post secret and other randomness

to stay on-topic and keep with the spirit of vegan mofo, let  me just say that my husband prepared a delicious lentil pilaf for lunch today. as far as i can remember, we have never made lentil-anything at home before; usually i end up eating them in restaurants. i'm excited because i know they're good for us, and it's always nice to have a little variety. yay lentils! ooh, wait, i have eaten lentils at home before: amy's lentil soup. but that doesn't really count, because my husband doesn't think soup is a meal (ugh) and he usually only eats soup if we make a big-deal from-scratch soup, which i love and he tolerates. oh! and i mustn't forget the delicious but wily and evasive chocolate lentils. i've eaten several pounds of those. anyhow…

the other random thing i wanted to mention was this amazing story you may have already seen, about a guy who saved his adorable little dog from a shark attack. what you may not have seen (yet) is the interview with said guy and said adorable little dog. it's very cute–you should watch it!

all righty, so on to the thing i promised i would blog about last night. i would imagine that most of you are familiar with post secret. for those of you who aren't, it basically started out as a social experiment-slash-art project, wherein frank warren distributed postcards to people in washington, DC and then waited for them to come back to him, emblazoned with secrets. now it's 4 years, 4 books, and 250,000 secrets later, and post secret is an international phenomenon. there's a blog, a myspace page, a facebook page, and frank tours around the country, talking to people about the project. i "discovered" post secret through a friend (i think? i honestly can't remember anymore) back toward the beginning, and i've been totally fascinated with it ever since. earlier this semester, i learned that frank warren would be coming to campus, so we bought tickets and went to see him last night. 

i went into the whole thing brainstorming ideas for how to write a paper on the secrets. it's not really up my usual alley, since i'm more of a quantitative-survey-type-research-person, but i was thinking about ways to code the secrets in various ways, looking for a bunch of different stuff (interpersonal-communication-related stuff, natch). i brought a notebook to the talk, and i sat there jotting down a bunch of ideas before it started. i was seriously nerding out, y'all. but then the lights went down,  a video played, and frank took the stage. the lights never came back up, and i was all thwarted, whining but how will i take notes?? in my head, but i'm kind of glad, in retrospect. it forced me to sit and just listen, which is harder to do when your mind is racing and you're taking notes. anyhow, it lasted about 90 minutes from start to finish, and it was so interesting. frank warren is an extremely sincere, soft-spoken, friendly person. it was great to hear him talk about how the project grew from something that he "led" to something that he now "follows." he talked about the act of writing secrets as transformative, and he talked about the project as art, and he shared some of his favorites. some of them made me laugh, and some of them literally gave me goosebumps. one of them made me tear up.

at one point frank stopped talking, and invited people to come up and ask questions or share stories (or whatever) at one of two microphones. everyone was hesitant at first, and then all of a sudden–almost like someone had opened a secret door–there were people flooding the aisles to get in line. several people asked questions, like where do you store all the secrets? and have you ever read a secret that made you angry? and some people just shared funny or cute stories, but there were also quite a few who decided right then and there to share their own secret with the room. the first one to do it really changed the tenor in the room, but it was a brave secret to share and also a sad one, and it made me instantly want to reach out to her. people clapped for her and when she came back to her seat, she was only two rows ahead of me. i stared at the side of her head for awhile, wondering if i should talk to her afterward, when suddenly i saw a man come over and hand her a note. apparently i wasn't the only one. some time later, another girl shared a terrible secret in a shaking voice, and she nearly started crying, and so did i. she came back to her seat and all i could think about was going over to hug her. this happened several more times over the course of the next 20 minutes or so, but those two girls were the most poignant ones for me. 

frank did a book signing afterward, and as a segue he showed one more video as he made his way back to the signing table. during that time, one of the girls slipped away to get in line, but the other one stayed in her seat. after the talk was over and people started either getting in line or leaving, i saw a few different people go up to her and either say something sweet, or give her a hug. i didn't, but i really wanted to. it was one of those times when i felt really self-conscious even though it was stupid to do so–she was the one who was brave and vulnerable, and here i was too nervous to go up to her. 

anyhow, it was a really, really cool evening. i was touched many times by the secrets we carry, and by the sadness that so many people feel when all it would take is to open up and share, to help that sadness go away. and i'm really proud of all of the people who felt safe and empowered enough to share their secrets last night. i think frank warren is definitely onto something.
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2 comments

  1. My father never believed that pizza was a proper meal. So if he was out of town, my mother would make it for us. We could sometimes have it with lunch as long as we had something with it — typically soup ;-).
    That secret telling idea is very powerful and interesting.

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