Catharsis: A release of emotional tension, as after an overwhelming experience, that restores or refreshes the spirit.
Have you ever had a secret that you wanted to tell everyone but couldnt tell anyone? I do, you do and everyone does. We repress things that are uncomfortable or impossible to share with others for any reason. Maybe its just embarassement. Maybe we are afraid of social repercussions. Maybe we think that by sharing our desires/feeling/wants/emotions we will alienate our friends and family making the whole purpose of sharing our secrets moot and counter-effective.
For those of you who have never seen it before, I present to you http://postsecret.blogspot.com
This is perhaps my favorite website for the simple 60 seconds a week of enjoyment I get from it every sunday.
To the unintroduced, postsecret is a place where people go to confide these secrets. they can be anything and posts range the full gamut. There are posts of lost or hidden love and lust. They are about children and parents. Friends and relatives. CoWorkers and strangers and everyone and everything else.
The format is simple. People, anonymously, send homemade postcards that reveal their secrets to the world. These postcards are then randomly posted on the website for the world to see. This offers the sender the ability to reveal their dirty little secret to the world in a touching and artistic venue, while maintaining anonymity.
On a personal level, as someone who has been observed to be, and is admittedly, entirely unemotional and completely dead inside, this website rapidly surfaces emotions in me that the most touching pieces of art or music never could. I am Tyler Durden and these posts are my support group, allowing me to feel and cry. These cards drill to the deepest depths of our emotional core and set the bomb that triggers the explosion from the inside out. With the simplest of statements we relate to and sympathise with these nameless strangers that are so like us.
I am writing this post because I only now understand the cathartic backbone of the website. Today, after working on it in concept and artistic format for the past 2 days, I have sent out a secret of my own. It is a simple card, with crude drawings and a simple secret, but the rush of dropping it in the mailbox, knowing I can never retrieve it, was intense. Its out there. My buried shame is revealed to someone, maybe even many people.
Now, dont ask me what I wrote. Its anonymous and, quite frankly, its rather unimportant. Even if they were to post it, which it is unlikely that they ever will, I still wouldnt say. The point is only to have it out there, and hopefully inspire others should it ever be seen.
For a truly cathartic abreaction, I reccomend that everyone locate a secret of their own, one never shared with anyone ever, and send it in. I believe I will sleep a little better tonight for it.