Homecoming speaker shares the power of secrets

Zoe Wilson   Correspondent

To kick off the start of Homecoming week, NC State hosted the creator of PostSecret Frank Warren, who is now known as the most trusted stranger in the world.

Warren spoke to a large crowd about his experiences that led him to create the successful PostSecret network. Ten years ago Warren thought of a crazy idea and decided to hand out thousands of blank postcards to strangers all over Washington DC, and encouraged them to send an anonymous secret to his home address. His goal was to get 365 postcards, one for every day of the year. Today his total count of secrets he has received to his home surpasses 700 million.

“It didn’t take long before my crazy idea didn’t seem so crazy,” said Warren. When he first created PostSecret, he did not know what kind of path it would take until he received one postcard in particular, that gave him an epiphany of how he could uses all of these secrets to help people.

One side of this specific post card had a picture of a door with a hole in it. On the other side it read, “The holes are from when my mom tried knocking down my door so she could continue beating me.” The day he uploaded this on his website it got one million views and others started sharing similar secrets, and although this did not solve their abusive secrets, it gave them an outlet to make their burden seem lighter so they could feel a little bit better.

Warren could personally relate with this postcard and admitted that he too had a similar door in his childhood experiences. He also shared some of the hardships he has endured in his life such as losing a friend and family member to suicide, being homeless, having mental illnesses and having to get help for his depression. He was very thankful that he was able to find help when he needed it, and decided to guide his website towards helping others who are struggling with their secrets.

Since the creation of PostSecret, Frank has been able to donate over one million dollars to suicide prevention hotlines. “Children almost broken by the world are most likely to change it,” said Warren. “If you can find your way through the darkness to light, and I believe you can, whether it is through medication, religion, therapy, a friend, music, or art, on the other side you will be transformed. You’ll have this beautiful story of healing, a story you can use to help others.”

Warren spoke of psychological research done on secrets that found those carrying a secret about being homosexual or having affairs in their marriage are more likely to get sick. Warren encouraged his audience to let go of their secrets because it leads you “closer to the person you’re supposed to be, doing the work only you can do.”

Graecie Vrchota, a senior majoring in social work, told Warren after his speech, “When my brother came out to our mom, she bought him your PostSecret book as a way for him to feel better about his secret.”

The PostSecret project was created by Warren in 2005, today people continue to mail their secrets anonymously on homemade postcards. Selected secrets are posted on the PostSecret website postsecret.com.