“How many secrets do we keep from the rest of the world? Does anyone know who they really are? How many times have we disguised ourselves and led separate lifestyles to protect the secrets we hide? How often do they weigh us down? These questions were just some of the thoughts that may have ran through Frank Warren’s mind when he created the art odyssey known as PostSecret in 2004.””
How many secrets do we keep from the rest of the world? Does anyone know who they really are? How many times have we disguised ourselves and led separate lifestyles to protect the secrets we hide? How often do they weigh us down? These questions were just some of the thoughts that may have ran through Frank Warren’s mind when he created the art odyssey known as PostSecret in 2004. Now, four years later, it has become a worldwide phenomenon.
PostSecret created a way for others to let go of the secrets that control them. By disclosing their secret onto a 4×6 inch postcard and sending it to the organization, one can begin to gain confidence. The secrets that are received are published anonymously in a book or posted online in the PostSecret blog for everyone to see. A secret doesn’t have to be life-threatening. We keep secrets that pertain to our personalities, daily routines, regrets, wishes, dreams and fantasies. Though some secrets are more detrimental to our health and lifestyles than others, all secrets have an extreme importance. Secrets control the amount of freedom we maintain and it’s healthy to release some of those tensions every now and then. PostSecret has released a number of books with secrets ranging from suicidal thoughts to romantic fantasies, from childhood memories to daily fears and from white lies to criminal confessions.
Beginning as a small project, PostSecret has grown to produce four books and a Web site community that won Weblog of the year in 2007 during the seventh annual Weblog Awards. While maintaining the same visionary principles, www.postsecretcommunity.com has evolved from an anonymous art project to a community that has a discussion board where viewers can actively comment on others secrets or post their own. Though this might take away from any anonymity PostSecret sought to maintain, it exists so that we can become familiar with our own secrets and begin to feel comfortable in revealing them with others.
While the Web site and organization are geared towards gaining individual confidence and remaining true to oneself, it also promotes ways of healing. It can be extremely liberating to let go of a secret that may have been on your mind, but some secrets do not go away so easily. Frank Warren has posted on his Web site a wellness resource section that contains various contacts for such serious topics ranging from eating disorders to suicide hotlines. Proceeds from the books funding such organizations like the National Hopeline Network, a hotline for those dealing with suicidal situations.
PostSecret began as an avenue to release your inhibitions and it continues to thrive as an organization that aims to better the lives of those who are held in secret.
We need to embrace our individuality, and if we can’t be honest with those in our lives we need to begin being honest with ourselves. An anonymous postcard may be the harmless solution you need in order to figure out where you stand on your values. By reading the secrets of a stranger we can discover things about our own personal lives that we might never have known before. By writing our secrets down, and sending them off into the world, we can also begin to grow comfortable in our skin. At the end of the day however, it’s our secrets that make us who we are, because we fight daily to hide them from everyone. When we can be honest with ourselves, we can start being honest with the rest of the world. So what exactly do you have to hide?