This article originally appeared on VICE Canada
Frank Warren has been collecting people's secrets for more than 12 years.
Warren began his blog PostSecret in January 2004, after having a lucid dream while in Paris about some postcards he'd purchased. One of them bore the message, "unrecognized evidence, from forgotten journeys, unknowingly rediscovered."
While many of us might have chalked that up to being drunk off Parisian pretentiousness, Warren actually decided to try and figure out what the dream meant. When he got back to the US, the Germantown, Maryland resident wound up handing out thousands of postcards, asking strangers to write secrets on them anonymously, and mail them to his home address. Any revelation is fair game, as long as it's true and has never been shared with anyone before. The blog took off, and Warren has now received more than a million secrets from around the world, a selection of which he publishes online every week.
Warren, who was in Toronto this week promoting PostSecret: The Show, a live performance taking place next month at the Panasonic Theatre, said the project has allowed him to make peace with his own secrets.
"The strongest one was a confession about my childhood where a couple of my friends at one point pinned me down to the ground, held open my eyelids and spit into my eyes. So kind of a horrific bullying experience that I hadn't thought about in years, I'd buried it," he said. "But seeing so many soulful secrets from others it kind of reminded me of that part of my past."
Since starting the blog, Warren has quit his "boring" job as a document delivery specialist to read and share secrets full time, and has published several books; his postcards are currently on display in Washington, DC's Smithsonian museum.
Most of the notes relate to love—people trying to find one person with whom they can share all their secrets, he said. But a small percentage are dark, creepy, or straight up gross.
One woman said her husband wouldn't have sex with her anymore, "so I masturbated with a cucumber and served it in his salad for dinner." Another, up on the blog right now, is from a woman who exclusively fakes orgasms, "because one time I had one and some poop came out."
We asked Warren to share some of the most controversial secrets he's received:
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