On Wednesday, March 14, I had the privilege of attending a Post Secret (PS) Event hosted by Frank Warren at Radford University. PS has been a part of my weekly routine since high school – that makes it one of the longest term activities of my life. That seems dramatic, but really, what do you still do every week that you did in high school? After clicking the link that a friend posted to the PS website in her AIM away message, I’ve been hooked ever since.
What is PS?
It is a blog where Frank Warren posts anonymous secrets that people send him each week. They generally involve artwork and a message. Out of the ones he receives, he posts 15 on the website on Sundays.
Yes, you read that correctly, people tell this man their deepest, darkest, most personal secrets. How did he earn your trust? I don’t know, but I trust him. I haven’t ever sent in a secret, but not for lack of trust or having them – I’m just waiting for the perfect one? I’m not really sure, but regardless, people trust this man, he knows so many secrets that no one else does. This is what is interesting about anonymity (which is incidently what makes blogging anonymously so interesting too). You can actually let go of your inhibitions and tell the truth without fear of judgement or harassment, but all the while knowing that there is someone else out there that shares your secret too. No one is alone.
It reads: If postsecret has taught me anything, it is that heartache (of any kind) is not personal. It is human.
That is why I actually saved this person’s secret to my computer. There is some boundary between us all being unique and individual and us being all connected by these secrets. Frank Warren has somehow allowed us to stand on that boundary in a way that I don’t think we’ve been able to before.
During his presentation, Frank told us personal stories about his life, showed us post cards that couldn’t be published in the books (because they were afraid walmart wouldn’t sell them – walmart has never sold them anyway), and invited us to share our secrets with him. Additionally, he explained how sad he was that the PS phone app didn’t work out due to misuse. Since it was still completely anonymous, people could continually upload inappropriate photos without any repercussions. You could report the inappropriate cards, and they would be removed, but there was no way to stop repeat offenders. Anonymity isn’t always a good thing. He also included this audio portion where we could load a song onto a smart phone from the website. It kind of sounded like what you want fireflies on a warm (mosquito-less) summer night to sound like. That may not make sense, but the song was essentially chimes that created a really interesting effect as you sat there. There was something sort of magical about it, and it was a great way to end the night.
I did get to have a post card signed from him which I will have to put in one of his books that I own or a scrapbook.
This is a brief glimpse into what PS has shown me and taught me through the years. I hope that everyone can visit the website and start their own journey of following a blog that has made so many people feel less alone.