When was the first time you held a secret? Was it in 1st grade when the girl next to you told you her favorite color was pink? Or maybe you discovered that your right hand was bigger than your left. Either way, it's the tingling sensation you get in your stomach when you hold that little slice of power. It's your secret! You can tell someone else, or keep it to yourself. Sometimes it's serious, and sometimes it's meaningless. But what would happen if we started letting our secrets out? That was the idea that Frank Warren had. “It began at an art exhibition in Washington DC. For my exhibit, I decided to print out 3,000 one-sided postcards, inviting strangers to share a secret with me; something that was true and something they’d never told anyone else. I handed out postcards anonymously, leaving them between pages of bookstore books, library books and on park benches. Out of that batch, I got 100 back and I posted the anonymous secrets in my exhibit. I thought that was the end of it but I was wrong.”
“The simple concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restriction are made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before”
“Each secret can be a regret, hope, funny experience, unseen kindness, fantasy, belief, fear, betrayal, erotic desire, feeling, confession, or childhood humiliation.”
This book made me laugh and cry. I wanted to hug the people who were brave enough to send their secrets out into the world, not knowing what would happen. They expressed pain and joy, sadness and laughter. They were real. I wanted to share a few of my favorites:
"All the time we've spent in love...
I didn't really know you loved me
until you danced with me...in public...
even though you didn't know how.
Even if I never get that chance again,
it was worth the awkward fumbling
to know that what you've said is true."
"I'm still in love with her.
I hope she reads this,
and recognizes my handwriting.
This is also my last try."
I have made six postcards with secrets that I was too afraid to tell the one person I tell everything to, my boyfriend. This morning I planned to mail them, but instead I left them on the pillow next to his head while he was sleeping. Ten minutes ago he arrived at my office and asked me to marry him. I said yes."
There are two kinds of secrets: those we keep from others and those we hide from ourselves.