Do you have a secret?

We all have secrets. Those deep, inner thoughts that no one else hears. The ones we can’t tell out of fear or love. The little lie you told as a child, the one sentence you wish you could say to a coworker, the fetish you can’t admit even to yourself.

I was in the bookstore this weekend and ran into a book. A third of the way through it, I determined that I had to buy it. It is a strange mix of voyeurism and exhibitionism all rolled into the confessions of humanity in the form of a postcard. Postcards.

As a community art project, Frank Warren encouraged strangers to anonymously send him a postcard with a secret that no one else in the world knows. He posts them every Sunday at PostSecret. He has now compiled them into a book as well as a touring art exhibit.

I think I was drawn to it by the plain brown paper bag cover. The kind I used to make for my school books. I read one postcard. It said, “He’s been in PRISON For two years because of what I did. 9 more to Go.” I was disturbed by this and put the book down. After glancing around to see if anyone was watching me, I read another. “I believe that my dead grandmother watches me with great disappointment every time I masturbate.” And another. “If I had a million dollars, I would give it all away for one more day with her like it used to be in the beginning.” And another. “When I get angry I [write] bad words on my toaster strudel.”

I just couldn’t stop. Reading as the human race bared their souls to the world. It sends shivers down my spine. It is so raw, so exposed, so completely freeing. Some are so sad I want to cry. Others make me giggle. Occasionally, one just creeps me out. Even so, I don’t feel that I can judge any of the people who have written. These are the secrets they keep as hard as it is. I feel that I have shared an intimate moment with society in a way I never have before.

Thank you, Frank Warren. Thank you for sharing the hidden face of the world with me. Maybe I’ll send my postcard soon. Have you sent yours?

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