There’s a new online project happening at Middlebury, and it’s not only incredibly inspiring, but much-needed. This fall, Emma Erwin ‘15.5 began “Resilience,” a website dedicated to exposing real accounts of students’ internal struggles – no matter what they may be – in an attempt to build solidarity and support. The website’s tagline is “What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?”, a question encouraging tremendous introspection and honesty, which Emma answered beautifully in the site’s first published story, “Therapy.” Emma writes in to share the mission behind Resilience, and invite you all to participate:
So much goes on beneath the surface (especially at Middlebury) where the crazy tough times, traumatic events, and difficult experiences that people deal with often seem to be a taboo subject. Whether it involves mental health, mental or physical illness, family issues, the death of a loved one, relationship issues, sexuality, sexual assault, body image, or whatever else—there are so many tough things that almost everyone has had some serious struggles with at some point in time.
In the moment, it usually feels like you’re completely alone, like you’re in the worst place in the world and that no one understands. But that’s rarely the case: so many of our peers have experienced so much of life, and not all of it is rainbows and butterflies. In an effort to break this norm about hiding one’s struggles under he facade of having it all together, I thought it might be neat to shed some light into some of those darker moments, to share them. My hope is that by sharing our stories, we can both support each other in our struggles and celebrate our strength in the ways we manage to overcome them.
The Resilience project has a few parts: Writing, Photography, and Story Telling. Basically, Emma encourages any and all students to “Think about your story, write it down or type it out. If you feel comfortable, submit it (either openly or anonymously), to be displayed on a blog site, and later in an open forum on campus,” (that’s the writing), “Select a picture, or volunteer to have your portrait taken. Take a sharpie, and answer the question: what’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Write the answer on your picture. If you feel comfortable, submit it to be displayed online and in a public space on campus,” (that’s the photography), and attend a J-term storytelling event where all the stories on the website will be told (if you wrote a story you are more than welcome to read your own, or have it read anonymously), and the photos submitted will be displayed.
Middbeat absolutely cannot wait to see the Resilience project develop, and strongly encourages all of you to consider writing a story, whether attached to your name or annonymously. Also, if you submitted a story to middbeat’s Body Image Event in the Gamut Room last spring, please consider re-submitting to Resilience!
And a sincere thank you to Emma, for being brave enough to speak up. The whole campus appreciates you.
Check out Emma’s story here, and go to go/resilient/ or go/light/ for more information on the project and to get involved. Keep spreadin the positivity, happiness, and courage, lovely humans.