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Do you pee in the shower? Apparently it’s more common than you’d like to think, according to Frank Warren, the creator of the world-famous blog PostSecret. Warren has received this secret most frequently throughout his entire time reading and posting people’s anonymous secrets online for the world to see.

The Fairfield University Inter-Residential Housing Association (IRHA) began planning for the PostSecret event in August.

“Each year IRHA chooses an advocacy issue that is important to all of us, and for the 2011-2012 school year we chose suicide prevention initiatives,” said Vice President Briana Cronk ’12. “The PostSecret mission really speaks to this.”

“PostSecret is this great example of the power of community and anonymity; that someone who is in great despair, or simply does not feel heard in some aspect of their life, and yet has this outlet in which to feel heard, is a wonderful thing,” Emily Goodman ’14, IRHA Community Outreach Director, explained. “Sometimes, being heard can be the difference between wanting to die and wanting to live; between feeling utterly alone in the world, and feeling like you’re not the only one.”

“No matter how connected we all feel with Facebook and Twitter and email and texting, there is still this feeling sometimes that no one else can possibly understand us,” Goodman  noted. “And yet, here is this man who changes all of that by the simple act of opening his mailbox to the millions of people in this country, and even those outside of it; someone who is never too busy to be a shoulder to cry on, and someone who never judges you for your secrets.”

A number of University departments contributed to the coordination of the event, including Joe Defeo (on behalf of Student Development), Residence Life, Student Diversity Programs, the Office of the Dean of Students, University Activities, and New Student Programs.

The event, scheduled for February 2nd, will be held in the Quick Center at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free for any Fairfield student and cost $20 for the public. Following his talk, Warren will be holding a book sale and signing in the lobby of the Quick Center.

“It’s scary to really face your own secrets, but when you do, you begin to realize that the very things that haunt us are not as haunting as they can very often feel,” Goodman said.

Cronk hopes that the campus community will share their secrets and enjoy the event as much as she will. “Personally, I think he’s one of the most inspiring people Fairfield students have had the chance to meet, and I hope he really makes an impact here.”

The Mirror had the opportunity to ask him about his disorganization, his plans for growing PostSecret beyond the web, and how he manages bearing the weight of the
entire world on his shoulders.

 

The Mirror: Have you ever included one of your own secrets on a postcard on PostSecret?

 

Frank Warren: Yes, I have one of my secrets in every book.

 

TM: Was there a particular postcard that made you the happiest? Saddest? Most memorable?

 

FW: There are so many meaningful ones to me. I like the funny ones and the ones that describe a hidden act of kindness. Maybe my secret is I like the weird sexual ones too. To really answer your question though, the ones that remind me of the secrets I am keeping from myself are the ones that are most meaningful for me.

 

TM: Have you ever been embarrassed reading someone else’s secret?

 

FW: Not really. They all come anonymously, and my hope is that people can find some solace or catharsis when they find the words and art to take ownership of their secret and then physically let it go to a stranger.

 

TM: Did you have to learn over time not to judge people based on their secrets, or was it a natural assumption upon starting the site?

 

FW: Before I started PostSecret, I was a volunteer on a suicide prevention hotline. My work there really helped me to be nonjudgmental.

 

 

TM: Do you ever feel stressed or pressured with responsibility as the reader of everyone’s secrets? Are you able to separate the secrets from your own life, or do the two mix and affect one another?

 

FW: It does feel like a great responsibility that I have. So for example, I feel obligated to make sure I never miss posting the Sunday Secrets even if that means interrupting my Christmas, which happened this year, or doing it while sick.

 

TM: Have you ever had an affirming moment that made all of the reading, organizing and posting of secrets worthwhile?

 

FW: A couple months ago, I received a “[Mental Health Advocacy] Lifetime Achievement Award” [at the 1st Annual IMAlive Conference] for my work on suicide prevention through PostSecret. That was pretty special.

 

TM: Ultimately, do you have plans to continue to grow the PostSecret concept (beyond the site and the books)? Would you    like to see it continue to flourish and spread, or do would you like it to remain as the original small, relatively-unknown concept?

 

FW: I am working on a PostSecret play right now and a TED talk next month. Both those prospects really excite me.

 

TM: How do you handle the intake of so many cards? How do you organize and sort through all of the secrets?

 

FW: I’m a typical guy, so my archive of all the secrets mailed to me is complete…but very unorganized.

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