Courtney Todd/The Mirror

His own mother called him diabolical. Others called his idea crazy, but now Frank Warren is better known as the founder of PostSecret.

In November of 2004 Warren had an idea. He was going to hand out note cards to strangers on the streets on Washington, D.C., soliciting them for their secrets.

“Once secrets slowly started coming in it didn’t take long for my crazy idea to not feel so crazy anymore,” said Warren during a presentation to an almost entirely female audience at the Quick Center for the Arts last Thursday night.

All secrets are mailed to Warren’s home in Germantown, Maryland. He then posts 20 new secrets on the PostSecret site each Sunday. To date Warren has collected half a million secrets, and says he receives about 1,000 postcards each week.

The original concept of the project was that people would anonymously decorate a postcard and write out a secret that they had never revealed before. There are no restrictions on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been said out loud before.

Secrets range from admitting to sexual misconduct, criminal activity and eating disorders to confessions of secret desires and embarrassing habits. The secrets are meant to feel equally empowering to both the author and the readers.

Since the official launch of the website on Jan. 1, 2005, Warren has received an abundance of both praise and criticism, being dubbed the most trusted stranger in America. In addition, he has had five books of secrets published as well as his regular Sunday posts.

In each book Warren leaves a secret of his own. In his newest book called, PostSecret Confessions on Life Death and God, Warren says, “Sometimes when we’re keeping a secret, that secret is really keeping us.”

Warren said he believes that we are all connected in our secrets, which is why one person admitting a dark secret is usually what encourages others to follow and admit theirs as well.

“These postcards could be the only time some of these people ‘out’ their secret,” said Warren.

Warren stated that he receives a large amount of postcards relating to suicide, and that each one really resonates with him due to his loss of a close friend to suicide. The PostSecret community has now generated over half a million dollars in suicide prevention efforts.

During the IRHA sponsored event, Warren also shared secrets that didn’t make it into any of the books or onto the website, and allowed audience  members to come up and share their own secrets.

One girl admitted she used to use her mother’s pads as beds for her Barbie dolls, while others admitted more shocking secrets relating to attempted suicides and alcoholic family members.

Warren said that he sometimes feels haunted by all of the secrets, but stressed it is in a good way. “If you flip through the secrets at least one is bound to resonate with you,” he said.

Audience members raved at Warren’s performance, calling it truly inspiring and insightful.

“After that I feel truly compelled to tell someone a secret,” said Addie Reilly ’14.

Before wrapping up, Warren left the audience with an inspirational message when he said, “The world needs to hear your voice.”

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