I went to the PostSecret event last night at UNCC. It was really great, and Frank Warren is a pretty cool guy. The presentation started with a clip from The All-American Rejects video for Dirty Little Secret – I had no idea they had incorporated PostSecret into the video, but now it makes perfect sense. Frank said they offered him $1000 to use the postcards in the background, but Frank asked them to make a $2000 donation to the Hope Line, instead. He read a couple of secrets aloud, and went over how the project started, and what it has meant to so many people. He had a presentation of postcards that the publisher wouldn’t allow in the book, either because of copyright issues (like the secret written on a syndicated comic strip) or because of the graphic nature of some of them. There was one that they think was written on a page from a Disney coloring book, and the lawyer said they couldn’t include that because, “Mickey Mouse will sue your a$$.” As on the website, some secrets are laugh out loud funny, some are so sad you’re reduced to tears, and some hit a nerve in you that you didn’t know you had. There’s usually at least one every Sunday that I wonder if I wrote unconsciously.
Some “brave souls” got up to share their secrets at the event via microphone. I use quotes because I can’t actually decide what I think of these people. In my more optimistic moments, I do think they are brave, to get up and share like that in a room full of strangers. But in my less optimistic moments, I wonder if they’re just trying to get attention or garner sympathy. Because, most of the auditorium was filled with college-aged kids – my friends and I looked around and realized that we are not necessarily the target demographic, if PostSecret has such a thing – and a lot of college-aged kids, especially these days, are a bit…melodramatic. Frank even said that he’s been called out for PostSecret being narcissistic, and I think that in some instances, that’s definitely true.
The idea behind sending your secret in is that, in writing it down and “releasing it,” it has no more hold on you. I’ve always considered sending a secret in, but (this is going to sound so sad) I don’t think I have a secret that’s interesting enough. And, to be honest, most of my secrets are a secret even to me. I’m really good at pushing those deep dark things into corners of my mind and forgetting they exist. But last night, I thought of one. One that’s been with me for a while. But I won’t write it down, I won’t “release” it, because no good can come of it. If I were to actually write it down, the first thing I would do is throw up. And then, that secret would eat at me even more than it does now, because at that point I wouldn’t be able to let it go. But for right now, it’s in a deep dark corner in my mind.