I was a sorority girl.  I loved my four years of mixers and parties, of always having someone to sit with in the dining hall or class. I made friends I have to this day. I wore the sort-of preppy clothes and worried about our image (were we being discreet, classy, etc).  I can still recite part of our creed, and still get a secret little thrill when I hear a part of our initiation in a popular song lyric.  And then I graduated. And realized that while some parts of me are still sorority, other parts very much are not.

Later, I made more friends as I attended alumnae events when I moved to a new city.  It wasn’t intimidating to go to an event where I didn’t know anyone because we’d be guaranteed at least fifteen minutes of conversation as we talked about where we went to school and our favorite memories.  At a wedding last year, several women from the sorority (and from chapters all over the country) surrounded the bride and sang one of our (tasteful) songs to her, just like we used to do at all the weddings right out of college.  These women know me as the part of me that isn’t so sorority girl with a little bit of throwback to that persona mixed in.

But the minute you read “Sorority Girl” I imagine you got a particular image in your mind of who I am and what I’m like.  Maybe I was once, sort of.   But I’m not now.  As my friend Lisa says, I’m an enigma wrapped in a question mark.

So why am I talking about any of this?  I’ve been asked to help out with an initiative within our national organization, and tomorrow night, I’m presenting a progress report in front of our International Officers.

I’m not nervous about speaking. I’m fine with talking to large groups.  I’m stressing about what to wear. Really. Because there’s so much of me that’s not a typical sorority girl, that I’m rebelling at the thought of the stereotype.

Champagne problem, I know.  But I honestly don’t want to be “too sorority” in how I dress. We’re all grown ups now (at least the collegians will not be in the dinner) and I’m sure most people will be in capris and sweater sets of something like that. I’m sure we’ll see some pearls.  And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that for the women who prefer that style.

It’s not for me.  I’m proud of my sorority. I’m glad to be a part of the women I am working with on this initiative.  But I’m terrified of being too much  a member of the group and not enough of just me.  So I’m thinking about clothes.  I think my slacks with the dragon embroidered down one leg are perfect. They’re khaki, but with just enough something different. And a cool top. And of course, funky jewelry. Maybe my sparkly snake bracelet , very similar to the one pictured here.

Why? Because while we’re all a member of the same organization, we’re all unique wonderful, dynamic women.  Sure, we were part of a social club where, for all intents and purposes, we paid to be each others friends. It went deeper than that, though.   Some of the women from my sorority know me better than most anyone else in the world except maybe my best friend. And despite the stereotype, they’re some of the least judgmental, most supportive women I know.

I guess what I want to show is that there’s room for all of us, all the things that make us unique. Even if we have a bit of an edge to us, or go to Science fiction and fantasy conventions.  Or like tattoos and rock music.

Sorority women are so much more than how we’re portrayed on television and in movies.  And the best parts of us are the pieces that make us unique.  I remember one year during rush, our Bid Day t-shirts read “Where all the pieces fit together”. I think that’s a nearly perfect explanation.