#52snapshots 2022 | Week 15, Differentiation

Week 15 asks what we did as kids to define our own identities. How did we differentiate ourselves? I had more work to do in this area. Not only did I need to forge my own identity among my peers, but also to create and maintain a separate identity from my identical twin sister. Some of this came naturally. By the time we became high school juniors, our interests and skill sets had organically diverged. I leaned toward language and history and she toward math. Together we considered ourselves one person.

One way I differentiated myself was making all my own clothes as a means of creative expression. I was not unique among my peers this way. Anyone of us could spot a Simplicity 9688 skirt sashaying down the hallway. But I’m pretty sure I was the only one who ran a factory in the summer, keeping spreadsheets on planned vs. actual production, tracking operating budgets and costs, and filing fabric swatches and pattern alteration specifications.

Another way I distinguished myself was with super-long fingernails, usually painted pale pink. But perhaps other ways included whip-fast snarky retorts and relationships with teachers with whom I felt far more comfortable than with peers. I served as student secretary to the German and Russian teachers. I think I may have been known for a killer work ethic, too. I was probably the only student in the school at 7 am.

My high school graduation portrait. I’m wearing my green wool crepe dress that I made. I wore it with either green or red stockings.

What identity did you create for yourself?

About Barbara Krasner

History writer and award-winning author Barbara Krasner writes Jewish-themed poetry, articles, nonfiction books, and novels for children and adults.
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5 Responses to #52snapshots 2022 | Week 15, Differentiation

  1. Arlene Schenker says:

    Beautiful dress you made! I only made simple A-line skirts, though I did make one dress. I defined my identity by studying ballet.

  2. dkzody says:

    I was never known for my sewing abilities. My mother, on the other hand, was a fabulous seamstress and did make almost all of my school clothes. Because of my writing skills, I helped others with their essays and was newspaper and yearbook editor. I can still write, but never did learn to sew.

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