The courage it takes to share your story might be the very thing someone else needs to open their heart to hope
BY REGAN BUCHANAN
Guest blogger and 2016-17 Campus Y Co-President
Last Tuesday night, February 9th, my dear friend Lauren and I became the next Campus Y Co-Presidents. There were tears (mostly from Lauren), champagne, and a lot of hugs. This sweet victory, I’m told, should be one of biggest successes of my life so far. But as we celebrated, I didn’t feel like I had reached a pinnacle of accomplishment. I was (and am) so unbelievably excited for this opportunity, but I don’t feel like winning the co-presidency is the crowning achievement of my 21 years. So after some thought, I think I know why I feel this way.
In high school and in my first year at UNC, I struggled with an eating disorder and the self-hatred that accompanied it. Without going into too much detail, I was irreconcilably miserable. I would lie in bed at night, cry, and pray to whatever god would listen: “I don’t care what happens in my life. I just desperately want to be happy.”
It’s been a long journey, but with the help of a supportive friend network, fulfilling work, and radical self-love, I found happiness and a sense of purpose. I don’t want to over-simplify the process of recovering from an eating disorder - it’s different for everyone. It’s taken years for me to get to this point. It’s not something I could have done alone, and I still fight it today.
But I’m a stronger woman, a better friend, and a more thoughtful, empathetic person because of my experiences. And I’m happy. That’s my crowning achievement. That’s my pinnacle of accomplishment and the biggest success of my life.
Let’s challenge ourselves to redefine achievement. Let’s stop deriving self worth from our resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Let’s go on an earnest quest to truly find the things from which we derive meaning. And if we can do that, if we can find happiness and purpose- then we’ve made it. Everything else just doesn’t compare.