone else I get confused.
These lovely ladies are in their late twenties, and they have two 'mere mortal' younger brothers. Kenny has a degree in English but is currently studying nursing in Indianapolis, having previously worked in the media industry for two years as a TV producer and newscaster. She is an irrevocable sanguine and loves to write funny poems, read, dance & cook!
Taiwo is also a nursing student who enjoys dancing and acting. She says she can wake up from any kind of deep slumber just to have her mum's akara (Nigerian meal made of fried ground bean paste).
They share their experiences with us! But first - according to them, an unspoken rule about twins is that "you never ever intervene in our fights, arguments or quarrels. In a twinkle of an eye, we will settle, and pounce on you". They also derive joy in putting their friends in tough spots by asking who is prettier. "If you say Kenny, Kenny would be the first to report to Taiwo, and vice versa".
On your names:
K: I am Kehinde. Which means the one who came after. The first twin is called Taiwo (the one who tasted the earth first). We have other names like Mary and Christina, Anu and Ibunkun. I really love the "twinned-name" because I see it more like my divine identity.
The only people who call us "ibeji" are those who can't tell us apart. So once I hear "ibeji" I know the next question is "which one are you?"
T: Our parents went traditional by sticking with our natural names although some parents don't like using the conventional names. I'm used to Taiwo, so I'm sort of grown used to it. Most people who call us "Ejire" most likely can't differentiate between us both - like my uncle who calls me "Ejire" and calls Kenny "Omomeji" which means the same.
On Growing Up:
K: We were not wealthy. But we grew up comfortable. As the first born, and first grandkids in our mother's side, we were spoiled with affection. My parents (I don't know how they do it) act like they do not have a favourite. I try to kid myself that I'm their favourite, but I know it's a wish. We were raised to dress alike. And we loved it. The only rare times we dressed differently was when we had a quarrel. We get compared a lot because we have totally different temperaments. I am a sanguine. The one who laughs loudest, walks up to initiate conversation. Tai on the other hand, is the reserved and intelligent one. She takes her time in making friends, but maintains them steadily!
We also switch characters. I get quiet sometimes and she gets chatty. This throws people off a lot - they get confused as to who is who.
In Uni, I majored in English language with a minor in performing arts. My twin studied Botany. So many times people would walk up to her, commending her for a role she (I) played in a theatre play. My erratic lecturers would give her random slaps at the back or yell out a curse word (as it was the norm in the arts). Let's just say she had to put up with a lot of random talks.
I am the tomboy... so I dabbled in football in highschool, while Tai was the onlooker. If dancing counts as a sport, that's one that both of us share equally. We love to dance!
The good thing about being compared is that our strengths and weaknesses balance each other. While I am jolly, she gets to calm me down and make me serious. When she gets too serious, I draw her out, and make her talk.
T: Being compared to each other is the greatest challenge we have with some family and friends. And as painful as it is, we can't get too angry because they don't really understand that as identical as we might be, we have totally different personalities. We always dress alike up till now *covers face* - we are just used to it. But we are trying now to look a bit different. Our parents have tried not to have favourites, which I will always respect them for.
On being psychic / feeling how the other feels:
K: Well... it's not 100 percent so with us. We've had vehicle accidents twice, and mysteriously we got scars around the same body parts. Yes, we get that feeling when something is wrong. We might not know at that exact time that the other person is feeling likewise, but we will always realize it afterwards. The most recent incident was about a couple of months ago when we both cried about something we were going through. At different locations but the same time. We met minutes later and saw that both out eyes were red. Ha! That spooked me.
We are Christians. So we believe that God nudges us in the spirit at different times about important things. We have looks that we share when we are thinking about the same thing. Especially when we meet a person we don't like, we have the look of "me too".
T: We didn't experience telepathy earlier in our lives. It became prominent when we reached our 20's. It is really true and it has helped us calm each other down in the toughest times. There was a time I just felt really heavy and had to cry. I didn't know my sister in the other room also felt heavy and had even started crying ahead of me. But we both cried with each other and strengthened each other.
On Sharing everything:
K: Yes! We share almost everything. Except boyfriends (haha!).
We wear the same size. We know each other's passwords. Maybe when we get married, we will know where to draw the line. We are so used to this that we share our money also. She gets paid, I spend! I work, she spends! So annoying.
Honestly, sometimes we don't want to share. You just want that gift, money, attention to yourself; but one good thing about being a twin is the nurtured character of selflessness. You unconsciously share whatever you have into two.
T: Yes! we share almost everything, but I like the fact that we don't push. We share only things or emotions either of us is comfortable with. We even play catch up with the messages either of us exchange with the "boys". Haha. Sometimes though, not all the time.
On playing pranks:
K: Our parents were quite strict with us, they insisted that our teachers place us in seperate classes, encouraged us to have individual tastes and hobbies. (Ha! They tried it).
Regardless we being alike just made it easy for people to get pranked. One thing no one has been able to tell apart is our voices. We sound exactly the same on phone and on TV. We prank people with that. No one is exempted, dad inclusive. Dad doesn't even have the time to be looking intently at us. He goes straight to the point by asking "hey, which one are you?" And of course depending on the task for which he is asking, we switch the names.
Our passports get switched all the time!
Eventually, people learn to tell us apart because let's admit it I'm prettier than Taiwo. (Long standing battle). One of us was also so 'selfish' and got 4 beauty spots on her face, but hey who's counting? Our friends also joke that the razz one is Kenny, while the posh one is Taiwo (what a dry joke, right?).
T: People close to us can tell us apart but one thing people can never tell apart are our voices. We sound just the same, laugh the same and even cry the same. We didn't play lots of prank growing up except for few instances.
On marrying / giving birth to a twin
K: For a weird reason, we never liked or welcomed the idea of dating twins. I personally feel it's not a must. It's like repetition.
Yes! We'd love to give birth to twins. I want them as girls though. It's easier to dress them alike and stuff. There's a limit to trying that with male twins.
T: We have never being fans of marrying twins like ourselves. We'd just feel really awkward doing that. But we pray all the time to both have twins as our kids. My mum would be over the moon! I would prefer girls because I feel the best thing that can ever happen is to have a twin sister. It's such a blessing!
On being compared and having a permanent bench mark in life:
K: This puts a demand on the other twin. If one twin does well, the other must not lag behind. One person's failure is shared, and vice versa. We always motivate each other to be better. Our parents would spank us both when we were much younger if one twin did something wrong. The question they asked was "What were you doing when she was doing that?" This made us accountable to each other. We both have to do well. No other way.
We are used to people comparing us. It's one of the bad sides of being an identical twin. We have however learned to defend each other, and if necessary try to explain why one twin is like this, and the other like that. Sometimes people think of us as one. Our friends would have a discussion with one of us, and assume that the other person automatically knows. We are not siamese, you know? Just identical individuals.
T: As Taiwo, I'm the reserved one. I'd rather watch people go ahead and take risks than lead the risk pack. Kehinde on the other hand is a go getter. So sometimes, people fail to realize that my strength lies elsewhere. And it hurts when people unintentionally do that. Sometimes, I just shrug it aside, other times, my ever faithful defender twin sister calls such person to order. I just love her!
This leads me to the best part of being a twin. It's a profound blessing to have a best friend for life. She always has my back, knows me more than I know myself, calls me to order when need be, pushes me which I often need, the list just goes on and on. And she also doesn't judge me. Most friends will judge but not my twin sister. God indeed has blessed me with her.
On being best friends
K: We really are each other's best friends. Our mum ensured that we were each other's confidant before having other best friends. Because we tend to think alike, we have a close circle of friends that we separately confide in for a different kind of opinion. We learnt as we grew up and matured, how to hold secrets entrusted in us individually. If a friend tells me something and doesn't want even my twin to know, I owe it to that friend to do just that (so far the reason is justified). At first, it seemed like a betrayal, but later we understood. Being born together is an unspoken rule and a divine mandate that you have a soulmate who shares what you have. I find it sad when I meet twins who aren't close. There is an inexplicable blessing in having someone by your side all through life's hurdles and achievements.
When we get married, I know somethings would change. I pray we find the transition easy.
T: We do have other close friends. The ones who have stuck have gotten to understand we are different but yet one. It's a very dicey arrangement. But we would always be number one best friend to each other.
Sadly, there are twins who don't share same sentiment. But it is just a double blessing have a twin sister and also a best friend. I once did something bad while we were much younger and Kehinde didn't rat me out, despite the punishment meted out to us. It was at such young age that I knew what loyalty meant.
I love this last photo of both of them, and two things struck out for me. First is how they seem to have the same hair style in all of the photos. That has to take some paper planning right? And now they're both studying nursing in the same university. Secondly, although a lot of their responses are similar, you can clearly see the difference in character. Kehinde is definitely the more sanguine and out going one. She throws in too many jokes and I could just picture her laughing. Taiwo is definitely more direct and straight to the point. Finally I love the emphasis they've both placed on being each other's best friend through thick and thin. Amazing.
Think you'd be able to tell them apart? On a scale of 1-10 how identical do you think they are? Now that Kenny pointed out the beauty spots, I can definitely tell the difference!
pS: I wonder how it feels as a parent not being able to tell their voices apart. Hmmm.
ppS: Check out the very first Twin Feature with Adaugo & Ugonna.