I Went Greek, and I Get the Hype Now

This is not the story of a beautiful and fabulous girl who was popular in high school, went to college, joined a top house and was the same beautiful, fabulous, popular girl all over again except with more pictures and strange hand symbols.

This is the story of a girl who mocked Greek life and everything it stood for until one day, out of boredom and need for change, she rushed, accepted her bid, and never turned back.

See, my experience with girls was always a lot like 2 Girls 1 Cup: awkward, emotionally scarring, and full of shit. 

In my primitive years, girls just didn’t like me (I mean, I was ugly, weird and ate pickle sandwiches for lunch, so I don’t think anyone did), and so I became terrified of them. This then became a self-fulfilling prophecy where when approached by another female, my fear would turn into an uncomfortable bitchiness that, surprise-surprise, made girls not like me, and blah blah blah cycles and whatnot.

I did formal rush my freshman year. That was equally terrifying. I was surrounded by hundreds of girls skinnier, prettier, and better at interacting with other girls than I was, and I couldn’t take the pressure and the threat of failure, so I dropped before I could be rejected by my own gender yet again.

I settled down with a group of really close guy friends and, aside from having no one to talk about periods and Gossip Girl with, I was essentially content.

About midway through my sophomore year, my group of guys kind of fell apart. Some people left, most rushed frats, some got wifed up, and some just…fell off. It became evident with me that I needed something new to do with my life. So, when a new sorority announced they were doing informal rush, I thought, “eh, why not.”

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The first steps of the process gave me the same anxiety from years past. I didn’t know how to talk to these creatures. What did I say to make them like me? Would they think I was too blunt? Could they smell my fear? A lifetime of avoiding female relationships for fear of rejection had left me with no knowledge of how to interact with these group-oriented and emotional creatures…so I thought.

I made it to Bid Day, and was still panicking. I had talked to some people and put up a good front like I was confident and knew what I was doing, but internally I was still hysterical.

In a moment that seemed trivial to most, but actually took most of the courage I possess (and made twelve-year-old me hold her breath in anguish), I approached a group of girls taking pictures with those giant-wooden-letter-things and asked, “hey, can I hop in that pic with you guys?”

Low and behold, they didn’t laugh. They didn’t make fun of me. They didn’t invite everyone at our volleyball practice besides me to a sleepover (yes, I remember. And yes, it still hurts). They said yes.

My experience since then has been one and the same. While I acknowledge I might still rub some the wrong way, and there still exist girls who might really just not like me, going Greek has been life changing for me.

I’ve started leaving my past experience with girls behind, and embracing a sisterhood that I previously mocked.

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I take more risks, and attempt more personal and intimate connections with people from my gender, instead of hiding behind guy friends simply because they intimidate me less.

While I still hate skirts and think that glitter is for arts&crafts and not blowing at cameras, I understand the hype now.

Greek life has given me a safe place, a family, and new outlook on my fellow women.

It has broadened my social and occupational horizons.

It has increased my confidence, my intimacy, and my acceptance of others.

So, though it’s not worth much, to all my GDIs still out there bashing the system: I was there once, so I get it. But there is much more to Greek Life than parties, cliques, and slanderous YikYaks and news articles. There are more of us than those who get taken away for alcohol poisoning and accused of sexual assault. There is a family.

It might not be for everyone, but I’m glad I figured out that it was for me.

My sisters are some of the strongest, most eccentric, beautiful women I have ever met. And while fake-laughing pictures and matching Halloween costumes still make me cringe, I can say without regret that I have gone Greek.

An Open Letter to the Addicts Raising Children

Dear Addicted Parents,

Do not think for a second that I do not understand. I have seen single-handedly the process that created you. I have seen with my own eyes the birth of demons, the self-loathing, and the late nights of pain that create an addict.

I have seen the breakdowns, heard the songs you’ve written, and felt the relationships that broke you as if they were my own. I have seen the darkness in your eyes that has you convinced that just one more drink, one more line, one more syringe, and maybe you’ll wake up from this nightmare.

I’ve seen the devastation when you wake up the next morning, and everything that created an addict still exists. I have seen you.

But I have also been your child. I have stood alone at father-daughter dances, fearing your drunken presence would be more an embarrassment than a comfort. I have had the sober parent tell me that no one can know, and that they wouldn’t understand.

I have been on the living room couch when grandparents and sober-parent sit us down and tell us that addicted-parent just isn’t coming home for a while. And I was in the front seat of the car when my sober-parent told me addicted-parent wasn’t coming home at all.

I am not here to invalidate your pain. Every dark aspect, every abandonment, every abuse you encountered created an addict. And I sympathize with all the ways you’ve tried to kill your pain.

But I am begging you, even though your life created an addict, don’t use your addiction to create me.

I am a daughter who will be walked down the aisle by my brother at my wedding.

I am a girlfriend whose father you will never have to impress.

I am a sister doing the best I can to explain to my little brother what it means to be a man, when I have never been one.

I am a daughter watching a mother bend over backwards trying to raise two children financially, emotionally, and mentally, and being punished when all she ever did was fall in love with an addict.

This is not a sob story. I will spit on your pity, and reject your help. I don’t need it.

I am simply saying what I wish someone had told my father before I was forced to grow up without one.

Stop. Today. Right now. This instant.

Stop so that your child doesn’t need to know what it’s like to sit at AA or NA meetings with you and hear stories of “50 years sobriety” while you still reek of booze.

Stop so that your child doesn’t constantly compare their own worth to a glass bottle, a pipe, or a syringe.

Stop so that you won’t miss it. Be there for every prom, every wedding, every break-up. You need to be there.

Stop choosing your death when so many parents would give anything just to live for their kids. Children are losing parents to cancer, natural disasters, and poverty, because that kind of death doesn’t leave you with a choice. Addiction does.

Your demons and your pain are valid, but they should’ve stopped taking center stage the exact MOMENT you brought a child into this world.

Your addiction is not saving you from darkness, it is creating ours.

I know you think it will never happen to you, and maybe it won’t. But it happened to me, and I am beyond determined to do everything in my power to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

So dear Addicted Parents, start being the parent we can’t wait to grow up and be like, instead of the parent we are terrified of turning into