I love to travel. I hate to pack.
I love my sorority sisters. I hate the, “gotta look perfect” pressure that comes with hanging out with that group.
I’ll be the first to admit that the pressure is 98% self-imposed. And I’d like to reiterate – I LOVE my sorority sisters. They’re my people. It’s just that they, unfortunately, are the most fashion-forward, put together group of girls on the planet. And even more unfortunate, I am not. So every time we put together reunion trips, like the one in Austin next weekend, I’m always paralyzed with anxiety on what to pack.
Going into my freshman year, I was far from the sorority type, but my older sister was. In typical younger sister fashion, I wanted to do everything she did, including attending Iowa State University and joining Chi Omega. Luckily, because of my sister’s legacy, I was a shoo-in for the 2009 pledge class. On the day I found out I was accepted, I put on what I thought to be my cutest outfit, let my hair air-dry in imperfect waves (low maintenance was cool in my high school group of friends) and headed off to meet my new “sisters.” I have to tell you – I’ve never felt more out of place in my life. As the upperclassmen herded us out onto the front lawn and lined us up for the traditional Fraternity Serenade, I found myself surrounded by perfectly tanned bodies, brightly painted toenails and the cutest array of sundresses I’ve ever seen. The drunk fraternity pledges made their rounds, slurring the words to, “Save a Horse Ride a Sig Ep,” and handing out flowers to only the blondest girls of the group. I started to panic.
I don’t belong here. These girls will never be my close friends. I’ve made a mistake.
I resolved to get through the serenade in one piece and then tell my sister that the sorority thing wasn’t for me. That is, until I actually started talking to a few of the girls closest to me. One girl nervously admitted her interest in the veterinarian program and her fear that she wouldn’t get in. Another girl chimed in about her home sickness. Before the end of the serenade, a group of us had made plans to go to the diary queen for ice cream.
It only took one brownie fudge blizzard and a two hour conversation to fall in love with the girls of Chi Omega. And I have to remind myself of that every time the reunion anxiety causes me to reach for my credit card to buy a whole new wardrobe. These reunions are about the conversations. The life catch ups. The belly aching laughter, not a fashion show. So, my packing strategy is to keep it light, classic and 100% me (low maintenance and all) so I can concentrate on the important.
Can’t wait to see my sisters in Austin.