Last night some friends and I went to the London PostSecret event. Are you a fan of PostSecret? Do you read the blog every Sunday as the secrets are posted? I do.
I truly had no idea what to expect from this event. I don't know what Frank Warren, the man who started PostSecret, would talk about. I didn't know if people would stand up and share their secrets, and I had brought with me three friends who knew nothing about PostSecret at all. So I was a little nervous to say the least.
Frank spoke for a while, shared some secrets, and had us all laughing and "aaaawing" in unison. He's a really good public speaker and told the story of PostSecret very well. When it came time for people to stand up and tell their own secrets, which of course was not mandatory, I got really nervous as the queue to the microphone got longer and longer. One secret that someone jokingly stood up to tell was that they get really nervous and uncomfortable when vulnerable people talk or preform in front of an audience - I can totally identify with this.
As people stood up and admitted to their most deep and heartfelt secrets I felt like I was riding the wave of emotions I imagined they were feeling with them: nervousness, followed by fear, terror and finally relief or overwhelming sadness as they managed to get out what they wanted to say. Sometimes after someone finished admitting to something, I imagined the room felt lighter as they seemed to feel lighter - as if a burden had been lifted. Other times, it didn't feel like anything had been lifted, it felt like something heavy had been dropped and just sat there un-moving.
People laughed and cried. I was mostly scared for each person as they stood up to speak, whether I could or couldn't identify with what they were saying, I wanted to make it easier for them somehow.
When I got home, Adam and I sat up late talking about our own secrets. We already know them all so there weren't any great revelations. But as I re-told him my heaviest secret that I would have said at the event if I were the sort of person who would want to do that, there was a brief silence followed by lots of laughter. I mean, not it's not funny, but I just couldn't help myself...
I don't know where this tendency came from, but I'm glad I'm the sort of person who can sometimes laugh at my life's worst moments. I know it's not everyone's natural reaction, but I'm glad it's mine. Maybe this is completely deluded of me to say, but I somehow feel like laughing at it makes me a strong person.
Here's a list of the PostSecret events happening around the UK over the next few weeks - go and check it out if you can. You may wake up the next morning with a bit of an emotional hangover, but it's an experience, and not one to be missed.