Post Secret live event at CMU
I don't know how many years I've been reading the Post Secret web site. But it's become part of my weekly routine. On Sunday, I open my Google reader and click the link to the new batch of secrets presented on the largest advertisement-free blog in the world.
Post Secret is the brain child of one man, Frank Warren, who invites anyone to mail a post card to him and share a previously untold, true secret. He gives out his home address: 13345 Copper Ridge Road, Germantown, MD 20874.
So far Frank has received over 500,000 secrets. From the 1,000 or so he gets each week, he chooses 20 to go on the Post Secret blog.
Frank promotes the site as a community art project with many of the post cards bearing original artwork. He sells no advertising on the site which gets about 7 million hits a month. He does generate income from the sales of books featuring the secrets and from speaking engagments he does at college and universities. He also donates profits to 1-800-SUICIDE.
Frank has many stories where people sharing their secrets or people reading secrets have helped them decide not to commit suicide.
On Saturday, Frank Warren came to Colorado Mesa University. I attended with two lovely friends.
While I read the secrets every week, I never paid much attention to the Post Secret forum or what went on at events. I guess I assumed that Frank would talk about the project and show secrets, which he did, but there was more.
He invited audience members to share their secrets out loud into a microphone for 300 of us to hear.
And they did.
People talked about their fears and sadness.
It was emotional and raw.
Frank talks about sharing your secrets as a catharsis. He said that sometimes secrets can prevent us from being the people we are supposed to be.
I've never send Frank a secret because I tell all of mine. But bearing witness to those secrets was humbling and profound. The feeling inside that giant ballroom was full of compassion and understanding. It felt like we were a tiny community of people who wanted to share and help each other. After one woman shared her secret, another audience member walked half way across the ballroom to give her a hug. I've never experienced anything like that before.