Culture Clash: The Battle Of Being Yourself Around Others part 2

The 2013 Discipleship Training School Peeps

The 2013 Discipleship Training School Peeps

The Rise Of The Coconut
Earlier during my first clash I mentioned how the Caucasians influenced who I am today mostly because I hung around them more than anyone from other ethnicities. This did not stop in high school. I was first a day-scholar before heading to boarding school. My best friend was Black (Sub-Saharan Africa, not African-American), but I still spent more time with the Caucasians. I also had best friends within that particular group. You could say that all that was missing were Asians and Indians since I did not meet or know any members of the other continents. I then went to boarding school and still kept to the Caucasians despite the majority of my time being with the Blacks. Obviously by this point in my life it was nothing more than a natural tendency to do so rather than a racial preference. In fact it was counterintuitive and counter-productive for me because they often dissed me for fun, and that was because I never dissed back. Every now and then I would do so and be very impactful, to the point that it gained me respect with everyone. As a result there were a number of nicknames they gave me, one of which was “Coconut.” That did not stay for long but I embraced it and proudly displayed it. Those who asked why, learned that it was because I am Black outside and White inside. Interesting enough though one of my best Caucasian friends loved Black people, to the extent that he became Black inside, although I do not know what one would call that.

Why Do You Talk Like That?
Two weeks are all I had with my cousin from Texas. He stayed for longer during his two month break, but most of it was spent traversing the country. I am convinced he has seen more of it than I have! All of a sudden, as if from nowhere, people in primary school started saying I spoke differently. I felt and sounded the same but the jealousy of my family confirmed it. Those at youth said the same thing and when I went to boarding school, everyone I met echoed the same words. I finally gave in. I could not take it anymore. What was it they were referring to? My newly acquired American accent. There is another story I use which is the fact that I was an exchange student in Orlando Florida for a year pursuing media, mainly film. I do this because my previous one is apparently very literally unbelievable. Now I am a Southern African who is White inside with an American accent. I prided myself in being the only person who used British terms with an American accent. It gets even bigger than that. Somehow I had some people who thought I had a Hugh Grant British accent! They were more than 100% convinced of that. Do not ask why. I cannot fake a British accent to save my life.

When Will You Stop Fooling Around?
To be honest, never. You have no idea how much fun it is meeting native-born Americans and talking to them as though I were one of them! My accent was so strong (to my surprise) no American to this day has ever noticed that I am not from the States without me disclosing that info. I obtained my accent in 2000 and went to the States end of 2003 to beginning of 2004. Of course my accent got even stronger when I was there. It was just a matter of learning American terms. Which is actually a very interesting experience I had 3 years later when I went to Denmark to do Bible school. This is where part of a European side of me was born. The comforting part was realizing that the Danes I was around, only knew American English which meant that they had no problem with an African that had an American accent. Yes! Then what was the problem? They were. I literally changed so many English terms to American ones because that was all they knew. I found out it was because of Indiana Jones and other programs that affected their English. This made sense because even they admitted that Danish-English is appalling. At this point I am an American-speaking African. I still made fun of the Americans I met by simply being me, giving them the impression I was from the States. Since I was in Denmark I learned Danish. I could speak 50% then but sadly it is reduced to 30% now.

What About Losing Touch With Your African Side?
Did I not mention I was African? I can see why you would be concerned with that given everything I have experienced thus far. While I admit that American music still fills the majority of my library, I spend a lot time enjoying beautiful African tunes. I can definitely dance like a South African but still need to perfect some of the Zim dances, namely, The Borrowdale. My favourite ones of them all are the Gumboot Dances. When the women shake what their mama gave them, and believe me no one can do it like African women, we men hit it either with The Borrowdale or Gumboot Dance. For the women it is cultural. It is their tradition. They are born skilled. It will take years for Miley Cyrus and Shakira to come close them, or weeks depending on practice time and skill level. That is the side of me that remains African besides my passport. Unfortunately because of my accent it is not a good idea for me to learn Shona since the sensitivity of proper pronunciation gets in the way. The right words, spoken the wrong way to the wrong person at the wrong time spells D.A.N.G.E.R.

What’s This About Being A Culture Chameleon?
In a sense when you think about it, that is exactly what being multicultural entails. During my time in Denmark we had mission trips to Faroe Islands and Slovakia but we passed through Norway too. I spent time with my Estonian and Greenlandic friends. I picked up a thing or two from these places and people. Together with my aunt on holiday, we went to Italy and Germany. I visited my mother in England in the same year that I gained my accent. Having told my leaders, a few years ago when I was with YWAM in South Africa all of that, they themselves acknowledged that I was multicultural. What part of all these places have you embraced? How do you tie in all this with Christian culture? More on that later.

Culture Clash: The Battle Of Being Yourself Around Others part 1

WARNING: There will be a lot of reference to all ethnicities. They are nothing more than a description of my relationship with the individuals that represented each one and not intended to be offensive, whether implied or direct. Neither does it reflect my views about any of them. If you are sensitive then it is best not to continue.

What Happened At School
I acknowledge that I did not have the best of friends in primary school but I will admit that they played a huge part in shaping who I am today. Having transferred in the fourth grade a few times in different schools, making and keeping friends was a very daunting task. At first I hung around my Black guys (more Sub-Saharan Africa, not African-American) because it came easily and naturally. After a few days I found myself being ridiculed and scolded by the Caucasian guys in my class. This came as a huge shock because I was a literally just transferred and before I knew it I was already public enemy number 1! What did I do? Who spread rumours of me and what were they? Most importantly, why was it only the Caucasians? The only person I suspected was a neighbour of ours who, to my misfortune, happened to be my teacher and, ironically,  Black as well. No other dots connected.

The Victim Approach
There was nothing more embarrassing and shameful than pleading for acceptance into the various groups that were formed during break time. All that needed to happen was for everyone to stand up and go to another spot as soon as I arrived. I literally felt like a black sheep! All this continued for a few days, in fact nearly a week, until I gave up. Two guys came to my rescue, one a native-born Zimbabwean, the other a Zimbabwean of Italian descent. These two very quickly became my best friends and that, I believe, is where a multicultural side of me was born. I say this because I never spoke our native language, Shona at all at home, which would have been a great start to understanding how so many things in our culture work. I was ignorant of a lot of things. I have realized the connection between the language and way of life which in essence is exactly what culture is.

Andy and Edward (the Italian) kind of served as my culture liaisons. To be honest, to this very day I still don’t understand or know what it is I did to have such negative influence, but the Caucasians began warming up to me when they observed my outstanding performance in soccer. Admittedly my guys standing up for me when the need arose played a monumental factor in pacifying my now friends. I will always cherish their friendship, as their deeds will forever be imprinted in the depths of my heart. As the days and weeks passed, slowly but surely I became very close to my Caucasian friends, so much so, that they ended up being very good friends of mine. I predominantly stuck with them more than any other race. Granted I did have Indian and Asian friends which I was good with too, it is only that I somehow-in a very strange way-was able to relate to the Caucasians more readily and easily than any other ethnicity.

Going Home As Someone Different
The serious dynamics with regards to the Shona culture are amazing. The number of battles I have had to face with my cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents are crazy. Due to the close relationship with each family member, both immediate and extended, there no cousins, nieces, nephews aunts and uncles, basically no extended family. Now those terms are there in the language aside from the fact that there is an exceptionally deep value placed on blood relationships. It was strange to me when my female cousin, the daughter of my father’s brother, told me I was her brother. In my culture her father is my father because they are brothers. The same goes for mothers who are sisters. It gets very interesting when referring to sisters-n-law, how you refer to them depends on the age difference between you and your brother’s wife or his wife’s sister/s. A taste of how it works is broken down here and here.

How Did You Handle All That?
With great difficulty! Having spent the majority of my primary school life not learning anything about the deep parts of our culture, I stayed with what was easier for me-the West. When I introduced my female cousins to each other, since they were my cousins from the sides of both my parents, I told them that they were each other’s second cousin. Needless to say that definitely raised eyebrows! Imagine their reaction if I told them about their great uncles and aunts.
Music, movies and TV shows heavily influenced my cultural views too. For example my stepmother is to be acknowledged as my real mother because she is my father’s wife. I completely disagree with that since it was, still is, and alway will be very confusing just thinking about having two mothers. I believe it was Parent Trap and of course Modern Family that played a part in that. Then there are other points to consider generally with all cultures:

1) The language
2) The way you both address and behave around those older than you, namely, parents, uncles, aunts, all their friends and colleagues, and most importantly senior citizens.
3) Clothes
4) Food
5) Music

Unfortunately I learned all these the hard way! Thankfully I had friends and some family members show me the ropes in order to avoid further embarrassment. I am not a fan of our traditional meal which happens to be the staple food: Sadza (South Africa- Pap; Kenya-Ugali; Nigeria-various, depending on tribe). The other traditional piece of food I detest is what we call guru which is tripe (cow intestines).

How Are You Multicultural?
I have kept to part of my culture which is appropriately addressing the elderly and behaving the same as well. Occasionally eating the staple food and really only wearing the traditional clothes on Africa day. It does sadden me though that we do not actually have any national attire. The other part of me is South African, European and American. More on that later.

Time Travelling Through Life

Courtesy of i.kinja-img.com

Blast from the Past
Very popular movies like Terminator, Star Trek, About Time, Time Traveler’s Wife, and X-Men Days Of Future Past, all have an interesting curiosity about them. It is not necessarily a case of them being time travel movies but rather the fact that they get you thinking a little bit. Wondering. What would you do if you could go back in time and right your wrongs? It reminds me of when Bruce Wayne In Bruce Almighty chose to correct the problems he had when was given God-powers. Instead of prioritizing the need of others, he focused on himself. My question therefore is, regardless of the kind of past you had, what would you change if you could go back to it? A lot of our present decisions, philosophies and values are formed by various kinds of experiences from the past-whether good or bad. Both myself and others I have heard, often or occasionally say, “If I knew then what I know now,” and what I tend to redirect that thinking to is, “Do whatever it takes to make sure you never say that in the future about now.”

Journey through music
More than any other effect music has on us, I believe the greatest one is the ability to take us back to moments we enjoyed the most. Even pieces you have no idea of, simply trigger that beautiful memory that, in some small way, made a difference for you. I love how couples burst into conversation, laugh and finish each other’s sentences the second “their song” comes up. What I love about these kinds of encounters is that they never need to be distant memories. You may have heard a song last week that caused your moment to be funny, eventful, extraordinary, and unforgettable. Imagine going through a single circumstance, instrumentals, a chorus, last part of a verse,  that lasted less than 5 seconds, but still influences you in a big way today.

NB: Life Presents the Present as a Present to us.

The Gift Of Now
Earlier on the radio today the DJ and his team were asking the nation about why there are jealous family members of their rich family member. They use whatsapp as a communicating platform and some of the people that came through had some good points. Of course a few mentioned the suspicious use of juju to obtain the wealth, whilst others said that it is because of laziness and the feeling of inferiority from the victim’s side. To be honest I believe that feeling is, a lot of the time, self-inflicted. Why are you lazy? I think some people become lazy when they harbour the thought of putting effort into receiving the reward they desire: money. They want the easy way out. The DJ properly and appropriately encouraged and exhorted everyone to be serious, do what you can with what you have, make the most of it. Get up and do something. The future is not a far away country, a distant prize or a lifelong voyage. To many it may feel like it is but very big and successful companies and sports coaches, often emphasize: The Future Is Now. What day are you going to choose to say, “I have made it. I have arrived. I achieved my dream and I am living it.”?

Attracting Your Dream To You
I do know that from a reality perspective some may be thinking, “That’s easier said than done. Given my situation there is no way I can accomplish what I want.” Your life must impact the next generation in one way or another. The small things you can do must not be taken for granted. With each step you take, the more creative you get, the more connections you make, the more doors you open. It really is that simple because it is not complicated, but that difficult because it is not easy. What do you want the future you to say to the current you? What letter are you going to write to your future self? Your future self is counting on you! Do not disappoint them. Think about how much it would suck if your future self wanted so badly to be something, but you were too afraid to do something to get there. The good news though is your future self is an understanding person, even you are personally not, because they know that even though you are not where you wanted to be, at least you are not where you used to be.

Acting Patiently
The process of bringing the future to the present is the same as writing an exam. After you work, you have to wait for your results. You do not (generally) get paid after working through the day. Neither can any plant grow after you planted the seed. Depending on your performance in the exam the results will reflect that. The proportion of effort, time and preparation you put into the exam is the same degree you get in your results. If you do not like where you are now, think about what you have done, how much effort and time you put into it, and how long you (habitually) chose to wait for the results?

The Age Gap
Recently my little brother spoke to my dad about the differences between the way life is lived today and the way it was lived in his day. He went on to describe how smooth and easy things were back then. When I think about it now, the Industrial Age did actually make life better than the Information Age to some extent. For one, it took two weeks for letters to be delivered to people. If it was being delivered overseas it took around two months, so government leaders would have to wait six months for a reply to be at their doorstep. If you wanted to call someone you had to either be at home, the office or a public payphone. The catch obviously was that you had to know the schedule of the recipient, especially if you were trying to reach them at home. Most entertaining thing? Yoyo, at least from what he recalls. Apparently if you learned how to walk the dog you were the equivalent of the popular kid in high school.

In a very literal sense, “Patience was the order of the day.” Ironically that is one of my personal favourite sayings for this day and age. It comes alongside, “Everything comes down to desire.” Not to mention the typewriter for documents instead of using Microsoft Word! Now our parents and grandparents, uncles, aunts and great uncles and aunts, have to (continue to) succumb to things happening in the blink of an eye. You just have to wait a few seconds or minutes for the microwave to warm your food instead of building a fire or using the stove and waiting a little longer. They have to transition from snail mail to email, sms and chats. Instant replies instead of waiting a few weeks or months. Having to type in cell phones, both feature and smart, desktop computers, laptops, tablets and phablets, as opposed to pieces of paper. It is no wonder they have difficulty operating some of these gadgets that we Information Age people take for granted! I am more than certain it is the reason they regress so much. I used to hate having to hear, “Back in our days, “When we were growing up,” and the cherry on top, “You guys have it easy, ” but now it kind of stirs a curiosity for me. For the record I was born in the latter part of the Industrial Age so I am not too big a stranger to it. I understand both worlds quite well.

The best thing the Industrial Age did was provide jobs. If your father was a baker, you would automatically become a baker and your pension and benefits were taken care of by the government. This is where the, “Go to school, get good grades and a safe, secure job, ” mentally was born. Unfortunately it got carried over to the Information Age where creating jobs is the idea, especially from primary school age. Teaching children how to bake, draw or make jewellery and sell their product, be designers or investors, is supposed to be the norm, but the Industrial Age mentality holds them back:

Son: I want to be a soccer star
Dad: Will that put food on your table? What if it doesn’t work out, then what?

Daughter: I want to be a dancer?
Mom: Are you going to be dancing your whole life? How will you put a roof over your head with that?

The Switch
Bless their hearts. The transition is very difficult for a lot of Industrial Age people. I have seen very few of my extended family members and my friends’ families make a smooth one as though they have always lived in the Information Age. The sad reality is that things will not go back to the way they used to be. That is what introduces the greatest challenge for Information Age children living with Industrial Age parents. Two lifetimes existing in and as one. The only way to cross the present to create a bright future is to stop living in the past.

Celebrating Celebrations

Proverbs 15:15

All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]

The Fabrication Of Created Memories

Walks, rides, swims, drives, stargazing-reminiscing on what once was while hoping that what is, does not become so. Sure enough one may not always get the chance to capture the moment or remember to do so should the opportunity arise. What then is the point of rituals (repetitive practice of a certain activity), customs and traditions? Why do we take note of them? I am not belittling or downplaying phenomenal events like Easter, Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries, however, I am pointing out how interesting it is we equate small annual celebrations of our own to ones as big as these. Recently I was awarded and reminded that this is my third year blogging on WordPress. Admittedly, just as others in my position have stated, I have not always been faithful enough to receive such recognition. A very crucial reason why I accept it with immense gratitude, though, is because of the time and effort taken to conceive, compile, compose, compress and create each post which, to me, is masterpiece after masterpiece.

Collecting The Memories Thoughtfully
Continuing with my thought about the purpose of celebrating, for example, one month relationship anniversaries, the same with sustenance and maintenance of jobs, among other things, I wanted to see if there was any point in taking so much time and paying so much attention to the memories that are desired to be made, when first they have not been planned for. Of course selfies every now then help but what about the bigger picture? What about the story? They say a picture paints a thousands words, so what is it that drives us to take great note of specific days in the year and regarding them with such high value? Could it be that we create some of them ourselves? I have heard of “Make Your Bed Day,” and “Stupid Questions Day.” Of course there are some celebrations or dedications that bear enormous importance. We cannot discount the month we are currently in, being “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” Aside from the obvious ones like “Thanksgiving” and “Valentines Day,” I want to focus your attention on selective memories.

How Do You Know What Is Right?
Now from a professional photographer’s perspective, perceiving the precise point required for the photo to be as perfect as possible is insurmountable. With that said, taking as many photos as possible from as many different angles is the key idea. Now for some of the normal folk who have not gone through training will simply take as many photos as they can, more so as a desperate attempt to seize the hour and ensure that not one second of the experience is lost. Only problem? When hundreds or maybe thousands of photos have been taken, how do you decided which ones are important? Can you make that decision right at the spur of the moment? Imagine how amazing your photos will look when you know exactly what to take, when and how.

Same thing in this case. For me, because every post is a masterpiece, or at the very least, one that is a piece carefully positioned for the outcome to be more than special, I celebrate each and every one. As I said before, the time taken to craft them is what makes the reward of publishing them so thrilling. Those are my small celebrations. Each day then becomes, “Blog Post Day, ” or if I did it weekly, “Blog Post Week.” Very small but very significant. Ask yourself what moves, motivates and compels you to catch the memories you want to create. Ask yourself what about them are the most important and how you are going to tell a story. What part of your or someone else’s life does it represent? I believe dedications and celebrations bear more meaning when some sort of aim is in place. Even spontaneous ones become that much more awe-inspiring.

Double-Vision: Are You Seeing Things When You See Twins?

Courtesy of csmonitor.com

Tammy & Liesel

Tammy & Liesel

Getting It Right At School
The first time I witnessed twins was at high school. It really was a new world for me. The major challenge I kept trying to break past was, how to tell the difference between them! My friends, Liesel and Tammy, were a lot of fun. They were almost always together and everyone in their grade (they were 10 when I was 8) knew exactly who they wanted to talk to. As I got to know them (their classmates and friends) I found out that their friends in the lower grades also happened to have no problem telling them apart. This frustrated me because I really wanted to know who was who. Everyone made it sound as though it were a piece of cake. I decided enough was enough, went to one of them (Liesel), established a decent relationship and asked her how I could always and easily know when it was her I was talking to. I previously learned from everyone else but I wanted to confirm what they said. It was kind of funny and weird having to greet Liesel when she and Tammy walked together. Now, at the time Tammy had a fringe and Liesel did not. That made life easy. They are both married now so I will refer to them as the Former Rundell Twins.

Tia & Tamera

Tia & Tamera

TV Twins
I remember some of my favourite TV shows I used to see when I was in primary school. Ones like That’s So Raven along with other Nickelodeon shows really made my day. For some reason truly unknown to me, I had a particular fascination for Tia & Tamera. Actually today, admittedly, I still enjoy their shows. I believe there is certain realness they bring in every episode. It transcends script and to some degree reveals a certain level of transparency. They definitely bring you the real deal. Twins or not, everyone relates to small silly mistakes made at the wrong times. Wrong messages sent to the wrong person. Saying the wrong thing at an interview or  to a prominent person after working so hard to say and do the right thing in front of them in a desperate attempt to give a good first impression!

images-1

Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen, as I remember them

As for the Olsen Twins I have no clue what they are like. They were sort of figures that kept popping in and out of parts of my childhood. I would see something about them-whether it were an article or image-understand it, then move on as though I saw nothing. At other times I saw Red Carpet moments, and I think those were the “Flashy” encounters I had. Apart from their twin nature and popularity, I generally knew nothing about them. Why do they feature here, then? They do so because they play a part in stirring up the curiosity I have always had about twins ever since I laid eyes on the first pair.

It Is The Same Difference
I always hated it with a a passion when anyone said that. Here in Africa, namely Zimbabwe, some, not most people have a terrible habit of saying that. It is an interesting oxymoronic statement, that creates a circumstance where I hear the deafening silence of their defence, that keeps them falsely true. It was a difference, nonetheless, that led me to a resolve I have run with to this day-to find out what that difference is. The indirect search brought me to very good friends of mine, the Fortunato Twins. Meeting them caused a situation where I began speculating the possibility of all twins having nicknames that are unique to them. They enjoy stating with great pride the fact they are, “Twinzies.” They market it as though it were a product, vocally display it as though it were a label and embrace it as though it were their life motto. In many ways it kind of is, a “Life Trademark,” if you will, that expresses everything they do and embodies everything they are.

It got me wondering if there is a certain similarity with all twins in that there is something unique to each one that is described by a nickname, as if to say they were a “different make.” What I loved most about them, though, is that they were un-identical twins. That made them the first twins I could tell apart with absolutely no problem! Sadly I must admit, that was not the case the first time I witnessed them. They tell their story about their background and present life, along with anything and everything that makes them the Twinzies they are, right here.

Abigail & Gabrielle

Abigail & Gabrielle

Ever Met Pen-Pal Twins?
A very popular figure here on WordPress, she speaks of her journey of self-discovery. She truly is a very down to earth person. I love how she expresses every bit of her thoughts about what you write. When she comments on your posts, she is 100% honest about how she feels and what she thinks about what you said. Such genuine authenticity is fortunately not so rare. It can still be challenging to find them but at least the search will not be drastic. Her name is Nyasha, although on her blog she is commonly known as Sherline. Together with her sister, Sharon, they call themselves, “Twinnies.”

My friend happened to meet some other twins whilst he was blogging away. This was awesome because they were a part of his community and I later found out that they were a part of mine too, not necessarily because we were connected through him. We commented on each other’s posts and followed each other and it was fun getting to know them. Here you have my pen-pal twins, only because I have never met them in real life:

Sharon & Nyasha

Sharon & Nyasha

Gabrielle Angel

Gabrielle Angel

Autumn Sunshine

Autumn Sunshine

Fitness Twins
How awesome is it to see twins workout together? I would really love to see that in real life. I think I came close this one day. We were taking a holiday I believe in South Africa and met visitors from the States. They did mention that they were going to go for a run but I cannot fully remember whether or not they actually did, and if they did, whether they did so on a day our family planned something at the time they were going to go for the run! My guess? The latter. I recently saw a video of twins working out. I thought that was great. These guys can motivate anyone to go the gym, not just twins. Meet the Harrison Twins:

Were there ever any twins in the Bible?

Of course there were! It actually does not make sense to have twins in the 21st Century without introducing them way back in the first century.

Jacob and Esau – the obvious ones, sons of Isaac and Rebecca, are the first twins mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 25:19-28). The story of Jacob is told in Genesis 25:19-37:36 and 42:1-50:3. The story of Esau is found in Genesis 25:19-28:9, 32:1 -33:20, and 35:27-36:43. From Jacob the twelve tribes of Israel descended. Esau became the father of the Edomites (Genesis 36:19,43; Obadiah 1:6; Malachi 1:2-3).

Ephraim and Manasseh –The Bible does not directly state that the two sons of Joseph and Asenath were twins, but there is good reason to believe they were. First, Genesis mentions they were both born “before the year of famine came” (Genesis 41:50). Second, two conceptions are not mentioned in the text. Third, if they are twins they fit nicely into the pattern seen in the lives of Isaac and Judah: both their younger twins inherited the birthright, just as the younger Ephraim was blessed first by Jacob (Genesis 48:19). Jacob promised that both Ephraim and Manasseh would become patriarchs of a multitude, which began a traditional blessing said in Israel: “God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh” (Genesis 48:20).

You can have a look at Thomas the disciple, who was called “The Twin,” because that is what his name means, except we have no idea who his twin is (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). His surname was Didymus (John 11:16; 20:24; 21:2), meaning “double,” or “twofold.” Castor and Pollux sons of Greek gods mentioned in Acts 28:11, and maybe Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-2. I am not too sure about the last one though.

What Some Twins Love To Do

You get Fashion Twins 

Amber & Gabrielle Mancino

Amber & Gabrielle Mancino

 Adventure Twins

French Twins with the Fortunato Twins

French Twins with the Fortunato Twins

  Wrestling Twins

Nicole & Brianna Bella

Nicole & Brianna Bella

 Singing Twins

The Royce Twins are Gabriel and Michael Saalfield

The Royce Twins are Gabriel and Michael Saalfield

 Dancing Twins

Laurent  & Larry Les

Laurent & Larry Les

Acrobat Twins

Sam & Teagan Rybka

Sam & Teagan Rybka

StandupComedyTwins

Justin & Chris Nelson

Justin & Chris Nelson

Talk about living life together! This takes brother and sisterhood to the next level! Of course, I would like to believe that it is easier for same sex twins to do stuff together than opposite sex twins (fraternal twins- also refers to non-identical same sex twins). I have seen that is virtually, if not literally, impossible for fraternal (opposite sex) twins to be identical. What I mean when I say, “cannot do stuff together” as far as opposite sex twins are concerned, I mean the deep stuff. Talking girl/guy stuff and relating to each other from a gender perspective.

When I think about all of the above, with the way they do what they do best-and quite possibly love to do-together, I can only imagine what that should and would be like for triplets, quadruplets and other multiples. One thing I would really love to see, whether on TV or real life, is a singing competition with a quartet (the gender arrangement does not matter) going against quadruplets.

My Twin Journey
Yes I know, it looks and sounds weird saying that because I am not a twin, however, twins and multiples do not realize that they take the rest of us through a journey too. You know who you want to talk to, but you do not know if the person you are looking at is the one. As I mentioned earlier that I determined within myself to find out the differences between twins and/or multiples. I mean the literal differences not the figurative expression of arguments and contention taking place. Having spent a lot of time with the Fortunato Twins and catching up on more of their lives on their blog, I came to pick out quite a number of differences, although they seemed to be unique to them, meaning that they did not occur as a result of them being twins, implying that it happens to all twins. I then began to understand how to interact with both of them, as individuals and as twins, allowing me to celebrate their differences and embrace their similarities. This is the angle to which I approach all twins. I cannot say the same for multiples because I have never spent time with some.

A lot of the best moments I have had with twins is making them say the same thing at the same time. You have no idea how hard that is. It often happens indirectly, especially when it is not my intention. I also love how they can think similarly and differently at the same tine when they are not together, denoting times when you speak to them individually about 5 minutes apart, paying careful attention the way they express themselves. I make crazy experiments, but that is where my conclusion to find differences comes from.

I know beyond shadow of doubt what everyone can identify with, twin, multiple, or not: comparison. I detest with a passion-whether talking about a light matter, such as behaviour, or a serious one like career paths-being compared to my brothers and vice-versa. Admittedly it is kind of fun comparing twins and multiples to their complete other. In the end, when I spend time with twins and God-willing multiples, the major difference I want to know is what helps me tell them apart with ease. 

The Kind Of Impact That Comes From Indirect Compliments

Iron sharpens Iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose]. Proverbs 27:17

A gentle tongue [with its healing power] is a tree of life, but wilful contrariness in it breaks down the spirit. Proverbs 15:4

Why not just be straight?
That’s a really good question. A lot of people have had some experiences that I have numbered down to a few suggestions:

a) It is very possible that the recipient may feel like their being hit on. This is obviously the case with a man complimenting a woman or boy complimenting a girl. Now I use the term, “being hit on,” very loosely because there sometimes can be no avoiding the special treatment when it comes to ulterior motives, meaning you are suddenly King Of The Hill or Queen B when your ears get tickled with affirmative terms. In such cases it will not matter which gender is complimenting which.

a-ii) The giver’s body language compromising them so that no matter how innocent the intent is or may appear to be, they dig themselves a hole the second they utter the first word. Their tone of voice, facial expression, and hand gestures are the main culprits responsible for their disaster.

b) The recipient’s insecurity resulting from emotional and psychological manipulation in and from the past. This is very much related to the conclusive point I made in my first proposition. When the recipient is made to feel really good about whatever has been spoken about them, they feel obliged to repay the favor with an action. This is a process that could easily take a long time to fulfil because of its sensitive nature, meaning how easy it is to sniff out deceit. The more the recipient lowers their guard, the greater the chances are of exploiting them. The worst is when they feel compelled to return the favor, kind of like an equivalent exchange deal: you do for me what I do for you.

I know part (b) may be a bit extreme but it was the only example I could think of as far as understanding why some people find it hard to receive compliments, or become self-conscious. I wanted to paint a picture that made enough sense to at least have an idea as to what the emotional and psychological background, and ultimately, the reason (for negative reception) could be. Now I am no psychologist but I like to imagine the possibilities for certain things happening and why, in this case, it is more effective to give indirect compliments.

My Experience
I grew up having been dissed every day close to my whole school life. As a result of that whenever people did say nice things about me, it was quite hard to receive. For me it was because I was less comfortable with direct kindness, I contribute that to the direct harshness I received. I was too soft spoken to diss back. I could not think quick enough to come up with a better come back than what was dished at me.
Thinking over the years about why I did not like it when someone complimented me, I linked it back to my love language. I knew it was not words, and that is what I concluded for a very, very long time in my life. Then what happened to me happened to others from my angle. I hated the fact that sometimes my compliments were not always received regardless of the fact that I had no ulterior motives. Shallow expressions of gratitude, especially those brought from passive smiles gave me the heads up. I experimented with certain words and realized the impact each one had on an individual. Being  a guy, it mattered a lot how I complimented girls. Needless to say my experiments proved successful particularly when I considered, location (public or private), my relationship with the individual, the type of compliment, personality (if stranger or acquaintance), environment (lively or laid back), and the timing of my compliment.

What is it like now?
I am not a robot if that is what you are thinking. Of course I love it every time someone says something nice about what I do. Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation go well together, so for me the best compliment you can give has to be about something I have achieved successfully, whether small or great. It obviously cannot be sarcastic because I will see through that. That is the best direct compliment to give me otherwise let me overhear you or hear from others that you have been saying nice things about me., or just keep quiet and not mention a word if you do not have anything nice to say.

Worth Testing It Out
What have you got to lose? After all, your efforts have been in vain, right? Might as well get what you have never had (a positive reaction) by doing what you have never done (give an indirect compliment). See what happens. Another neat thing to do is be partially cryptic about other people’s thoughts towards the person: I heard you’re skilled with social media or my favourite They say you’re skilled with social media. Of course that will stir curiosity to which you can eventually lead them back to you. Some direct compliments that work too are the self-degrading kinds. I hate those because of two reasons 1) I have a high self-esteem and 2) I am an optimist. I would very seldom say:

i) I wish I was as amazing at (the activity) as you are
ii) If I was half as proficient at this as you are

I would much rather say: I love how great you are at editing. It reminds me of how awesome I am with sound. 

I have begun growing in receiving positive feedback. I now respond by saying, “Confirm? Glad you noticed.”Essentially giving positive feedback about someone is much more helpful than telling the person directly. Your words will sink deep into their heart and resonate with their soul. It may change the perspective they had of themselves and help them see the other side of the coin. A side they never would otherwise have seen or known of, had it not been for you to turn them to it.
Just talk about them positively to everyone and the news will eventually reach their ears. Convince people to think the same way so that you can avert suspicion of ulterior motives.