160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Maryl Kunkel stared at the blank notecard. For three days, she searched for the courage to give voice to her secret, a fear she has about her relationship, and how it affects her family. Finally, after much introspection, she wrote it down. And felt remarkably better. Her confession is one of dozens in Cal Secrets, a UC-Berkeley exhibit featuring anonymous secrets written by students. Its goal is to reveal buried fears, regrets and wishes in the hope of promoting healing and connecting the community. Inspired by the immensely popular PostSecret.com, it features a range of admissions, from “I play Sudoku during lectures” to this haunting revelation: “Sometimes I have this nagging feeling that I’m not good enough. Actually, that’s most of the time.” Kunkel calls the process liberating. “You have your secret out there, and no one knows it’s you, but you’re able to get it off your chest,” she says. “That’s the first step to self-discovery.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Some call it a step; others, a catharsis. Be it silly, sexual, dark or wistful, what was once a private piece of information reserved for only the closest of confidants is now community property in the hyper-personal online world. In many ways, the experience of online releasing and relating is the new group therapy. Grouphug.us has collected nearly a half-million confessions since its launch four years ago. Visitors to Absolution- Online.com can confess their sins, Catholic-style. And those who divulge secrets on DailyConfession.com must brace themselves for responses in the Talk Back section. Greg Fox, a former Walt Disney producer, started DailyConfession.com in 2000. Fox now receives hundreds of anonymous confessions a day – from abuse and adultery to flushing the toilet with your foot – for a grand total of 300,000. While there’s value in writing down emotions, the repercussions can be damaging – especially when the form is YouTube or MySpace, which is packed with photos and other identifiers – says Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The millions who’ve participated in the PostSecret.com project may disagree. Founder and Cal alum Frank Warren, a suburban father and medical document supplier, passed out postcards to people asking them to jot down a secret, decorate it, and send it in. Three years later, the postcards are still coming. He’s received nearly 200,000 pop art renditions of scandalous confessions (“I have been planning my husband’s funeral for 24 years”), tragic revelations (“My mom put me on my first diet when I was 6”) and goofy admissions (“I pee in the shower”). The last is the most common confession.
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