[Inside] I’ve been reading PostSecret for 15 years- since I was 15. You’ve been with me for half my life, but I never had a secret I felt I should share with you.
My secret, the secret I was keeping from even myself: What he did to me that night was actual torture.
Here’s the only thing that won’t go in the fire or to the thrift store. I’m not superstitious, but it feels like a horcrux, and shouldn’t be picked up by some unsuspecting person.
My load is so much lighter tonight, and I hope you have ways of finding that lightness too.
You visited my school a couple years ago. You shared a message someone sent a gal who was contemplating suicide on the short-lived PostSecret app. It was me. Thank you for sharing that. I have a Masters of Social Work now and my brother died of suicide the year before you visited. I was actually suicidal at the time, in part, due to not being able to help him. Knowing I had helped someone through suicidality helped me recover. If we hadn’t snuck in and I didn’t have crippling social social anxiety, I would have spoken-up. Thank you for Postsecret. I can’t tell you how often it has helped me.
[on back] My mother’s memory is getting really bad. I don’t answer my phone when she calls anymore, with the hopes that she’ll leave a voicemail so I have a recording of her being lucid to listen when it gets even worse.
[inside] Slowly I’m realizing my memory loss. I hope I lose all the trauma and am peacefully ignorant in my old age. Please let me smile and be happy.
Next Sunday is Fathers’ Day. Mail in your secrets today.
PostSecret 28241 Crown Valley Pkwy #F224 Laguna Niguel, CA 92677-4442
A year ago I asked PostSecret followers on facebook for once-in-a-lifetime questions to ask my dad for an unforgettable interview. Over 700 replies with more than 1,000 questions came back.
This was my original post:
I was thrilled with all the thoughtful questions shared with me, from the delightful to the profound. I read all of them and picked 25 to ask my dad. At a family dinner the night before our day of tandem paragliding, as an experiment, I peppered three into our conversation. . . it didn’t go well.
Like many families, ours was far from perfect, with divorce and estrangement being a part of it. So when other family members began responding to some of my father’s answers, long-buried feelings and some judgement turned the interview sour. Because of that learning experience, I changed some of my questions and gained three insights about interviewing parents.
• Avoid questions about regrets or mistakes and start with questions that include the word “favorite”, like, What’s your favorite decade and why? • Keep the questions open-ended and let answers lead to other answers. Aim for a flowing conversation, not an interview. • Really listen.
On the two hour drive to the gliderport the next day, it was just my father and me in the car. I told him how much it meant to me to go through these questions and get to know him better. He was game so I cautiously started. He passed on some of the questions, but then really began to share a lot with me, including a secret. He even started asking me some of the same questions too! The spirit in the car was supportive and generous, with some heartfelt laughs as we used questions as prompts for our once-in-a-lifetime conversation.
Even though we were unable to do any gliding because of wind conditions, I’ll never forget that day and the new appreciation I had for me father. I can’t reveal the secret he told me but another part of our conversation shocked me. I asked this gentle and caring man, what is the most common misconception people have about you? He said. When I was ten-years-old, my mom spanked me for the last time. I don’t think you know how stubborn I was then but you do know how stern your Grandmother could be. I remember through my tears and pain looking at my mother and saying, with spite, I like getting spanked!
Thanks to everyone who contributed questions to my original post and I invite you all to use these questions to get to know your fathers (or mothers) better. If you do, leave a message on the PostSecret facebook page about your experience. I will repost them on Father’s Day.
Here are the 25 questions that guided our conversation with some additional resources at the bottom.
Can you tell me about your best friend when you were a kid and one of your adventures.
What is the oldest story you know about our ancestors?
Is there something about me that you have always wanted to know but have never asked?
Can you describe a favorite memory about a family member?
If this was to be our very last conversation, is there anything you would want to say to me?
Do you have a favorite snack, song, television show, recipe, comedy?
What is your first memory?
What event in your life changed you the most?
Did you ever get into trouble as a kid? What happened?
If there was a biography of you, how would you want to be described?
What choice are you thankful that you did not make?
What is the best advice you remember from your father?
Is there anything you wish you had said to someone but didn’t have the chance?
Can you teach me something?
What is something you would like me to ask you?”
What do you wish you would have spent less time worrying about?
What is something you deliberately did not tell me as a child and why?
What is the best part of your day? What makes you feel most alive?
What is the last thing you changed your mind about?
What things helped you get through a difficult time in your life?
Over the course of your life what trip or place was most special? Why?
What would you like to re-experience again because you did not appreciate it enough the first time?
Can you tell me something about yourself that I don’t know that you think would surprise, shock or delight me?
What habits served you the most through life?
What is the best mistake you have made, and why?
What do you hope my siblings and I have learned from you?
How are you doing right now? Is there anything on your mind right now that you’d like to talk about?
(When my father visits again, I’ll be sure to have his favorite comedy and snack ready.)