In the journey to find my girl, I think back to the young girl I was at 18. There on the doorstep at The University of Alabama, I gave my last hug to my parents, and enrolled in the communication program, most certainly confident that I was destined to be the next Mary Hart, popular co-host of Entertainment Tonight. What I discovered; however, were hundreds of other girls in the same boat with a Southern accent; much prettier and thinner than I was. After receiving rejection as a double legacy from the Tri Delt sorority; I was sure my life as a Southern Belle was destined for failure. I packed my bags, and carried phrases like “fixin” and “ya’ll,” and transferred to James Madison University. My best friend from high school went there, and she was having a blast. That was good enough for me.
I decided to give sorority life a try again, this time with Sigma Kappa. This was my first choice. These girls were fun and beautiful too. I was shocked when I received an invitation to join. And even more shocked after I went through the “voting” process the next few years. If we wanted a girl “in” our job was to convince our sisters that we could not live without her. We had a certain image to uphold, and we were very clear about who fit the bill. What I remember are the girls that didn’t get voted in. They didn’t have enough fans. Not enough likes. Or in our case, “dittos.” This was the hand signal we did when we all agreed on a girl joining our club. Bid Day was a huge deal where we extended a certain number of invitations, usually around 50. We all celebrated with loud screams and hugs, with girls that wanted to be just like us, over a keg of beer in a random fraternity basement dancing to Salt n Pepa.
In college I was surrounded by a ton of friends, beautiful, fun, and carefree. I never experienced any conflict in these relationships because our main concern was finding our next party, and hopefully making it to our 8:00 class. We wore baseball caps, met for regular lunches, planned parties, and stayed up all night cramming for tests. We absolutely had no responsibility other than coming home with decent grades to make our parents happy. I never remember not liking anyone, or anyone not liking me. We just floated through life with joy. Of course we were always on a diet; and most girls, including me, had eating disorders. Even then, we didn’t REALLY love ourselves.
I’ve discovered the same thing in my 40s. Most women I know are hardest on themselves. Most women have a deep wound or insecurity that prevents them from loving themselves. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is that not everyone will be my friend. Not everyone will like me. Not everyone will bring out the best in me. I won’t be invited to things I’m completely available for. I won’t click with everyone and not everyone will click with me. This, of course, is hardest when clicks are formed with mutual friends frolicking together through the eyes of Facebook.
But then I remember who my girl is. She is carefee, confident, and capable of greatness. She’s the same girl plopped on the doorstep of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with big Mary Hart dreams. She’s the same girl who rapped her speech at a new sorority in a different state, and was chosen to be the social chairman; after being rejected by an entire sorority block on Bid Day in Alabama.
The girl of my 40s remembers the girl of my youth. This girl is learning to rid myself of naysayers, pursue relationship with women who challenge me, and believe the best about me, even on my worst day. I’m learning to assume that conflicts happen in life; and genuine friendships have difficult conversations, that eventually lead to hugs.
This girl remembers that life doesn’t have to be so serious. Cooking dinner for a family of five and unloading the dishwasher is always better with Pandora and a random Aerosmith tune.
I think back to the girls on that sorority wall who weren’t “voted in.” How tragic.
Maybe that’s how you feel. Invisible or incapable of greatness.
That’s just not true.
I’m learning to love, really love, me for me. And this is the start of something beautiful.
How about you? What are you learning to love about yourself? We want to know!
To submit your blog and how you are getting your girl back for consideration, send it to Traci@GYGB.com