Let me tell you a story…
If you have ever heard one of my programs… or if you have been in my life for a while… then you know the graphic details of the night I broke up with Chris… the guy I thought I was going to marry… The guy who bought me an engagement ring I never got to lay my eyes on. (PS – Long Blog Warning). I ended our relationship in the parking lot of Kappa Delta Headquarters on Labor Day weekend at 3:00 am confused, and tear stained. I don’t know why I ended it… but I despised myself for doing it.
24 hours, and some change, later I was on a plane to Milledgeville, Georgia to find, stalk, swoon and recruit the newest chapter of Kappa Delta at Georgia College & State University. I felt inadequate. I felt empty. I felt not good enough. I felt like a fraud. I felt like a mess. I felt like no one would see me and say… “yeah her, I want to be with her… even if what she is creating is not real… I will give it a shot. I will create something out of nothing with her.” I think because I had such a devastated sense of worth I threw every ounce of myself into that campus.
I had all sorts of weird insecurities… I did not think I was nearly organized enough to build anything from the ground up. I thought every Southern girl on this planet would take one look at me and my stupid star tattoo and say, ‘no ma’am. I also did not believe I was deserving of love… or happiness… therefore why would ANYONE join something I was a part of.
Thank God for Georgia Ann Buckhalter. GA, is a Steel Mimosa… and our quintessential Southern Belle of the group… she came to the state of Georgia ready, with a coffee pot and two coffee cups… one with a peach on it and the other with a photo of Scarlett O’Hara on it… No BS – she is just that Southern. All we had was coffee and cookie dough. She introduced me to Taylor Swift – Stay Beautiful, Billy Currington – Good Directions and most importantly… Wagon Wheel. Now, those songs bring me back to Milledgeville, to Georgia Heat, to Summer nights and to poster painting at 2:00 am wedged in-between picturesque columns on campus.
It is so weird how the world takes away a piece of your heart to replace it with something wildly different but more fulfilling. I needed a win, I needed some validation and I needed to re-define my worth. The Eta Mu chapter did that and so much more for me. I cried at their initiation… maybe because I was exhausted, but mostly because I never knew pure selfless love until then. I did it for them. I did it for Kappa Delta. I did none of it for recognition or resumes or for ego.
That town reminds me that I can fight through the worst pain to create the most amazing sisterhood. That campus reminds me to value myself not based on who I am dating, but rather who I am changing. The song Stay Beautiful by our girl Taylor Swift (the anthem for the trip) makes me feel like I might really be someone. There is a line in the chorus that states, “And when you find everything you looked for, I hope your life leads you back to my front door.” This week Milledgeville called me back to it’s front door.
I have found so much of what I have looked for in this world. Seeing Georgia College and being good enough there, inspired me to move from Seattle and go to graduate school. It taught me I was good at recruiting people. It taught me I was worth friendship, love and acceptance… even in my darkest moments. It changed my life. Phired Up would never have happened without it. KJ would not be a thing if there was not Milledgeville. It is a pillar of my soul and a piece of my heart. I fell in love so many times there, even with the cockroaches that shuttled across the sidewalks at night… because it was wildly different from what I grew up with, but not as bad as I had anticipated. It taught me that wild happiness lives in the unknown, you just have to jump in the water trusting you are smart, quick, savvy and strong enough to handle whatever wave hits you first. If you let fear win you will live your life wondering. Fate Loves The Fearless.
This weekend I spoke to the entire panhellenic community about what sorority is and why it matters… and why recruitment. I beat myself up about how I needed to be perfect for a few days, because I wanted to give to them what they had already, and unknowingly given to me. Then, on Friday night I decided to stop worrying about being perfect, but instead to just share what is weighing on my heart… knowing it is weighing on theirs…. and knowing that is what friendship, love and sisterhood is. I wrote a quick gratitude journal 10 minutes before I started and reminded myself that life and love are not about making others like you, or be impressed with you but rather it is about helping them like themselves. Love is selfless.
You are beautiful, every little piece, Love… And don’t you know you are really gonna be someone… ask anyone.
I love you Georgia College… I hope my little nuggets there value themselves as much as I love them… I hope you see your worth, you deserve it. Thank you for saving me.