Monday, October 29, 2007

inherited strange

I read this freakishly engaging book, Identical Strangers, by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein, these identical twins who were separated soon after their birth and raised in separate adoptive families, and none of them, parents or children, knew they were twins until one of them went searching for her/their birth mother when she was thirty-five. Imagine getting that call. “Hello? You don’t know me, but I’m your identical twin.” How does one deal?

One of my closests and dearests lent me the book. This friend is like my personal library of delectable soul-searching, spirituality-seeking memoirs, including but not limited to eat pray love, A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. I finished Identical Strangers in two days, it was so good, like crack totally must be. It was riveting like a good British mystery is reported to be. I don’t read mysteries myself, but I’ve always wanted to.

What struck me and yet depressed me about the book, initially anyway, is that it seems to prove that our personalities, for the most part, are inherited. The fact that I get stuck and insecure so easily, my indoorsy hermititude, my tendency to fall down the rabbit-hole of ‘compare-and-despair,’ are all genetic traits I possess like my promient wrist-bones, shiny brown hair and detached earlobes. But that also means that the seeker I am, who is sometimes the finder, well, that’s also inherited. I believe this. Today I believe this anyway, because I think my tendency to utterly lose myself in a good book is also genetic. I also and possibly contrarily believe that it’s possible to “re-wire” the brain and create new lifestyle habits, but it takes dedication. And the good news is that I got dedication, baby. In spades. Because I deal in the Truth. It’s what I am after, ultimately. Oh yeah. At least that’s what I tell myself and my therapist.


hubby said...

may your vats overflow with goodliness and truth and may you find solace in your hermitude, which may be my new favorite word (I have to think about it first).

Sat Nam baby. These kids are lucky they're cute or BACK TO THE SASKATCHEWAN with them

Toby said...

Hey Elise, I actually knew identical twins who were adopted into different families. They didn't know they had a twin until they ran into each other in the streets of NYC.

Paula said...

Hope to see you at a pilates class in Park Slope sometime soon!
Paula (1/2 of "Identical Strangers")