If you haven’t worn a bra in months or you enjoy really long baths to escape from your family, you’re in good company.
People have been anonymously sharing their lockdown secrets on postcards as part of an arts project launched by Eleanor Tattersfield, the founder of Marby and Elm print workshop and stationery store in London’s Exmouth Market.
The concept is simple: order a free postcard online and Tattersfield will send you a stamped and addressed postcard “for you to unburden yourself of your lockdown secret”.
She’s sent out 500 postcards to date, and has received 275 replies, ranging from the oh-so-relatable to the fantastically eyebrow-raising.
“I hide bars of chocolate in an old Oxo tin,” one postcard reads. “I am having passionate secret sex with another man’s wife and I love it,” another adds.
Tattersfield shares the postcards on Instagram and says the most prominent themes are food, sex, masturbation, loneliness, breaking the rules, love and the love of lockdown.
“I cannot express the joy and excitement I feel opening my shop in the morning and seeing the pile of previously undisclosed secrets on the doormat,” she says. “To think I get to be the first to read these little pieces of someone’s soul is an immeasurable privilege.
“Their wit, sincerity, creativity and diversity are completely compelling.”
Tattersfield came up with the idea after listening to The Apology Line podcast, which tells the story of an answer machine confession line from the 1980s, where people left weird and bizarre messages.
Her shop has been closed in lockdown and the project enabled her to connect with customers, new and old. The collection presents “a portrait of our extraordinary times”, and she hopes to turn the postcards into a book.
“Many people have said they felt a sense of relief writing out their secret and sending it off, out in the ether,” she says.
“Ultimately, this project shows that age old adage that we’re not alone in our secrets/fears/dilemmas/loneliness and seeing and hearing others are going through the same binds us, and helps us through this period of uncertainty.”
Check out some of the postcards below or follow Marby and Elm on Instagram to see more of the project.