“There are two kinds of secrets: those we keep from others, and the ones we hide from ourselves.”
~ Postsecret creator, Frank Warren
There’s a link on my sidebar to Postsecret. If you’ve never heard of Postsecret, you’ve probably never visited it. Once you do, it’s difficult to stay away. Postsecret is the creation of Frank Warren. It began as a social experiment in 2004. Warren took handfuls of blank postcards (addressed to his post office box) and left them in various public areas ~ from subway stations to art galleries. The instructions ~ included with the postcard ~ were simple:
Share a Secret ~ You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything ~ as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before.
- Take a postcard, or two.
- Tell your secret anonymously.
- Stamp and mail the postcard.
- Be brief ~ the fewer words used the better.
- Be legible ~ use big, clear and bold lettering.
- Be creative ~ let the postcard be your canvas.
The postcards began to trickle in. Then they poured in. They came from all over the world, they came in all languages (even Braille). They came on the preprinted cards, they came on homemade materials. The secrets were funny and light-hearted, the secrets were deep and painful. The artwork, creativity and messages are amazing.
* * * View the powerful story behind Postsecret * * *
To date, Frank Warren has received over 150,000 secrets. On average he gets about 150 a day. Since he first started receiving these cards, Warren has published four books. The postsecret website ~ showcasing 20 or so messages ~ changes every Sunday. Additionally, Warren updates a blog with more stories and cards. He invites people who have written their secrets to share a follow-up. A traveling exhibit is displayed at museums throughout the US and Canada.
Marriage Proposal: A Secret No More
Writing on his blog last week, Frank Warren reported that he and his wife were recently invited to a wedding to be held at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Even though they don’t know the couple, they were invited because of the groom’s creative marriage proposal at the PostSecret exhibit. Here is the story as told to Frank by the American Visionary Art Museum director, Rebecca Hoffberger:
For people who don’t know, most of the secrets are displayed along the side of a circular staircase that gradually rises to the third floor of the museum. As the couple slowly ascended the stairs she read every PostSecret postcard. He knew she would because it had been her idea to attend the exhibit.
What she did not know was that earlier he had made a special arrangement with me to replace the last post card with a special one he had created just for her see.
When they reached the top of the stairs she read the final card, “I don’t know if I believe in God, but I believe something Great brought you into my life. If you turn around I’ll ask you to marry me. . . “
Rebecca went on to say that when the young woman turned around her future husband was on bended knee with an illuminated ring box holding a 6-carat (!) diamond. She said “yes” with tears and to spontaneous applause from the other visitors who were hoping to witness a happy ending.
Other PostSecret Videos on YouTube
The following links are video compilations of postsecrets set to music. There are more available on YouTube. You’ll see some redundancy, but each one stands as a powerful tribute to the human experience.
- Augustana ~ “Think I’m Going To Boston”
- The Fray ~ “How to Save a Life”
- Michael Bublé ~ “Home”
- R.E.M. ~ “Everybody Hurts”
- Blink 182 ~ “I Miss You”
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Journal Questions for Personal Insight
The Postsecret concept offers us a great journal writing prompt: What are YOUR secrets? Are your secrets those of pain or of humor? If you were to create a postsecret card, which one would you choose to share? How would you illustrate your secret? What ~ if anything ~ is harmed by you holding onto your “secret”? And more than that, what keeps you from revealing it now?
Explore these questions whether you choose to mail YOUR postsecret or not.