This week, Jen and I attended a Post Secret Event held at the U of I. What is a “Post Secret Event”? Well, that’s a good question, first you probably should know what Post Secret is. Post Secret is an art project started by Frank Warren. He started it by walking around Washington DC passing out post cards that were blank on one side and had instructions to share their secrets on the other. He would introduce himself, “Hi, my name is Frank and I collect secrets.” That’s how it began and slowly he started to get people to mail him their secrets. A few a day at first to now he receives over 1000 a week. That’s the short version, for the extended-dance-mix version, click here.
Every Sunday, Frank posts about 20 new cards on his blog. I first heard about Post Secret a couple of years ago and have been following it since. The popularity of this project has been nothing short of unbelievable. To date, he’s received over 300,000 secrets, has published 4 books (with a 5th on the way) and has had over 215 million visitors to his site.
I think it is one of the coolest social experiments that has ever existed. The cards range from the funny; “I cried when my favorite Sim died.” , to the weird; “I love the smell of my pee after I drink coffee.”, to the brutally serious; “After I was date-raped, I dated and slept with the guy that did it 3 more times. I hoped that if I could make it a “real” relationship, I wouldn’t have to admit to myself that the rape was real.”
At the event he shared with the group some of the postcards that he couldn’t publish in the books because they had copyright infringements or were too graphic. He also shared some of the stories behind some of the secrets. He then asked if anyone would like to share a secret with the group. Several people went to the microphones and shared. It’s amazing to me what effect this project has had on peoples lives. Frank has used it to support the national suicide help line, raising money for their cause to keep the line going. I think it also lets people know that they are not alone and that others have dealt or are dealing with the same problems they are. One kid that shared his secret at our event said that he denied for 10 years that he was gay and would encourage anyone that is struggling with that decision to not spend another day fighting it and not live the life he’s had for the past 10 years.
Frank believes that we all have secrets and that everyday we decide to bury those secrets deep down inside of us or we choose to share them and free ourselves of that burden. If you have not read any of the books, I would encourage you to pick one up. I have put links to them down below.