PostSecret – Stamps and Self-Belief

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Sunday morning for me is always lovely to wake up to. Yes, it means you have one more day of the weekend left, and you’re licensed to be a little more lazy than usual – after all, it is the day of rest. But as well as this, Sunday morning is the time when I turn on my laptop, drag it back to bed with me, and take the time to check out the updates PostSecret website.

For those of you who have never had the fortune of hearing about PostSecret before, let me just introduce it to you. PostSecret is a project run by a man called Frank Warren and was founded on January 1st 2005. People are invited to send in their deepest, darkest secrets anonymously on a postcard, and these are presented online, in books, or in exhibitions throughout America. These can range from the hilarious to the emotionally powerful: from ‘ I hate the way I look so much that I fantasize about getting in a burning car wreck so I can have reconstructive surgery’ to ‘I used to dream about having threesomes with Legolas and Pippin’. They are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud, gasp, or even bring a little tear to your eye. Some even put your life into perspective.

PostSecret is a way of allowing people to vent, to express their feelings or release themselves from the shackles of the burdens they carry. It can also be inspiring since many send a secret in after reading other submissions. I suppose there is some sort of morbid fascination with reading them – a bit like when watching BBC3 documentaries (come on, we have all done it). But the system provides a sense of community- for those who read them and feel the same it provides support and comfort, and it gets a huge response, through twitter, tumblr and email.

The concept was basic, but the reaction was truly amazing. For Frank Warren, apart from Sundays and Holidays, there is always a secret in the post. Thousands pour in each week. The attraction of using old fashioned ‘snail mail’ instead of email, and of creating your own little work of art must make taking part all the more attractive for those that choose to.

The idea is to create a non-judgemental environment for people to tell strangers how they feel. Of course, some cause controversy, and Warren allows a few comments to be posted beneath certain card to give examples of the responses. Last Sunday, a card containing an image of sacred Mormon undergarments caused uproar, with people stating that they were ‘EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED that you would violate that sacred belief. You don’t have to agree, but you should RESPECT it’. Yes, this may be wrong to many people, but I find it so refreshing to read such honest statements in a time when everything is censored or needs to be ‘politically correct’.

I got my first PostSecret book for Christmas, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it through, even if it did only take me an hour, if not less. I could read them again and again (hint: if you’re looking for another level of procrastination in order to avoid that 3,000 word essay due in two days time, this might be it).

PostSecret not only provides an outlet for the secrets;  Warren also promotes and works with an American  project called Hopeline which provides a peer-run hotline to deal with crisis’s on campuses, especially involving suicidal issues, and often tours America reaching out to his audience.

I really find this project inspiring – the idea of using the postal system and a simple pen and paper in order to help and reach out to people all over the world is so simple yet utter genius. It really makes you think about everything, and I hope that next Sunday there’ll be plenty more people sitting in bed in their pyjamas/underwear/last night’s clothes, reading PostSecret. It’s worthwhile, not to mention it gives you another excuse to be lazy for that little while longer.

http://www.postsecretcommunity.com/

http://postsecret.tumblr.com/

http://www.postsecret.com/

http://twitter.com/#!/postsecret

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Discussion2 Comments

  1. avatar

    Nice article, and I will definitely be checking this site out. It is a very nice idea, especially considering the impersonal, digitised, cruel (sorry!) world in which we live. Good to give people a means by which to get help, for sure.

  2. avatar

    Jo I LOVE PostSecret! Got one of the books a few years ago – the postcards are always so beautiful and intricate, I love seeing people express themselves emotionally and creatively. Good work on spreading the word!

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