Being a long-time PostSecret fan, I was excited that Frank Warren kicked off his new tour in Seattle on a rainy night on the Seattle University campus. Warren is an excellent and compassionate speaker. I should know this from his site and its mission.
PostSecret is a community art project/web site showcasing homemade postcards sent in anonymously from all over the world. The cards reveal secrets never shared. The idea is that if people unburden themselves, they let go of shame, guilt or simply the need to release. It’s also inspiring and motivating for readers, as they often find the courage to act, forgive or consider their experiences.
I look forward to seeing the new secrets every Sunday and viewing the fantastic artwork, especially the collages. Another reason I love Warren and PostSecret is that the man really cares. He plugs and donates to HopeLine (a suicide hotline and resource center offering “HOPE and the option to LIVE to those in the deepest emotional pain”), an organization for which he volunteered.
Warren also displayed postcards. He discussed that his mother isn’t pleased with his project and has refused his new book (a collection of recent postcards). But, the real highlight was when Warren offered the chance for audience members to reveal their secrets. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s fascinating to watch and hear a person confessing to a crowd of 700 strangers that you are a 52-year-old woman invigorated because you’ve finally been diagnosed with ADHD after a lifetime of misery; a young woman still dealing with her best friend’s death after he jumped from the Aurora Bridge three years ago; a 20-year-old man who dreads Christmas because when he was 7, his mother and her sister (his aunt) got into a fight that turned into a Jerry-Springer-type family brawl; a woman who admitted she was dumped for a woman who was also in the audience; a woman who tells everyone how good her relationship with her father is, when the truth is, they barely relate.
It took huge efforts not to start crying listening to them be so vulnerable. I admire every single one of them for the courage it took to voice their secrets and release themselves. I hope they got what they needed. I still think about all of them.