“I am not my bathing suit,” “I am not my dysfunction,” “I am not my grades,” “I am not my relationships.”
Over 70 students, faculty and staff of the College met with photographer Steve Rosenfield from Sunday, March 23, to Friday, March 28, to share their biggest insecurities with the campus as part of his nationwide project, What I Be.
According to the Circle of Compassion’s Facebook event page for the project, “The purpose of the initiative is to encourage the building of security through our insecurities, acceptance of who we are and the ability to be vulnerable as a campus community.”
Rosenfield individually met with the participants in 30- to 45- minute sessions. After each discussion, Rosenfield took a picture of the person with words written on his or her face or arms reflecting their insecurity and completing the phrase “I am not my…”
Sophomore elementary education and English dual major Gabby Cruz knew about the project before it came to the College and was very excited to sign up for it, yet understood how difficult it might be to open up to a stranger.
“At first, I was pretty nervous to talk to Steve Rosenfield,” Cruz said. “Actually, I almost backed out of the interview because I was so nervous. Personally, I have a difficult time talking about a lot of things and opening up about your insecurities isn’t exactly any easy thing to do. Despite this, as I started to open up, it became easier the more I talked. It felt like a weight was being lifted off of my shoulders. I found that although Steven Rosenfield didn’t experience what I personally was going through, he was understanding and kind, which made the whole process a lot easier. It also helped that the setting was kept very casual and relaxed.”
According to Cruz, the project has empowered her.
“I remember walking out of the interview feeling so relieved, like I wasn’t the only person bearing the brunt of my fears anymore,” Cruz said. “Of course, I will continue to deal with my insecurities every day, but I was comforted by the fact that someone else knew about what I’m going through. I felt really proud of myself.”
She also believes that the What I Be project had a big impact on the College community.
“In this community and on campus, I think that everyone, whether they participated or not, can use this experience to reflect on themselves and everyone around them,” Cruz said. “I really think that this can help people realize that everyone has something that they have to deal with every day, something that makes them sad or scared or uncomfortable, and spreading love and acceptance is more important than succumbing to judgement or hate.”