We all have secrets. Some secrets are the result of things we keep private from others for fear that we might be judged harshly. Some secrets just happen, not because of anything we do or say, but just because life moves fast and people don’t have the time or interest to learn these secrets.
My secret? I have a twin. Many of my friends don’t even know he exists. Sure, everyone knows my older brother, Jake ’11. He made quite a splash here. He is as opinionated as I am, we have had many of the same teachers and we share some of the same friends. But people do not know my secret twin, Brad.
We were born a minute apart and we live just feet away from each other, yet we live in different worlds. Sure, I see him all the time. Sometimes I don’t see him but just feel his presence or the effects of his presence. He confettis my room. He steals cookies I make for friends’ birthdays. When friends come over, they are surprised to meet my secret twin. Physically, we are different. He towers over me, he sings and acts, he reads obscure existential novels and contemplates string theory.
But he isn’t just physically different. He attends high school in a different place — a different world. His high school isn’t the academic powerhouse of Harvard Westlake, but it has attributes that make it special in a different way. Brad’s high school more closely resembles the sort of place my parents speak about when they reminisce about their youth — dress up days, less competition, unabashed school spirit, a shared value system. At my brother’s school, everyone knows he has a twin sister. It’s indicative of a sharing community — it has traditions and a persona that I am envious of.
In some ways, I think of our Homecoming Formal, with its “retro” venue of our own Taper Gym, as a step toward being more like a “typical” high school. I had a sense, being at the gym all decked for a dance, that this high school has a soul, something that hasn’t always been clear.
In some sense, the dance made our school seem a little bit more like my secret twin’s school. Perhaps we should try to get in touch with that feeling more often.
This got me thinking. Perhaps we should step a bit out of our comfort zone and get to know more about each other and each other’s secrets. Harvard-Westlake doesn’t have a corner on the market on high school experience. There is much we can gain from emulating the best in others. I’m going to start by sharing a secret or two. One, I liked our simple homecoming dance. We should be open to more events like this. Two, I have a secret twin. We should be a little less self-absorbed and focused only on what affects us day to day. We should want to know more about each other and our secrets. It’s time for us to meet each other’s secret twins.