Frank Warren is an English boxing manager and promoter.
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Over 10 years, more than a million people have mailed me their deepest secrets on postcards.
I gave a TED talk. There are six PostSecret books, and a new PostSecret album.
There are 2 kinds of secrets: those we keep from others, and the ones we hide from ourselves.
Have you ever gone to the authorities with a postcard that confessed to something criminal?
Also, sometimes I just sit in the shower and forget to clean myself so I just pour some body wash on my loofah so my girlfriend thinks I used it.
I don't think I have never gone to the authorities - the secrets arrive anonymously - but others have. I have also been contacted by the FBI, police and postal authorities over postcards.
Your secret reminds me of this one, "when my boyfriend and I take showers together, he has no idea when I am peeing on him."
What does your mail carrier think of all of this? And do you give him/her a big tip over the holidays?
My mail carrier wrote 4 pages in the new PostSecret book about her experiences. She told me once that her favorite secret was one that read, "I used to work at the Post Office and we used to read people's postcards all the time...Are you doing that...?"
I guess she was...
Is there any secret that you really wish it wasn't anonymous so you could follow up with them?
A lot of people talk about how they are alone. I wish I could tell them that is an illusion. A secret feels like a wall that separates us form others but if we can just find the courage to share it, we discover it was a bridge the whole time.
First of all, that you so much! The PostSecret community touches so many. Has there ever been a secret you have been unwilling to share publicly and, if so, why?
There are a couple I have not shared. One was a family portrait with the secret written over the face, "my brother does not know that his father is not the same as our father." I did not think it was right for me to out him showing all the family faces.
What's something about this project that made you feel better about your fellow humans?
I love these questions, thanks every one.
"When we decided to keep you, your life wasn't the only one saved."
[arrived mailed on a deflated 'It's a Boy' balloon]
"I am so grateful to the psychiatrist I saw when I was nineteen, who told me I would be fine again. He saved my life."
"It was the toughest thing I ever had to do, but I was there when they put my dog to sleep. He knew and appreciated it."
Has there ever been a secret that you read and just broke down after? What's one that has always stood out to you?
There are some secrets that come from young people telling a story no young person should ever have to carry.
"My friends complain about how bitchy their moms can be... I would give my right arm just to have my mom alive again for one day." [arrived on a postcard with a picture of an arm and a prosthetic limb]
Have you ever received anything horrible in your mailbox as a result of your home address being public knowledge?
And Hello from Germantown, by the way!
No, people are really cool about it. Sometimes they come by and write kind messages on the box or take selfies with it. I will post one of the pictures I took of people around my mailbox now at the bottom of the blog for you to look at.
How long do you think you will continue with the Post Secret project?
Good question. It has been ten years and I write about how the project may end in the new book, "The World of PostSecret". One idea is to kill it like the PostSecret App to keep its purity. Another idea is to give the secrets back to people in handcrafted boxes.
Or maybe I can be like Willy Wonka and hand over my house keys to a super fan. Any takers?
I talked to my wife today about making a stay here available on ABnB - that would be pretty cool.
Hi Frank! I've been following PostSecret for years now and I love the community you've brought together. Through ups and downs of my life, I have looked at the website every Sunday and there is always at least one secret that hits close to home.
My question is: Have you ever received a secret that made you so worried, you reported it to someone or you replied yourself? I can only imagine over the years the hundreds or thousands that threatened to endanger themselves and/or others. I always wondered how you handled that.
Thanks for the AMA!
I do worry about some of the secrets I get but they all come anonymously. Over the ten years of PostSecret the PostSecret community has raised over $1,000,000 for suicide prevention (Thank You!!!) and I tour and speak about secrets and mental wellness at colleges and universities.
Two days ago I gave the keynote address at the National Conference of Active Minds. They do great work with student on over 400 campuses - if you have not heard of them check them out - they need leaders like you.
Is there a secret that, for better or worse, you think about often?
I like to think about this "secret" I received written on a dollar bill, in the mail: "We are all part of something bigger... And we are all part of it together."
After all the secrets you've read, does anything surprise you anymore? Or do you feel like you have "heard it all before"?
I am not shocked anymore but I am still surprised every day.
Frank, I love the community that surrounds PostSecret and cannot put words to how much I love Sunday mornings to see the secrets that I might share in common with the sender.
My questions are:
1. What is the largest size secret you have ever received?
2. How much space do you estimate all the secrets now take up? You once posted a photo of the stack and I wondered how much it has grown?
The largest secret was sent on a sign about 4 feet by 5 feet.
The smallest was sent on a condom wrapper.
My wife and I had to build a new room on to our house for all the secrets.
Hi Frank! What do you do with the secrets where people send jewelry, such as wedding rings, attached?
All the postcards and objects come to my home. I read them all and I keep them all. I have received secrets written and mailed on flip-flops, naked Polaroid pictures and an uncooked Idaho potato.
What's the most interesting deepest secret you've received (if you can say)?
Sorry to do this to you but it is on the last page of the new book - You can take a peek at Barnes and Noble for free.
In the book I call it the perfect secret, and it has no words.
What is the most common secret you receive?
I get a lot of secrets from people who are someplace on that journey trying to find that one person they can tell all their secrets to. I also get a lot about peeing in the show. :)
Have you posted any of your own secrets? Who would you and any of your secrets to?
I have one of my secrets in every book.
This one is mine from book two, it's what I wish I had known when I was in high school.
"If you feel like you are going insane, and you are trapped in a dysfunctional environment, You Are Not Crazy."
[mailed to myself on a 'Cather in the Rye' book cover]
Thank's for stopping by Frank!
What happens to the thousands of postsecrets that don't get posted?
I keep them all - don't worry...
If you want to send one, please address it to my home:
13345 Copper Ridge Rd
Germantown, MD 20874
What is the hardest part for you of the whole process?
Even though I do not publish my email online people get it.
Keeping up with my email is the most arduous part of the project - but never the secrets.
I already checked my mailbox today and they had not come yet. I'm still like a kid Christmas morning going to look for gift.
While I know you've gotten thousands of secrets over the years, can you pick out one in your mind that's your favourite?
No, but I like this one that came on a postcard wrapped in Holiday paper.
"I hope your stupid wrapping paper collection catches fire and burns down your house."
Really, who could you tell that secret too, only PostSecret
Dear Frank, I really love and adore your project, following it for seven years or so now. It's a ritual for me every Sunday to check your page with a mug of coffee in the morning. Thank you, thank you for this project!
My question - has there ever been a time - days or weeks even - that you have become overwhelmed by what you've started? By the secrets and admissions you receive? Has the project ever become a burden?
No, like some people most of the heavy secrets do not bring me down. I focus on the relief people have told me they feel when they let them go. That is how I felt too. Also, seeing other people suffering secrets reminds me that none of us are suffering alone - even if it may feel like it.
However, I do think that people who have had fortunate lives, without much loss can feel depressed when they see some of the heartbreaking confessions. But that is okay.
I like to think PostSecret comforts the afflicted and inflicts the comfortable.
I figured some would be anonymous, but I didn't know they all come that way. I have lost two friends to suicide, so I appreciate all you do to bring awareness to an issue that has a lot of stigma attached to it.
I will check out the National Conference of Active Minds. Thanks for the reply!!
Another great resource is IMAlive - a text based suicide prevention hotline that you can get training for and volunteer when and where you want.
Members of the PostSecret Community created the most complete and comprehensive database of suicide prevention hotlines and textlines here:
I think that this is an amazing concept, and it really digs into the core of humanity. Sometimes we want to just confess something to the world but not face the repercussions.
With that in mind, did your own secrets make you want to start something like this?
Is there something you've written on a postcard that you wouldn't be hesitant to share with Reddit at this point?
I have one of my secrets in every book. This secret is mine from the first book.
"When I was in the fourth grade a new kid moved into our neighborhood. He was charismatic and quickly become popular. One day he and some of my friends pinned me down to the ground. They held open my eyes and spit into them."
How has the post secret community changed over the past decade?
They have less secrets...
Hey, I love your books and have seen you speak a couple of times. I discovered you through Found and have since shared your project with many friends.
Have you ever seen a secret on paper and realized it was your secret too?
How have you evolved during this project?
What is the best thing you have eaten while on a Post Secret tour?
I am a big fan of Davy Rothbart from FOUND - go see his new musical.
Yes, I have seen my secret written on a postcards I pulled from my mailbox from a friend I will never meet.
What's new with PostSecret is the PostSecret Album. Here is a link. One of the tracks is a compilation of the final voice mail message people have kept on their phones from friends and family who have died. Nothing moves me like that one.
You can listen to a track here:
baklava layered with ice-cream!
Has the experience of collecting and publishing all of the secrets over the years had any sort of emotional impact on you? Was it taxing in the beginning and not so anymore? If it really was, how did you manage it?
I can imagine that having such a deep connection with someone's hurt or fears without actual contact could lead to one feeling saddened.
Everyone has at least one secret that could break your heart. If we can just remember that I think there would be more understanding, empathy and maybe peace in the world.
How did you get into this kind of thing?
A boring job and personal secrets that were trying to escape...
Hi Frank, I love PostSecret and actually I recently become your neighbor. What's your favorite place to eat in Germantown?
Going there right now with my wife before we see Birdman, Paladar.
Thanks for your secrets over the years and thanks for your great questions.
If you ever feel like there is no one to hear your secret, you can always write it on a postcard and mail to my home here in Germantown.
13345 Copper Ridge Rd
Do you and your team manage to read every single secret that you get sent? Or does the sheer volume make that impossible now?
There is no team, just my home address and me. I read every secret and keep all the postcards, I think it is a very precious archive.