founder finds confessions spread healing
April 3, 2009 | The nearly 1,000
people who congregated in the Taggart Student Center’s
Ballroom Wednesday night included locals, some who traveled
from Salt Lake and one individual who came from as far
as New York. As diversified as the group was each person
came with one thing in common—a secret.
And they came to the right place,
for the first words out of author Frank Warren’s mouth
were, “My name is Frank, and I collect secrets.”
Warren is the mastermind behind PostSecret—an
innovative art project where people anonymously mail
Warren their secrets on homemade postcards. And his
presentation Wednesday led for an evening of compassion
Warren started his speech by sharing
some of his favorite postcards. These confessions came
from all types of people: disgruntled employees, lovers
in love, the lonely. And the messages they conveyed
brought out an array of emotions. For example, one airline
industry employee sent in a secret saying “You called
me an idiot, so I sent your bags to the wrong destination.
Whoops! I guess you were right.” While another card
read, “I’m tired of taking pills to make me feel better.”
It seems that the rawness of these
secrets brings a touch of humanity to those who hear
them. As Warren presented, a strong sense of camaraderie
and compassion swept through the audience. With that
trust, Warren pointed out what he believes is America’s
secret: suicide. He believes suicide is preventable,
and large portions of the PostSecret profits are donated
to suicide prevention charities.
Toward the end of the night Warren
told the audience, “Free your secrets and become who
you are.” And with that he turned the spotlight over
to the crowd. Several “confession-bearers” stepped to
the microphone and in a moment of self-discovery revealed
to the outside the hidden parts of their inner lives.
Tears were shed, laughter was expressed, but their words
shall remain in that room -- for after all they did
share a secret.
Warren has been collecting secrets
for more than four years. Since then he has composed
four PostSecret books, with an additional on the way.
He also posts secrets weekly on his blog at www.postsecret.com.