As I’ve gone through these 25 years of life, I’ve evolved into a strong, willful, independent woman. I’ve been told a lot of hateful, demeaning, careless and insulting things. I’ve had people in my life I trusted whole-heartedly who told me, basically, I wasn’t worth their time and I wouldn’t amount to anything; I wouldn’t succeed. And at the time I chose to listen to them. By doing that I fell into a hole of depression, which somedays I still struggle to get out of. I became anxious to the point where I would just do the bare minimum in life. I thought I’d get an average Jane job and just live out what I was told I was worth.
Eventually, I found another way of life. I was raised, basically, by all women: mom, sister, grandmother and aunts, all who told me I was worth living an extraordinary life and I could do just about anything I set my mind to. But that, to me, meant giving up fear: fear of rejection, fear of being pushed, fear of being told I wasn’t good enough. But most of all fear of hearing someone say something negative about me and not being able to brush it off. Now, don’t get me wrong I still fear plenty of things like spiders, public speaking and eating bad food. But the fears I chose to face were ones that brought me to a stopping point. Instead of staying in a hole of depression, I climbed out, and found my self worth.
I found a way to ignore the negative and focus on just being me. And being me meant I had to exert the positive, and let that side be the way people saw me. Now, unfortunately, all of this happened before I was even close to one-third of the way through my college experience. Because of these inconvenient words and phrases I had never been interested in specific organizations, especially those pertaining to women empowerment. However, I found an organization that changed my life and helped me look at the world in a way I had never thought of. My junior year of college at Indiana State University, I joined Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, Beta Pi Chapter. They were just a small group of women, only nine members at the time, who were close to closing down the chapter if they didn’t get more members to join. The following pledge class, my pledge class, they initiated 15 members. In all honesty, we were the misfits and nerdy ones of the sororities at ISU, but we were proud to be so. Those nine strong women helped me realize I can not only build myself up and make me stronger, but I can also help others become stronger too.
Having been told I wasn’t worth someone’s time and I had no success in my future really tore me apart, and it can be hard to mend that. But somehow, those fellow sisters and the sisters who came after me, showed me so much compassion and understanding that was bigger and better than any of those people who tore me down. My Gamma Phi sisters were willing to listen and give advice and be there for me when I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe after being torn down by yet another trusted individual. Being a part of a sorority isn’t what most people think about when you hear the word. In Gamma Phi Beta we cherish the words Love, Labor, Learning, and Loyalty. After joining Gamma Phi, I found a way to love myself.
I began to work hard for what I wanted. I learned what it was like to be proud of my actions and I found loyalty in my fellow sisters knowing there is always going to be someone there to help boost me up when I get torn down. Having an organization who not only helps its members grow individually but grow as a whole and help its surrounding community is what I think can be a big part of helping this world excel. Organizations like sororities can help make the world a better, more well rounded place. Strong women’s organizations, are what we need to help enhance better experiences for young women. We need a place where we feel safe to explore, feel trusted and hope that we can make a difference.