Monday, June 7, 2010

Hope for the Hopeless/The Kindness of Strangers

I love PostSecret. For those who aren't familiar, this dude, Frank Warren began in 2004 what he calls a "community art project" which displays the secrets of others. Every Sunday, Frank puts up 20 postcards that were sent to him anonymously, each of which reveals a deep-dark secret from its sender. Some are depressing, some are inspiration, some are funny. Just in the past four years he has received over 300,000 cards.

I first heard about the project not to long after it went live, sometime in my freshman year of college. Over the years, it has provided innumerable instances of true humanity into the landscape of my experience. It has helped me form my Everyone Is Crap theory. It has helped me love people for who they are.

For Frank, he has used his stumbled-upon fame to support The National Hopeline Network and 1.800.SUICIDE. He has created an anonymous, mostly online community of acceptance, honesty, forgiveness, love.

Today, i stumbled upon the postcard above. It yanked at my heart, as i know the pains and struggles of that level of depression. I know, for that person, even send that card must have been amazingly cathartic. I hope it helps him. If not, there's always this:

The Please Don't Jump facebook group is now 26,000 members. It was started the day the secret went upand was over 20k in less than 24 hours. Covering the wall of the group's page are exhortations from randoms strangers saying "come live here. We want you." This sort of support is inspiring, but in the sort of social media sitethat has a Group supporting a pickle who's sole purpose was to have more members than the Nickleback-supporting group. That group had 1.5 million members, apparently.

The Together For Life! facebook group is taking a FAR more active approach to this kid. An anonymous member of the PS community wrote in saying:
"On Sunday the 13th at noon I plan on printing up all the caring comments from facebook, taking them to the Golden Gate Bridge and taping them up all along the walkway."
Lindsey Salazar saw the comment and started an event to garner some further support. So far, 107 people have said they're going to show up and show this random individual how much they love him or her - even though none of them have ever met the anonymous sender.

Hopefully, this story will have an ending we can see. Hopefully, it'll be a happy one. I know that PostSecret has had a huge impact in the short time its been around, but this would be a big win for the kind of awareness that Frank - and everyone who follows - is hoping to see.

EDIT: Sorry for broken links. Now i can't even find the groups anymore, blarg.