My sorority house was like the movies. Big white house, decorative front porch and rooms filled with million-dollar furniture and million-dollar smiles. 30 girls laughing and chattering at all hours of the night. Music blasting and porch lounging. Slumber parties and shoe sharing. A female connection and closeness that’s hard to find in Girl World these days.
And I was so excited to be a part of it. I’m a people person, so I need human interaction to keep my mood up, and ultimately my sanity. Always having a sister to shoot the shit with was much needed. Meals were never eaten in silence, and I always received a “good morning” and “goodnight” from sisters and roommates. Having a friend close by was a comforting feeling. However, all of this continuous conversation also meant that I always knew everyone’s drama of the moment, whether it be boy-related, school-related or health-related. My sorority house was like the movies, with all the drama of the movies included.
I don’t know about you, but I struggle with empathy. That is, I am too empathetic. Before I knew it, X’s drama with her significant other translated into the questioning of my own relationship, X’s fallout with X down the hall quickly became a household issue and X’s incessant complaining about her life in general took a toll on my own life perceptions. So many emotions from so many girls in so little space was overwhelming. I felt like there was nowhere I could escape to reflect on my own emotions. I struggled to find privacy in my own head, because I sure couldn’t find it in my own bedroom due to girls constantly coming and going.
My possessions, too, lost their privacy. Apparently a requirement for the sorority lifestyle is sharing, which is fine. I’m more than happy to lend a sister a pair of shoes or a dress for an event. But problems began to arise when assumptions were made that this lending was OK without asking, and then before I knew it, my clothes (and my hard-earned money to buy them) were dispersed in people’s closets throughout the house. I no longer knew where my dresses were, and neither did anyone else.
Sisters stumbling in after a night out created some manic nights, often resulting in some messy mornings with ramen noodles all over the kitchen and bedrooms littered with clothes. I would wake up with my room ripped apart, or the food gone from my fridge. “Whose [insert item] is this?” I would often ask my roommates. And they all would shake their heads. No one knew. Nothing was sacred.
I’m a firm believer in a house being a home; in a bedroom being a sacred space, but I struggled this year to channel that mentality I once held. I found myself craving time to myself, and not wanting to seek human interaction as I once had. I spent less time in the house, and more time at the library or coffee shop. Suddenly, I didn’t like the person I had become.
“Good mornings” and “goodnights” were said less often, and I was all too excited when my roommates went home for the weekend. What happened to the people person I once was? An experience that was supposed to be so fulfilling left me feeling dry and grumpy. And that was upsetting. I know I’m privileged. I’m fortunate that Greek life was able to be a part of my college experience. Hell, I’m lucky the college experience was able to be a part of my life. But, I admit that it did bring out the worst in me.
I learned a lesson through my year in the house, though, and it has to do with the importance of privacy, and ultimately, inner peace. I need excitement and spontaneity, but one can only maintain a spiritually sound mind with that for so long. There’s no price you can put on clear and conscious head. Serenity is key to a positive attitude; it’s not all about thrusting yourself into the sociable mass, as I had once assumed. I can still be extroverted while keeping my mind and body introverted. The two are not mutually exclusive.
My year in this nuthouse was overwhelming and exhaustive, but it showed me who I am, and truly what exactly I need to be who I am.