PostSecret Live

10 Oct

“PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people
mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard.”

The event was short but sweet. He talked about how Post Secret got started, showed postcards that weren’t allowed in the books and there was also open mic where people could share a secret or a story with Frank and the rest of us. The main reason some secrets were censored was because some of the images on the postcards themselves were copyright, not because of the content. Though as Frank mentioned Wal-Mart has a huge say in censoring. When Frank sat down with his publishers lawyer, the lawyer mentioned that a lot of them wouldn’t make it in because of Wal-Mart. So, to work around that Wal-Mart hasn’t carried or sold one copy of Post Secret, and I’m quite glad about that actually.

The secrets people shared live were amusing, shocking and insightful. It was also inspiring as I wouldn’t have the balls to stand up in front of a thousand people and share something that no one else had heard.

The biggest thing that Frank said is “You are not alone.” This is the main thing why PostSecret is such an amazing project. He said there have been numerous occasions where he will post a secret on the blog and he will get e-mails from people saying they thought they were the only one who felt that way. He gave and anecdote of someone who said just that. That even though seeing a secret of abuse that they shared with the person who mailed it in – it didn’t make the abuse go away, but it “made it a little lighter, knowing that someone else shared their burden.”

As you may know, PostSecret has helped many many people with issues such as self harm and suicide. Not many people know that I myself struggled with these issues when I was younger (one of my secrets), and I feel it’s really important to mention some things that Frank said during his talk to put it into perspective.

55 people in the room (of about 1500 or so) either now or in the next 12 months will think about self harm or  suicide and 22 of you are sitting beside someone who will actually try.

If you suspect someone is harming themselves or thinking of suicide be direct and ASK THEM. It might feel awkward but be direct and upfront. It can be as simple as “Are you thinking of hurting yourself?” People in these situations need to know they are cared about and that they have a support system. Be sure that the means to harm are taken away from them. Loaded weapons, razors… anything that might let them actually do what they are thinking of doing. And lastly, help them follow up with professional help. Encourage them to talk to school counsellor or psychiatrist etc…

HopeLine 1 (800) 784-2433 offers confidential help 24/7. Call to speak with a trained volunteer if you need help for yourself or for someone you know.


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