Sunday, 23 December 2012

500,000+1 dirty little secrets.

Eight years ago, some fella from Maryland named Frank Warren started an art project that would someday become a beautiful worldwide phenomenon. He printed up a couple hundred postcards with his home address on the back and walked the streets of Washington D.C. asking people to write their secrets down on the postcards and send them to him. Some people were reluctant, some intrigued; and now...

PostSecret is the largest advertisement-free blog site in the world, with a visitor count of over 500 million, and for the past eight years Frank has received over half a million secrets, which he keeps in a massive pile in his living room. Frank Warren has been called "the world's most trusted stranger". The rules are: the secret you send in has to be true, and has to be something you've never told anyone before.

This music video contains actual PostSecret secrets, after The All-American Rejects asked Frank if they could use some, and he said yes - providing they make a donation to one of his sponsor charities. This video also contains one secret from each of the band members (and one from a friend of mine, funnily enough).

Eleven year-old Gracie discovered PostSecret in Year 7 while cutting up magazines for her Art project; the girls in class were sat around her table, bitching, giggling and calling her "weird", and upon discovering an article PostSecret, Gracie found a little hope. Thus began years of checking PostSecret.com every Sunday for new secrets, reading the books, and occasionally sending in a secret of my own. So for eight years, PostSecret has been my escape, my confidante and my biggest source of hope. There is nothing quite like letting go of a secret you've been keeping forever, or reading one of your own secrets in someone else's writing, and knowing you're not alone.

Back in October, a PostSecret UK tour was announced. The first time PostSecret has visited the UK in the eight years it has been running. Edinburgh, Birmingham, Brighton, London. I'm lucky enough to have a friend who loves PostSecret and Frank as much as I do, and so we booked tickets for the 17th December show in London (despite having no money).
   It was honestly the best £37.50 I have ever spent. We spent the evening at Logan Hall, University of London, sitting just a few rows away from Frank as he talked about his life and his secrets, and the lives and secrets of the millions of strangers he has helped over the years. We learned which secrets are Frank's personal favourites, which have inspired him to start campaigns (he now works with International Suicide Prevention, and gives money to them as well as similar causes)
We saw dozens of people approach the microphone and share their innermost fears, hopes and pains in the form of secrets. There was a woman who had only found out a few hours beforehand that she might not be able to have children, another whose father suffered from depression, and many more horrifying secrets that made me think "I'm could never go through what they're going through", and the occasional heartwarming secret that made me think "wow, life is amazing". There's a lot of beauty in the world, and a whole lot of it was in one room last Monday night.


All I can say is, after eight years of reading and posting, actually being in the audience witnessing some truly magical moments (and scribbling secrets on postcards throughout) was just the most amazing thing. And after the talk, shaking Frank Warren's hand, telling him how much PostSecret has meant to me since I was eleven, taking a photo together and giving him my secret... The feeling was indescribable.

4 comments

  1. Love, love, love this post. I knew the song, but hadn't seen the video. Post Secret is such a gift to so many. I'm glad you got to see it live! Thanks for the post!

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    1. You are SO welcome! Thank you for the comment, this has made my day! :)

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  2. I really enjoyed reading your post. It's just as inspiring for me as reading postsecret each week!

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    1. I'm so glad! I love how much PostSecret means to everyone :) x

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