Tuesday, June 28, 2011

one year later

Okay folks, it's sharing time. There's something I haven't mentioned yet that I've been meaning to discuss for a while. You see, long, long ago (last year), in a land far, far away (quite close actually), I was living in a house with 59 other women. (And no, I do not mean a brothel, you weirdos...)

I am, in fact... a sorority girl.

Yep, you heard me. I drank from coozies, I sported pearls, I bought god knows how many T-shirts to support god knows how many philanthropic causes, and I wore headbands. Lots and lots of headbands.

Perhaps this doesn't surprise some of you. I certainly have my tendencies (ie. wearing Nike running shorts to the grocery store and pearl studs from time to time), but here's what you must know. I go most days with little to no makeup on. I wait until the nail polish on my toes chips away so badly that some kind friend actually mentions something to me and THEN I decide it's time for a pedicure (what? they can get expensive.) I don't own anything Lilly Pulitzer (truth be told I actually just googled it to see if it was spelled with one L or two) and I've never actually purchased a spray tan. (Okay, one time I tried that Neutrogena stuff but it just made me sticky and I started to smell weird. I don't recommend it.) Anyway, you get the picture. If you saw me on the street, you might think I could almost pass for a normal, non-greek part of society. But alas, you'd be wrong. 

So judge me if you will, and let the many stereotypes that are currently flooding your brain run rampant (or feel free to find new ones by following this account on Twitter, it makes me chuckle), because the truth is... it was awesome. Sororities may get a bad wrap sometimes, but at least for me, it was one of the best decisions I made coming into college. I met amazing people, got to make incredible memories that I'll carry with me all my life, and it really made my college experience a full and meaningful one.

When I graduated, I left school with a group of about eight girls that made up my closest pledge sisters. You can identify them in this graduation pic to my right. (What? The carefully coordinated orange and blue ensembles were a coincidence, I swear.) I think there's just something about the people you bond with in college. They're with you in your bad decisions (aka that fourth tequila shot) and your momentous victories (landing a killer internship in NYC.) I did so much growing in those four years and these girls saw it all. After college ended, we pretty much all scattered about the East Coast pursuing our various careers, but vowed to get back together at least once a year for a reunion trip. Even if we were terrible at keeping in touch, this would be our time to reconnect.

And that trip, hallelujah, was this past weekend in Amelia Island. Which is incredibly hard to believe considering I remember when it felt like a lifetime away. When I moved to North Carolina and started my first job not knowing a single soul, all I wanted was to fast-forward life one whole year and be with my best friends again - the people that knew me best. But I couldn't. So I figured it out on my own. And over the past year I've changed a lot. I mean, A LOT.

What I honestly didn't expect was all the anxiety I felt coming into our trip because of those changes. Of course I kept up with everyone throughout the year, but I guess I started feeling insecure about the person I had grown to be. What if that person was so different from the college me that I would no longer fit in with my best friends? (It sounds crazy, but again, these are the girly thoughts that plague my mind.) I kept thinking most of the choices I made aren't exactly the easiest to relate to. I'm the only one living with my boyfriend (in sin of course, sorry Mom) and the only one that has already moved on to my second job. Jason's job requires him to have an internet TV show and get paid to wear t-shirts (yeah, super relatable), and as far as they know, my job requires me to Facebook all day. I never really go out any more and have hung up my heels in favor of lazy Friday nights with some sushi and a movie. And then there's this blog of course, something that is undoubtedly a little odd to them - writing down my whole life for the internet to see, criticize, enjoy, comment on, share, etc.

So yeah, I was scared. Not to mention sarcasm is pretty much the language of our friend group, so I was heading in with the expectation of fielding at least a snarky comment or two. What I realized is that I didn't give my friends enough credit, and quite frankly, I was pretty silly (nice word for dumb) to think that I was the only one that had changed. As we chatted on the beach and drank wine in our PJ's (soooo sorority, btw), it became clear that each of us, having had time away from the group, had evolved into our very distinct selves and found our identities outside of the group. That was my favorite part of the weekend - seeing who everyone had grown to be just one year later. 

I think growing up is about whittling away the layers of uncertainty and getting down to the heart of who you are. I'd like to believe that with each passing year I will become more and more "myself." Now I realize that journey will never really be complete, but that's not the point. All I know is I'm looking forward to the journey.

This weekend completely surprised me. Before, I guess I felt that I was somehow betraying half of myself by living with one foot on each side of a line - my old self and my new self. Am I the frat-tank-loving, headband-wearing somewhat artsy girl that all my girlfriends knew in college? Or am I the tech-loving, social-media-craving full-on-craftypants girl that loves to blog? My conclusion is that I'm both.

I thought if I couldn't decide on which person I associated myself with, it was somehow like I was lacking individuality. As it turns out, being both of those things IS my individuality. I like chick flicks AND sci-fi movies. I may stalk wedding albums on Facebook (what, act like you don't) but I also post infographics and links to Kickstarter projects too. I have always been proud of myself for being open-minded, but it seems in a twist of irony, by not fitting into one of my predetermined boxes, I actually confused myself. It's not one or the other. It's both. And following this weekend, I got the validation from my friends that I needed to feel like though I may have grown up a bit, we all have, and that's okay.

I'm my own person and whether that is a sorority girl or not doesn't matter. Either way, I have the best friends a girl could ask for and I can't wait until a year from now when I can see my friends, and myself, get that much closer to the people we have always meant to be.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go do a keg stand and volunteer my time to a charity. (Thanks for reading this far - it was a long one!)

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