I joined a sorority in college. Why? Looking back, I see my ‘why’ was all based on thoughts in my head around what my college experience should look like. I had no idea what I really wanted or needed at the time, and strictly made decisions that I thought would help me feel good about myself. I didn’t know that I could feel good about myself all the time, no matter what, and was stuck in a space of unworthiness. It wasn’t until I started receiving support from Sophia, of Radical Pleasurist, that I truly began to believe I was worthy of love, all the damn time, just as me!
This story comes from my point of view now, while glimpsing back into what I experienced and perceived in my past during my sorority days.
Can I Just Be You?
It’s August 2010 and Rush Day for the incoming University of Florida freshman girls who are seeking sisterhood. I gather with other girls outside the first sorority house and feel more nervous than I had been taking the SAT exam. The beautiful sorority girls lined the big southern house in front of us with their matching gowns, head-to-toe done up completely, with not a strand of hair out of place. They ran outside of the house in a little trot, all in one straight line, smiling over their shoulder at us the entire time. I honestly am not sure how they didn’t trip. I held judgement toward them, but there was also extreme envy.
With the last name “Wright”, I was the final contender to be alphabetically called upon to enter the house. It was hot in August in Florida and I was concerned my makeup might run down my face and my armpit sweat might stain my dress. I still recall the girl before me being the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Paige – I think was her name. I believe she is a swimsuit model now. Not important… but comparison thoughts constantly ran through my head at the time! “I am less than her and they will like her more than me”. These false thoughts affected me deeply, contributing to my low self-esteem and depression, yet at the time I believed they were actually helping to show me where I could improve.
I walked forward, swiftly paired with one of these beautiful sorority girls. It was all pleasantries, small talk, questions and mingling. I wanted her to like me desperately so I habitually started crafting my answers to be exactly what I thought she wanted to hear. I put on my best ‘perfect’ pleaser mask, because that was my go-to! I had no idea there was another way to be. I felt so scared of being rejected because I wanted so badly to be one of them. I thought “if I just get in, then I will be adored by men and naturally become just as beautiful as these women”. I really was truly craving to be accepted and desired, but it was hidden to me at the time that I could receive that by just being me.
Well, I did get in. I was accepted to every house I thought I wanted and made my final pick analytically based off of which one I had calculated would be the most intelligent move. My formula: (# of hot fraternities they hung out with) + (# of people who said it was considered a “top house”) + (# of women I already knew inside that I wanted to be like). This is vulnerable stuff for me and feels extremely embarrassing to share, but that’s honestly what I really thought was important at the time. Too many college themed movies? Who knows.
I had a hard time feeling like I belonged even though I strategically planned out my sorority dream. I kept doing my best to fit in by going to all the parties, drinking alcohol, and dressing up. I never truly felt accepted or got to know many girls on a real or deep level. I see now that it’s possible I might have been a better fit at a different sorority… maybe one I actually felt drawn to. I could have listened to my gut or my intuition, instead of my analytical mind, but I was disconnected from myself and didn’t know how to do that.
I could have been vulnerable and opened myself up in the sorority I chose, but I honestly didn’t know how to be real as myself. I didn’t know who I was and I was always running around trying to be someone else. How could I expect anyone else to take the time to pry open my closed heart and meet the true me? I was completely hidden. I was hiding myself, while attempting to protect myself. I remember being so scared to get close to these women in my sorority because “If I stay with them too long they will know! They will find out I’m a fraud, I’m worthless, I am broken and ugly….” My mind harbored extremely dark thoughts back then.
The Blame Game
When I first realized how disconnected I felt, I blamed it on my school workload (as an Engineering Major), my eating disorder, and emerging IBS. When I became bored with this pattern, I started placing the blame on my sorority sisters and Greek life in its entirety. I became bitter and emphasized that “they don’t know what deep connection is”, “they don’t know how to support me” or “their priorities are all out of whack.” Eventually, after sitting in that toxic space long enough, I rebelled against it all and boosted my confidence up enough to get the courage to drop out.
It was actually the best decision I could have made at that time. I was tired of feeling shitty and now I see that I was finally ready to break free from all that I thought I wanted to be. Relaxing into myself wasn’t going to happen in the sorority environment I created for myself, and my nervous system likely needed a hell of a break after so much forcing. I still had a long road ahead… I still didn’t know how to accept myself back then. I had left something, that was supposed to give me connection, to have more time with myself and my thoughts. If you hadn’t already caught on, the thoughts weren’t very nice. I easily fell into blaming myself for my decisions, self-criticizing patterns, and crippling comparison. Self-compassion was foreign to me then, but I have other options on the menu now!
I Forgive Myself
I see now how clear it was why I never felt like I belonged! Instead of being myself, I tried to be what I thought each sorority wanted me to be. I never just paused and took the time to see who I would be without trying. Instead of seeking out sisterhood, I was mentally trying to analyze what sorority would get me what I wanted at the time – attention from men, high status, and prestige. I know now what I really wanted was to feel accepted and worthy, but I didn’t have the tools to look inward yet so I looked outside of myself for this. I remember being terrified of socializing and I found interacting with other people extremely exhausting, likely because I was always putting forth such effort. I was deeply craving connection, attention and affection but I held the belief that I had to work for this.
I could stay stuck in those same old patterns and beat myself up for not knowing or I could choose to forgive myself and have loving compassion. I choose forgiveness and love! I forgive myself completely for not knowing that belonging was rooted in accepting myself and fully being me. I forgive myself for not knowing that I was trapped in old programming that hid the real me. I forgive myself for allowing limiting patterns that only served to disempower me to run my life.
I committed to myself by committing to a program with Radical Pleasurist in January of 2019 (read about it here). The return on this investment in myself has been abundant and everlasting. I was terrified of the cost because I was truly terrified of looking inward. The decision has been so worth it. I refuse to hide any part of me now even if I perceive that others are uncomfortable! I make it a practice to keep showing up just as I am. I am constantly attracting people into my life that remind me I am loved, accepted, and welcome just as I am. The life I live now is truly blowing all my limiting beliefs out of the water and I feel joyous seeing myself get bigger and bolder each day. THANK YOU!!!!
Have you ever believed you needed to change yourself in an attempt to “fit in” or be accepted? Comment below and let me know!
If you are interested in throwing your mask away for good and belonging just as you are, let’s have a conversation about it. I dedicate 30 minutes of listening to you and identifying how you may be hiding your truest self. Absolutely no judgment! What you know empowers you to choose differently. Let’s do that together. You’re not alone!
With love and light,