It has always generally bothered me when people tell me, “You don’t seem like a sorority girl.”
It makes me wonder, what exactly is the definition of a “sorority girl?”
I’m sure to many people, a “sorority girl” is someone with perfect blonde hair, loves the color pink, bathes in glitter, rocks sky-high heels and always has a boy of the month.
Personally, there are truly few things in this world I hate more than high heels.
I don’t own a single pink-colored item of anything.
I have brown hair, and I will always choose funny Halloween costumes over provocative ones.
This is why I usually can’t help but laugh when people tell me I don’t fit the mold because I’m not sure why there needs to be a mold to begin with.
I still remember my bid day like it was yesterday. I was an excited freshman, eager and ready to start making friends and memories.
I knew that when I joined my sorority, I had found my people.
The women were unique, exciting, funny and diverse.
I had finally found an organization that I was proud to be a part of, and I couldn’t wait for the next four years of my life to unfold.
Despite how excited I was, I couldn’t help but feel the heavy weight of something I had known my whole life.
I had been living a lie for 19 years.
I had been lying to my friends, family, myself and now my sisters.
I couldn’t pretend to be straight anymore.
It was my sophomore year, and I reached a point of complete unhappiness with the way I had failed to be true to myself.
I was ready to live an open and honest life, but that didn’t come without pressing fear.
I was terrified of being openly lesbian.
Being constantly surrounded by women I admired and looked up to added to my anxiety because I so desperately didn’t want their opinions of me to change.
When I first came out to my best friend and sorority sister, I was paralyzed with fear.
On that snowy February night, I had to pull my car over to the side of the road because I was shaking and crying. I knew I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
I felt a wave of relief when she reassured me I would always have the support of her and our entire organization, and to this day, that support has never faltered.
It was after this conversation that I finally had the strength and courage to face the life I always knew I wanted.
Coming out was the best decision I have ever made, and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
My sorority sisters reacted better than I could have ever even imagined.
They were kind, loving and understanding.
I never once felt judged for who I was. If anything, I felt inspired.
My sisters continue to amaze me every day.
They are a myriad of teachers, doctors, volunteers, badass businesswomen and so much more.
These women are anything but shallow, which is a sad reputation so many members of Greek organizations are defined as.
It’s easy to put people in boxes, to assume they fit the molds of their stereotypes and to fail to look past those surface-level assumptions we so often have about each other.
It saddens me to know there might be people out there who are in the same position I was in just a few short years ago.
They may be scared of what might happen, forcing themselves to act a certain way and living lives that render them feeling empty.
Self-doubt and conformity can be very prevalent in many of our lives.
But what society doesn’t tell you is that it’s your differences that make you great.
Being true to yourself can be the scariest task in the world, especially when you feel trapped by stifling stereotypes.
What gives me hope is these stereotypes don’t have to exist forever.
The more people who celebrate their differences, the more we can live in a world free from false assumptions and expectations.
I hope we can all find the courage to be ourselves, despite the boxes society has put us in.
I truly believe the more we can do this, the more the world becomes a happier and more authentic place.
It was through the experience of coming out that I learned the people you surround yourself with should not be there to try and change you.
Instead, they should accept you for who you are and help you flourish as that person.
For me, my sorority sisters are not only just that.
They are now my best friends, my biggest advocates and the people who have helped shape the person I am today.
The most valuable lesson I learned from my journey was to never let your fears decide your fate.
Life is too short to be unhappy. So be who you are because who you are is awesome.