Secrets, Secrets, and more Secrets. I spent the evening learning secrets, and it was fascinating. Yes, I was one of the lucky ones, that arrived at Ramapo College early enough to get a seat, at the PostSecret event that was held here Friday evening.
I don’t know the seating capacity, but the school enforces a capacity code, and some unknown number of people were unable to get in. Frank Warren, the creator and artist responsible for the whole PostSecret phenomenon is a great speaker, with stories and insights of his own, but truly, the secrets do speak for themselves.
It’s a mind-opening experience, to sit and listen to him speak, and share with the world his reasons for starting the whole project, and his reasons for continuing it. The hall was full of people, many carrying copies of one, two or even all three of the PostSecret books, but I truly think everyone there was fascinated by thinking that, however briefly and indirectly, their own secret might be shown to the world.
I know for me, the project, the first book, and Frank’s work with the art and 1-800-suicide have had a major impact on me. It was the first book, which had that number printed in it, and the website, which I had been reading often enough to remind me that the number was available, that saved my life one summer day last year.
Funny, about that- I did call the number, and it was answered- but, I really never spoke to the person on the phone, at all. I was so emotionally, spiritually, wrecked, I think I just said something like “Oh god, I have to go.” But, that was enough, for the moment. The simple little phone call, the person on the other end, just saying “Hi, what’s going on with you today?”… was enough to keep my hands from turning the wheel any further, and the bridge stanchion didn’t get to claim a life that time.
This was the second time I’ve gone to see the presentation, actually- the first time, I went into New York, with Lynn, and watched. I bought both books two and three that night, and we stood in line to have them signed, and to speak to Frank. In the end, I asked him to sign them, said something about the first book saving my life, and started to feel so overwhelmed with emotion I couldn’t speak. We left the store, and I’m not really sure if we were both in tears, or if it was just me; but I was so profoundly grateful for the acts of God that took place during that summer, that led me to being able to go and say thank you to a man I’d never met.
And now, when I think of secrets- why we love them so, why we cling to them as if they’ve become part of us, I imagine that we all have this box that lives in us, and sometime we should let them go. I know that sometimes, keeping a secret is just plain easier on the status quo, and sometimes, clutching it in ourselves might be the lesser of two evils. At least, we think so sometimes.
I made a friend last night, too, which was unexpected. I was walking in, and there was a woman who was also looking for the event, who had driven over from Connecticut. We chatted, as we looked for the room, and after the event had coffee and chatted some more. Very interesting, to realize how many, many people also feel this connection to the secrets, and the different ways that we both viewed and imagined the story behind some of the individual secrets.
She told me she’d sent in a secret, just a few days ago, and that it did feel good, to let go of it, to pass it on and give it away. Similar to how some of us use our blogs, I imagine- for me, I know that a big reason I write and post here, is to get rid of some of the baggage and thoughts and emotions that swirl around in my head and heart. (Of course, what I didn’t know, is that I’d start to meet and connect with other bloggers, and form interesting friendships that way- but I’m thinking it’s a wonderful part of it).
Pretty great evening, all in all- a fun way to start the weekend.