On secrets and healing.

I was introduced to PostSecret by my sister some time ago. Today, I decided to read some 300 over postcards that had been complied and published in the form of a hardcover book. A book, Frank dedicates to every person who faced their secret on a postcard, released it into a mailbox, and bravely shared it with me, the world, and themselves.

PostSecret is an ongoing community mail art project, created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard. The concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restrictions are made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before. Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams. Little did Frank know that a project he started to cope with his own emotional crisis, would reach out to so many millions of people from all over the world. It became his personal experience of healing through art.

I healed reading the secrets of these strangers.

-I found these stamps as a child, and I have been waiting all my life to have someone to send them to. I never did have someone. 

-Sometimes I wish that I was blind, just so I wouldn’t have to look at myself everyday in the mirror.

-I am homeless and no one (not even my family) knows about it.

-My father died when I was 12, I couldn’t cry.

-I’m really scared of losing all my weight because then I will be forced to face my fear of men and have no where to hide.

-I stay in a job I hate because I know I won’t pass a drug screen anywhere else. (and I do drugs because I hate my job.)

-Sometimes after dark my friends and I strip down to our bras and panties and run around our local park, swing on the swings and feel so free. Afterwards I sketch it. We call it liberation.

“Sometimes just the act of sharing a painful secret can relieve some of the pain.” – Maryland

-I am terrified I will never get married.

-I’m 25, and I’ve never been kissed. It’s not that I don’t want to… it’s just that no one else does.

“Dear Frank, how I wish I could hug everyone and tell them that it’s ok. It’s ok to be scared and angry and hurt and selfish. It’s part of being human.” – Ohio

-My sister and I explored each other sexually as children. As the older girl I feel guilty that I may have molested her.

-When I was 3 my dad liked me to brush his thick red hair. One day he asked and I said I didn’t want to, I never saw him again. He went away and then he died. I am 65 and I still think it was my fault.

-Sometimes I wish I had lung cancer so my mum would quit smoking.

-I play a game when I’m in church. For every person who passes by me to go up to receive communion I think to myself: “How much money would someone have to pay me to have sex with them?”

-My friends and family think I am this sweet innocent girl. But, they don’t know I’ve posted nude photo’s of myself on the internet.

-Sometimes when I’m having sex with my wife, I’m thinking of my mom.

-I have this fear that I’ll never have an orgasm ever.

-My father was jailed for the rape and molestation of his girlfriend’s daughters. He’s been there several years. I’ve always suspected he molested me, as well. But I’ve never said anything, and I’m scared to find out if my suspicions are true. I’m not sure if my father is the imprisoned one, or if the one imprisoned is me.

-I haven’t spoken to my dad in 10 years.. and it kills me everyday.

-In a crowd (friends, family, strangers) I always wander which of us will die first.

-When I find a picture on the ground, or at school, I put them in my scrap book and write a paragraph and pretend the people in it are my friends. And I don’t feel so alone.

-Three years ago, my dad died. One year ago, I lost my virginity to a guy I dated for a month. If my dad was still alive, that wouldn’t have happened.

-I wish my parents would reach out to me.

-At a young age, I was raped by a boy on the back of a school bus. Since then, I sit as close to the front as I can get.

-I force new acquaintances to address me by my shortened name because it makes me forget my past.

-I broke up with my boyfriend who used to call me darling when we made love because I fell in love with a man who calls me slut when he fucks me.

-I hated my childhood.

-I joined because I was patriotic. But since they succeeded in convincing my life is worthless, I’m just hoping I get shot. – Suicidal soldier

-I know it really stinks. But, I like the smell of my own poop.

-I still haven’t told my father that I have the same disease that killed my mother.

-I only ever played sports to feel like my father loved me.

-I am a Southern Baptist Pastor’s wife. No one knows that I do not believe in God.

-I was seven years old the first time I attempted suicide.

-I was probably the only one who knew he was an addict. I never said anything. He died six months ago today.

-Sometimes when I do Chinese takeout, I order for 2 people so I won’t look like a fat, lonely loser. Then I eat it all.

-I once planned to kill my mother.

-Dear Frank, I have made six postcards all with secrets that I was afraid to tell the once 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. – Canada

-I only smoke Pall Mall cigarettes so I can remember you forty times a day.

-I’d rather get skin cancer than be pale.

-The night he died he tried to call me. When I saw it was him, I didn’t answer.

-I sent myself flowers on Valentines day so people at work would think I was dating someone!

-I’m getting a tattoo about love to cover a scar that reminds me of just how much I used to hate myself.

-I trashed my parents house to look like I had a party while they were out of town.. So my mom would think I had friends.

-I know that sending in a stupid postcard to share with a bunch of strangers won’t do a damn thing to change the daily loneliness and unhappiness in my life. I sent this anyway.

-I’ve given away all my secrets and I feel so free. 

“I like to believe that whenever a painful secret ends its trip to my mailbox, a much longer personal journey of healing is beginning-for all of us.” – Frank

-I used to be a lesbian. No one knows. Not my best friend, not my boy friend, no one.

All of these secrets touched me. They made me pause for a minute and think about the person who was behind the secret. I could relate to some of them, and to the other more painful secrets I read, all I wanted to do was hold their hand and offer comfort. Be it give them a reassuring hug, or whisper to their ears “it’s gonna be okay” or to just sit in silence.

Whatever your struggle is, seek comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone.

We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone. – Orson Welles

Share your secret with a stranger. You’ll heal, and your secret might help another heal in the process.


What about you?

Paris, Je T’aime.

Paris, Je T’aime features 18 short stories shot in various parts of Paris involving different casts and directors. I’m not sure if watching this after having watched New York, I love you made the difference, or not; but I thoroughly enjoyed this much more.

There are a few stories that reached out to me more than the rest.

Quais de Seine – a young french man striking up a friendship with a young Muslim woman despite poking fun at all the other women that passed by him when he with his 2 other friends. This story felt refreshing as usually, no one makes the effort to extend friendship to a person who shares no visible similarity with themselves. I enjoyed the innocence in the friendship.

Bastille – a man who intends on leaving his marriage for a much younger lover ends up staying with his wife after she reveals to him about the terminal illness she has been plagued with. He rediscovers the love he once felt for her as he tends to every need of hers, sacrificing his own happiness at times. I enjoyed the selflessness the man showed. The selflessness, love is supposed to stand for.

“A life he was planning to quit between the entree and dessert.”

“Every little thing had a different flavor, knowing he’d never be able to do it for her again.”

“By acting like a man in love, he became a man in love again.”

Place des Victoires – a mother grieving over the death of her son and seeks comfort by a magical cowboy. Poignant acting by the mother, I was moved.

“Where did you get this strength?”

“From God.”

Place des detes – a Nigerian man is nursed by a lady paramedic as he’s dying from a stab wound. He asks her to have a cup of coffee with him as he recognizes her face.  He had apparently fallen in love with her since the first time he saw her. By the time she remembers him, and the coffee she had ordered arrives, he has died.

14th arrondissement – a woman’s love affair with Paris.

“Then something happened, something difficult to describe. Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I’d never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn’t know what. Maybe it was something I’d forgotten or something I’ve been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive. That was the moment I fell in love with Paris. And I felt Paris fall in love with me.”

Paris, Je T’aime. Always.