Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Post Secret

I've been reading Post Secret since about 2007.  I bumped into the first book in a bookstore when I lived in Canada, and I've been checking the secrets on the website every Sunday ever since.  The secrets are moving, hilarious, terrifying and hopeful.  There are secrets I can relate to and secrets that I could never dream of understanding.  There are secrets that are written on blank paper and secrets that are works of art in themselves. There are secrets that are very specific and secrets that speak broadly to us as a species.

On Monday, M and I embarked on a road trip to Brighton.  It was a two and a half hour drive for me and mostly stress free until we got a bit lost in the town centre and some man in a very big car sat and watched me park which got me all flustered.  That aside it was a very nice drive.  We had a stroll to the Pavilions, around the Pier and along the sea front, and then out of the cold and into a coffee shop for a mocha (which M preceded to get all over his face) and finally another stroll up to the Dome concert hall.

The Dome is beautiful and stately.  As we walked in we were greeted by some people from Grassroots, a local suicide prevention organisation who were sponsoring the show, and we both took pledges to ask for help if we needed it and to help others if they were thinking about it. We had a wander around the building - it's exuberantly tiled and has extraordinary ornate ceilings - and then finally we got to go in and pick a seat.  A lady ushered us in and told us that there were still seats at the front, to which I replied that we're lurkers and a bit more comfy towards the back, which got a chuckle out of M.  We ended up nearish the front to the side.

Frank Warren, the founder of Post Secret, came on stage and began to talk about how the project was set up, secrets that couldn't make it into the book, his parents reactions, his own secrets, how much the Post Secret Community members have raised for suicide prevention organisations, and how the community has put together the most comprehensive page on the web for resources round the world for suicide prevention. He was warm and funny and honest. 

After that he handed over to the audience and people could go up to the microphones which were at the back in darkness and tell secrets if they wanted to. All sorts of people went up and all sorts of secrets came out. A couple of people told funny secrets, some harrowing ones, and some people got up and thanked the people they were with for stopping them from committing suicide.  The funniest one for me was a lady who stood up and said that until yesterday she didn't realise that reindeers were real. The one I related to the most was a lady who said that she felt like she had been born into the wrong world, she should have been in a world where magic and mythological creatures were real. You could hear the tremor in her voice as she said it. One lady started crying during her secret and the lady in line behind her gave a big hug while the next person spoke.  Both M and I were in tears at times, and in giggles at others. It was a really amazing atmosphere, very open and very emotional.

Frank rounded off the evening by sharing his favourite secret that was sent in on a dollar bill: 'We're all part of something bigger, and we're all part of it together.' Who knows, maybe next time I'll even be brave enough to get up and share my secrets.

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