Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sharing Our Secrets

Late last week I had a chunk of time between classes. I didn't want to walk all the way to my dorm just so I'd have to leave after fifteen minutes, so I grabbed a coffee and wandered around campus. Then, I remembered a note I had seen earlier that day.

This little note is the perfect advertisement: cheap, simple, can be posted anywhere, and it gets people curious to investigate. Having been to the Viking Union Gallery before, I knew right where it was. When I arrived, I was presented with a slightly darkened room filled with a cloud of white cards and quite a few students standing in the midst of them.

The white cards were note cards with words and pictures on them, and each one was strung up with thin string to about chest- to eye-level. Each card was hand-crafted by their owners who wished to share a secret anonymously. All of the visitors were slowly weaving between the flock of secrets, reading through each secret on their own terms: One doesn't have an order or schedule to follow when reading these secrets.

Similarly, there was no "right" way to hold or read these cards. Some people peered from a distance without touching any, some people jump into the middle and wove their way through the flock. A few people lightly held the cards like fragile butterflies, while others pinched them between firm fingers.

There was an un-oppressive silence as we all read; occasionally someone would whisper, giggle, laugh, sigh, or gasp in reaction to these surprisingly intimate and yet disconnected truths about people--that could be from a fellow student, teacher, or even roommate.

A few of them include:
"I think the green movement is bullshit."
"I did not vote" over an image of Obama.
"I like porn. PS- I'm a girl"
"My math teacher is sooo cute."
" My real New Years resolution is to stop faking it."
"I stopped trying to be a size I was never meant to be. I have never felt this sexy!"
"I want to drop out and move to Germany in spite of my parents."
"I love being a slut!"

[Quick sketch right after seeing the show]

This show, called "You've Got Secrets" is an extension of the PostSecrets project, and will run in the VU until January 27th. The deadline for secrets has been extended until the very end. You can submit in drop-boxes around campus, or online--all anonymously, of course.

This is a very visually appealing show that also allows people to share their burdens with complete strangers. I think we all secretly want to share our secrets--the act of letting go of a secret lifts a lot of weight, even if it is on a small note card. I highly suggest to everyone/anyone going to see the show before the end of the month.

In spirit of this post, one of my own secrets:

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