post postsecret

as i already mentioned, i went to post secret live at UCLA last week.  here’s how it went down.

 frank warren, the creator, read a previously unshared batch of secrets to us, as he does at each live event. 

warren’s been called the "most trusted stranger in america,” and that might be true.  he seems like the most fantastic, likeable man.  i can’t imagine him yelling, or even getting a little pissed off.  he’s fun, well adjusted, and a pleasure to listen to.

he shared stories of childhood friends finding each other after decades, (accepted) marriage proposals, and strangers affected enough by secrets on the site to help the sender.  any kind of feel-good story you can imagine was presented.  there were a lot of painful secrets, too, but warren was a comforting guide through them all. 

3 important, bite-sized takeaways:

  •    through our suffering we earn our soul

  •    secret in Hebrew means “come closer” (not physically, weirdos.  confiding in others builds trust and lessens the distances between us.)

  •    the children almost broken by the world become the adults most likely to change it

then we got to share our secrets.  this portion was extremely hit or miss, with confessions swerving from the hilarious to the tragic to the confusing and back again.

my favorite was from a UCLA undergrad about a crush.  i’ll call him “the crusher.”  the object of his affection was a guy he sat directly behind in a film history class for an academic quarter. 

in the crusher’s mind the dude was ideal in all the usual ways, with specific bonus qualities the crusher sought.  even though the crusher hadn’t believed in love at first sight before, he instantly fell in love with the stranger.  as the quarter progressed, the crusher imagined increasingly elaborate fantasies between them. 

but while they chatted a few times, reality was not following the crusher’s script.  they never went out.  they never kissed. 

the quarter ended, the crusher moved on and eventually made a huge discovery.  all those imaginings, yearnings, and affection were misplaced.  they were merely the crusher’s emotions for himself projected onto the stranger.  the stranger was just a mirror for the crusher.  the love story was actually one of self-acceptance. 

although i didn’t share anything, i left that night feeling lighter and more connected to others.  it didn’t even matter whether they made eye contact with me. 

walking across campus to my car, i encountered a huge game of capture the flag.  so we’re all on the same page, it was 10 pm on a Wednesday in late January.  and i saw Chinese new year prep, with three dragons practicing their moves to a gigantic drum.  i couldn’t help but think, “so. cal. does college right!”