This is the time of year when people traditionally start considering the New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve been thinking more about family. I manage to see my parents fairly regularly, but far more than usual at this time of year. I’m fortunate that we have a wonderful, drama-free relationship. But then my family is pretty much a drama-free zone (Either that, or we just repress everything really well in the finest W.A.S.P. tradition.). I’ve spoken with several friends this season, though, for whom this is not the case. For whatever reason, when they gather with their family, there’s tension, arguments, and oh so many secrets.
And that, at long last, is what brought me to this week’s pick. For those of you who have never encountered it, Postsecret.com is the brainchild of Frank Warren. Back in 2005, he asked people to mail him anonymous secrets on postcards. Each week, he has posted selected ones online.
The secrets Warren has received cover the range of human experience. Many focus on family, relationships, and personal struggles with addiction. An unfortunate number deal with thoughts of suicide, and the site often promotes suicide prevention efforts. During the project’s first year of existence, the band All-American Rejects used secrets from the site in the background of their video for the song, “Dirty Little Secret.”
Almost a decade later, the project is still going strong. As of this writing, four books compiling submitted secrets have been published, and often people will leave postcards with their own secrets in the books to be discovered by whomever purchases them. Warren also travels to colleges to speak about the site and reveal secrets submitted by attendees (all anonymously, of course.).
We all have our secrets. Many of them we may not be willing to share, even anonymously, but there’s something cathartic about reading the postcards submitted to Postsecret each week. At the very least, it may show you that no matter what is going on in your head, somebody else is probably thinking it too.
- Alan Decker
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