There is a common denominator among Boston College students that often seems to get swept under the rug: we all have insecurities. With the new efforts of groups such as UGBC’s Be Conscious campaign, however, there seems to be no time like the present to start owning your insecurity at BC—or is there? What happens when the event is over, the students return back to their dorms, and the cycles of low self-esteem, perfectionism, anxiety, or self-harm start all over again? What about our campus conversations on acceptance and the irrelevance of perfection is not sticking in students’ minds? Being vulnerable and caring about the wellbeing of others amid all of our brokenness, weakness, and insecurities is not a fad—it is something that needs to be seriously engrained in the all-is-okay-on-the-surface culture of BC.
Monday night’s presentation of the BC participation in the “What I Be” campaign reaffirmed this idea that not always being okay is okay. I would like to acknowledge the courage that allowed our peers to put themselves in the spotlight to admit that perhaps all that is visible on the surface is not necessarily valid. We came together to confess that even though these issues may affect us, we are not our self-image, or expectations, or eating disorder, or grades, or loneliness. Steve Rosenfield, the founder of the project, pleaded with students to not let the conversation end that night, and to have it live on in our student body by genuinely taking interest in the feelings of others. After moments of clarity at these types of events, one can often leave thinking, “Now what?”
The issue often raised surrounding these types of solidarity-related, “feel-good” events is the question of continuity. The conversation that allowed students to put their pride and comfort on the line to admit in photographic and spoken form a facet of themselves that makes them self-conscious is a conversation that must continue to affirm the inherent vulnerable humanity within all of us. It is a dialogue that should become prevalent around campus. Often, similar groups of people attend the types of events that involve this mix of sensitivity and vulnerability. As students empowered over this past week by the solidarity that came from writing insecurities on our bodies through “What I Be,” we must ensure that this spirit does not die, by becoming examples for our peers. More people must join the conversation, since emotions affect us all equally. Administrators and faculty could also be involved in this growing conversation of accepting weaknesses and thus turning those weaknesses into strengths.
Let vulnerability become contagious. If BC is a school where conformity is present, then let that conformity become something positive and powerful by creating safe spaces within your circles of friends and organizations that promote the discussion of feelings, insecurities, and difficulties. Together, we as a university body have the power to turn “What I Be” into what we all should be, and let the previously divisive and harmful stifling of emotion become a culture of openness and acceptance. My name is Alex Gaynor, and I am not my many insecurities, but I am empowered to start discussing them. Your turn, BC.
Featured Image Courtesy Of Steve Rosenfield Photography