Briseida Lopez Soriano

Here’s the Thing about Doppelgängers: They Don’t Exist

I personally believe in the paranormal. Ghosts, demons, witches, and cryptids all have to exist, what else explains the creaking floorboards in my living room? I mean, it could be my brother getting his glass of water, but we can’t just expect it’s him every time! Monsters have to exist, and they have to be everywhere. Social media can only lie about so many Tik Tok videos, but I have a favorite cryptid. Ghosts are overrated. Demons? They are literally in every horror movie to exist. I’m talking about the real scary monsters that lurk at night, ones that not many creepypastas cover since it’s so scary. I’m talking about doppelgängers. 

In the small chance you have no idea what doppelgängers are, they are basically versions of yourself from a different dimension that come to take over your current life. It doesn’t sound scary at first, but think about it, how do they replace you? Well, they usually just kill you, but they do it in unimaginable ways. It could be as simple as rigging your car so that you conveniently lose control over its breaks near a cliff. Or it could just be one clone murdering you before it takes your place. Simple things, really, but there have even been cases where these doppelgängers look exactly like your future self, which is rumored to have actually happened to Catherine the Great. 

The story goes that one day, one of Catherine’s servants had woken her up in a panic, telling her that there was someone in the throne room. When she asked the servant what the intruder looked like, the servant simply said that it was a copy of Catherine herself. Catherine dashed to the throne room, where she found the spitting image of herself sitting on the throne, but something was different. The intruder looked exactly like Catherine, except she was slightly skinnier, paler, and with dark circles under her eyes. She almost looked … dead. In an instant, Catherine told the guards, who had been waiting for orders, to fire at the intruder. At the first impact, the imposter simply started to fade away right where she was sitting and turned to mist. A few weeks after the incident, Catherine the Great died from a stroke, and she looked exactly like the intruder who sat on her throne. Creepy right? 

Clearly, doppelgängers are not good. They are known to be evil and threatening, but why are we trying to be doppelgängers in today’s society? Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t jumping dimensions or trying to murder our clones. What I mean is that we are beginning to copy one another. One of the most important things about doppelgängers is that they look exactly like the person they want to take over, but aren’t we doing the same thing nowadays? Everyone wears the same brands, has the same hairstyles, and somehow manages to wear a hoodie once a week. We are all managing to head toward the same style and physical characteristics because we want to be like doppelgängers, copying the people we think have a better life than we do. 

Let’s break this down into three different things. First, everyone in society is doing their best to aim for the same image. Second, there are benefits to being different. And third, we should be different to protect ourselves from the future arrival of our doppelgängers. 

For starters, let me give you the basic outfit of today’s teens. Preferably black sneakers with white laces, dark blue, ripped jeans that show above and below your knees, and a weird, dark T-shirt that is somehow related to music. If you walk down the street right now, this is what you’ll be seeing. Sneakers. Jeans. T-shirt. It’s very rare to see anyone wearing anything outside of that outfit, but the question is why? Everyone is entitled to their own closets, and they are able to wear whatever they wish, but why does it have to match everyone else’s clothing style? If you go on social media and scroll through all the recommended pictures and videos, you’ll see the same outfits pop up on your favorite creators and influencers. The successful people. The ones who made it. Meanwhile, you are just taking the time to look at them and their flourishing life. So if you want to make a difference, you can’t be the same anymore, you have to dress just like that person, with your sneakers,jeans, and T-shirt. Don’t forget to add “bruh” to every sentence and mention a meme in every conversation you have. 

But don’t stop there. Why don’t you listen to the songs that the creator just happened to play on the radio? It would mean that you are now similar to that person. To their image. And to their success. This is the reason why people today look alike. We want to look like the people we see being successful every day and hope that we can strive to be just like them. But we have to be honest with ourselves: we will never be like Bella Poarch, Khanbane Lame, or the Damelio siblings. These individuals have a different life than most of us and have luck in their favor. Just because we dress like them, talk like them, joke like them, doesn’t mean that we will ever become them or inherit their success. Social media is truly only a source of entertainment. It isn’t meant to be the pathway to success. 

Everyone has different abilities and skills, different styles and tastes, yet we never adapt to what we want anymore. We want what everyone else has. We must understand that we don’t need to look like everyone else or look like the most successful people to be considered successful. If we wanted to do that, why don’t we instead dress in suits similar to politicians and lawyers or wear medical coats and equipment to be the new doctors in the future. But even if we did do that, it wouldn’t work. We’d be wasting our time and money on meaningless efforts to try to become the new “successful” version of the person we want to be. Instead of striving to be someone else, why don’t we just strive to be ourselves? You know, before it’s too late. 

This isn’t a threat, it’s just a warning. Consider: we are all matching everyone else, wearing the same jeans and T-shirts, but what if we can’t stop? Wanting to belong is almost an addiction, teenagers know all of the new songs, trends, and memes, and we dedicate our lives to wanting to be seen the same as our peers, but this harms us in the end. Teenagers have the record for the worst mental health amongst age groups, and we face higher rates of anxiety, depression, and stress because our brains aren’t completely developed yet. School is one thing, but the desire to be seen as “normal” is another. 

I’ve noticed that the people who have a different look or different perspectives about life are often the most successful as well as the ones who gain the most popularity. I’m not claiming that you will automatically be super successful when you change your hair color and start wearing robes instead of T-shirts. The people who have worked hard to make a difference have always made their way in history. 

Malala Yousafrai is a feminist icon who had a difference of opinion and perspective. She questioned the discrimination she and other girls in her country had to face, going out and getting an education instead of staying at home, basically becoming a rebel. At the age of 17, she got the Nobel Peace Prize and has since met with world-famous leaders and worked with organizations to help children and women everywhere also live outside the norm. The difference she had was stepping out of feminine roles and stereotypes in her country. 

Stephen King decided that instead of writing informational pieces or the same romance novels, he would instead write the most bone-chilling and spine-tingling tales that would make you shiver from horror. His difference? He built a world of terror instead of your average stability. 

Queen Elizabeth I of England shattered the views on women, who were seen simply as people who took care of their families and children. She proved that women could be rulers and definitely make a difference in the world. Her courage led to a shift in the world and changed everyone’s perspective on life while also being very successful. 

All of these individuals have been completely different from their peer groups. Here’s what you need to understand. If you act the same way as everyone else, if you look the same way as everyone else, you will go unnoticed in society, and you won’t be the successful person you want to be. You can’t simply become the next best YouTuber by dressing up like PewdiePie or Markiplier. You can’t become the next pop singer after acting like Ariana Grande or Justin Bieber. These individuals have already set a name for themselves with their own individuality. You have to work for your own. And what would be the purpose of becoming the next “Taylor Swift” or “Shawn Mendez”? Wouldn’t you want your own title? Doesn’t it seem pointless to work so hard to grow in success and fame when all you get is to be the person you took inspiration from?

Finally, let’s consider what will happen when you actually come across your doppelgänger. If you have taken my advice and decided to be a little different, your doppelgänger is sure going to have a hard time completing its mission. Instead of immediately trying to kill you, it will instead let you have time to stall and get yourself to safety because it’s trying to learn about your new form. In all honesty, what I’m saying is that you should be different to stray from the same. There is harm from trying to be the same as your peers. You not only increase your stress and anxiety but also develop self-hate and lower self-esteem. People burn out from trying to mimic the rest of society, constantly worrying about whether they will fit in. 

It would be like trying to memorize an entire speech that you have to present to your class in two hours. Sounds horrible, right? You are worried about trying to perfect this speech and that you might mess up even if you manage to memorize it. Plus, it would be horrible if your classmates made fun of the way you give your speech. The constant pressure and peering eyes would make anyone snap in half from the stress. It’s horrible, but we do that to ourselves every day. Everyone has done lots of things to look good in public and in front of friends. But when you mess up the thing you maybe want to show off, you just feel heartbroken, hurt, and exhausted because you have kept that act up for so long. Why should you feel pain for something that doesn’t matter? Maybe you shouldn’t be doing things that will only end up hurting you mentally and maybe even physically. It’s time to change this horrible habit that we have.

I know it’s hard, since you want to be seen as this awesome person. But you already are. The way you dress, it doesn’t matter. The way you act, it doesn’t matter. The way that you express yourself doesn’t matter. As long as you do your best to become the best you that you can be, you will be successful. And you won’t have to worry about your doppelgänger taking over your life anytime soon. 

Briseida Lopez Soriano is a 16 year old trying to survive in school. She lives in her California home near her friends and family. Her time is usually spent on reading and doing speech and debate if it isn’t focused on school. She always takes the time to try and write something out to, as per quote, “get the creative juices flowing.”