“Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” – Walt Whitman, Song of Myself – Leaves of Grass

In this activity, we gave guests the opportunity to paint directly on the wall in Room 301 and share a secret or confession they’d never told anyone before.

Some common categories emerged, including:

  • Relationships, and some infidelity! (13%)
  • Feelings (12%)
  • Dogs and pets (8.5%)
  • Depression (6%)
  • Parenting/family (6%)
  • Politics (5%)
  • Food (5%)
  • Alcohol and substance abuse (3%)

Across the spectrum, the duality of human nature emerged. Confessions about depression ranged from guests in the midst of emotional turmoil to suicide survivors who emerged on the other side of their darkness with gratitude and newfound appreciation for life. In the relationship category, we saw everything from direct confessions of love:

“I have a crush on [name redacted] at my job!”

To regretful confessions:

“I didn’t know she was married”

To more light-hearted admissions:

“I have a secret stash of candy I don’t share with my husband"

Many guests shared their innermost feelings, including confessions around personal shortcomings with commitments to do better:

“I have been selfish in ways
I didn’t think I was capable of…I will do better!”

“I talk too much sh*t about my friends,
but I am trying to stop”

“I am really mean sometimes,
though I try to be kind”

Some confessions were relatable, some humorous:

“I think my sense of humor is superior to 99% of people I know”

And others more shocking and revelatory:

“I have to fake empathy”

Of course, there were also outliers (23%) including:

"I'm not an organ donor"
"I'm a social climber"

That provided interesting insight into the range of human experience. Interestingly, 10% of “confessions” were motivational sayings left for other guests, underscoring our desire to share and encourage one another -- a theme that showed up in many of the other activations in the room, as well:

"Without struggle there is no progress"
"Sending only positive vibes"

Political commentary was also top of mind, with several guests commenting on hot button issues ranging from the Kavanaugh appointment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

On the lighter side, many guest confessions referenced an overwhelming love of pets:

"I love my dog more than humans"
"I'm obsessed with my dog"

There was a lot of love for pizza and donuts, and more than one admission of the challenges of parenting and family:

"Sometimes I don't like my children -
but just sometimes!”

“I doubt my love for certain family members”