Postsecret was lovely. Frank Warren was lovely. It was all very brilliant and lovely. I’m a massive cynic by nature but there’s something about Postsecret and Frank that I am very fond of. Kato and I had a marvelous time.
I like the idea behind it, I like the secrets, I like the way people have taken it up in their own way, hey I’ve even posted a secret of my own (and no, I’m not telling).
However at the end of the show Frank asks people to get up in the aisles and tell their secret into the microphone. And I know Frank has talked extensively about mental illness and suicide prevention etc which is great. But getting up one after another after another to talk about your suicide attempt/abusive relationships/something that I didn’t hear because you were all crying and stuff was kind of not the point.
I’m sure it made you feel better, but we had our eyes rolling. Now I say this, not only because I’m a massive bitch, but because I’ve been there. Given the demographics of the theatre, I’d say 80 percent, maybe more had thought abut suicide/attempted suicide/cut themselves/written dark poetry/scrawled music lyrics on their bedroom wall.
The point was to tell a Secret. A thing most people or no one knew. And if you can’t fit it on a postcard in medium sized handwriting you really shouldn’t have bothered. I know Postsecret event is a “safe place”, a community if you will and Frank is lovely. But it’s not therapy. My $40 was not invested in you telling a story with no point and sobbing as you did it.
There were a few notable exceptions, like the guy who talked about the male nurse who spoke to him in the hospital. He’s now studying to be a nurse and will soon be working in that same hospital and wants to thank him personally. That is a good and nice story.
Or the girl that lost the bottle of holy water she got in Turkey for her Grandmother and replaced it with a bottle from the airplane and it is now standing pride of place in her grandmother’s church where people worship it.
I’m not dissing those people for whom it was very important to talk about trying to kill themselves to a room full of people, or the 16-year-old who rambled on something about Frank inspiring her and something something apropos of nothing (ok, I am). I’m not saying every secret should be funny. But it should conform to the formula. We’re not in group therapy here.
Kato and I ruminated afterwards on what constitutes a secret. Whilst I love Frank and Postsecret, there are PLENTY of things you never tell anyone because you just don’t. They’re not weighing you down, nor will you feel relieved to tell people you pee in the shower (which is appaz the most popular secret he gets sent).
And there are some things you don’t and would not tell your partner – like what you sometimes masturbate to. That’s a secret, but depending on who you are and what you’re wanking off to, it can either bring you closer of serve no purpose at all.
Secrets are valuable. Both when you keep them and when you share them. But sometimes they are things you just don’t tell anyone, not out of conscious effort but because does anyone want to know every little thing about their friends and partner? Do you want everyone to know everything about you? It’s like wearing a short skirt AND a revealing top. Everyone needs to leave a little bit to the imagination.
Sharing some secrets sets you free. Keeping some means holding on to part of yourself.
While I’m pretty honest (especially whilst drunk and with friends) there are times I feel dishonesty (in the form of not revealing a secret) is best. Just because honesty is generally the best policy does not mean you should charge around telling things that could cause a massive amount of hurt. Sometimes you need to keep it to yourself and wear the burden alone.
If I’d gotten up to tell my secret tonight, it would have been this (or these).
I have been diagnosed with a mental illness (not a secret really) but my secret is I could not be happier about it. It’s been hard but I’ve spent the last 12 years thinking I’m fucking crazy and I’m so glad there’s an actual reason for it and treatment. Also, I’m just about the only person I know who can legitimately say “I’m mental” and it would actually be true.
I’m not sorry. I’m not really sorry for anything. I’m here, I’m doing the best I can. I’ve given up berating myself for not doing or being better or for fucking up. I am here and I am. And no one has died. As far as I’m aware.
I also feel a million times better by sharing the eye-rolling and the hand-gripping at the frustratingly bullshit parts with the Katester because if we’re going to hell, we’re going there TOGETHER.