Friendship · Life · Uncategorized

The Real Side Of Greek Life

It’s not what you see in the movies. It’s not what you expect. It is so much more than that. I will forever be thankful for my sisters. Here’s the thing, when I accepted my bid, I didn’t really know what I was going into. But I’m so glad I did. I instantly gained girls who would support me, who would help me with classes, and who were always there if I needed anything. I know you always hear from the outside its hard to understand, and from the inside it’s hard to explain. It’s true in so many ways. But I’ll try for you.

I was nervous about going Greek, because I had heard all the horror stories. Sorority girls seem to have this negative reputation. I can tell you, not a single person in my chapter ever asked me to do anything I was uncomfortable with, they never forced me to go anywhere, they never forced me to drink or anything. I was loved, and important to them. They wanted me to be there. The chapter was filled with girls who had been in my place before, of being away from home, and not having friends. They know what it is like, and they are there for you.

People don’t talk about the community you build, not just in your chapter but other students in Greek life as well. I still have guys who check in on me who were in fraternities when I was in the sorority, I’ll get a message every few months just making sure I’m all good. It’s the same guys who would step up when drunk kids would try to hit on me at football games or protect me from the creepy guys in class. I could have never imagined I would gain brothers on campus. I am still in contact with girls from other chapters that I met during homecoming, or even during rush.

You never hear about the community service you are involved in either. My chapter made regular visits to the local Ronald McDonald house in Dallas, and had fundraisers for them each year as well. Each sorority supports a different charity, and it was incredible to be able to support each other in that. You knew when you had a fundraiser event, girls from every chapter on campus would be there helping you. Greek life is also active in campus community service days and things like that.

Some people didn’t agree with having mandatory study hours, but it is something you need to have. It forced me to set time aside to actually study and have people hold me accountable for that. The whole reason you are at school is classes, and I think that they did an amazing job making sure we were prepared for success. You should have been studying more than the required hours anyways.

The very real side of Greek life, was I had entered a community where I instantly had support. I could go to the library, and I could find someone I knew to help me. I could go to our house and have someone just to spend time with. I had girls I could text at any point in the day for anything. That became really important for me, as I joined at the same time as I was going through very rough times. They didn’t ever ask me to talk about what I was going through, but they made sure I knew that they were there for me. They will be there through the good, the bad, the ugly, the funny, and everything between. I promise you, I could message any of my sisters right now asking for help and they would respond asking what I needed.

Joining a sorority meant that I had a family. I saw these girls three times a week at least, I started making friends instantly. No, you are not going to be best friends with all 50 girls. There is a chance you won’t like everyone in the chapter. But you don’t have to. It is hard to get 50 girls together and like every single one of them. I love all of my sisters, but I had girls I was closer with. That is part of why you have Big/Little and families.

It is so much more love than you could imagine. It means that you have someone to be excited for you when you get your dream job, it means having someone to cry with when you had a bad week. It means having sisters, who will always be there for you. Even after you have moved away, they are there for you.

When they say it is not just for college, but for life, they are right. I moved to a new state and took a new job and I was terrified, and then I realized that I was surrounded by some of my sisters, and honestly it was so comforting. It is something that will be with you for the rest of your life, wherever you go. I’m so grateful for that. It is a bond that I share with women across the world, and there is a joyful little leap your heart does when you find out someone is your sister.

~We Live For Each Other~

 

Life · Uncategorized

Anxiety Attacks

Heart rate up, the world seems like it is spinning, breathing is something you have to think about. But this isn’t my fault, I didn’t ask for this. I don’t want to feel like I have lost control of everything. It is darkness that consumes me. Telling me it is okay doesn’t help much either. It can come across as you being annoyed with me.  Actually, it makes it worse for me because then I freak out that I know I should be okay but I can’t be okay, and that I’m upsetting you because I’m not okay when I should be okay. For some people being told it is okay it helps them. I’m not trying to tell you what to do for everyone who deals with this. It is very different for everyone.

Nothing is rational or makes sense, I physically shake, I feel panicked, everything just starts happening at once and I can’t stay still. I can’t tell you when it is going to happen.  I feel angry, I want to lash out. I want to yell and cry and collapse all at the same time. I want to push everyone away from me. I feel like I’m trapped. I want to scream. My chest is tight. I feel the strong need to reach out to someone, anyone. I want to know someone is there, I need to know someone is there. But I also want to yell at someone, I want to fight. I don’t actually want to fight, but out of nowhere there is this sudden anger. It really scares me and makes me panic more. It’s a hard feeling to explain. It’s like there is a battle going on inside of me, and I can feel it happening, but I can’t control what is happening in the fight.

Making contact with someone is something I try to use so that I can’t tell myself everyone hates me. I like to isolate myself. It’s easier for the darkness to convince me that the world is ending if I don’t reach out to someone. (sorry to the people who get the late-night texts and snapchats from me that don’t make any sense, now you know). I want to know that someone, anyone is there. I know I don’t sound like myself in those texts but I’m afraid.

I know that it is hard to imagine not being able to control thoughts. It’s a confusing concept. People always tell me, oh well just stop. Or just choose to be happy. Or oh calm down you are fine. You should have control over your brain, but you don’t. Honestly it is even hard for me when I’m not having one. It’s so easy to tell myself that everything is okay, until suddenly it’s not. Suddenly no matter how many times I’ve told myself I’m okay, I’m falling apart and things are spinning. It’s honestly a terrifying feeling. It’s something that people judge me for, that I can’t control it, that I have bad anxiety. It’s something people get annoyed with me for which only makes it that much worse.

It feels like your life has stopped, that it is falling apart, that nothing will ever be okay again, that everyone hates you, that you did this to yourself, that it’s your fault. Its not your fault, and things do eventually look better, not everyone hates you. But that doesn’t matter in that moment. It all feels so real. It is terrifying to go through, it is really really hard. For people who don’t live it, it is hard to understand just how bad it is. People treat me like I am crazy when I try to explain it to them.

A few nights ago this happened. From midnight till around 3:30-4am, I was awake. I tossed and turned, got up, walked around. Things that helped- piano music, hot tea, a thick blanket. You know how they make thunder jackets for dogs? It’s the same idea. Being wrapped up in something, preferably something that’s weighted makes me feel safe. Making contact with someone, that way I can prove I’m not alone. I know that after the storm, is the calm. Once the calm hits me physically I start to relax some, the tension and nervous energy starts to fade away. I try to talk through what is happening with close friends so that they can talk me through it. It helps a lot sometimes. I know it is hard for them, because they feel like they aren’t doing anything, but it helps more than they could imagine. I try to feel safe, that’s what the blanket helps, so does my dog. Sometimes I just hold him and cry, and I think he knows I need him to just be there.

From the outside, I know that it isn’t easy for people to watch me go through these kinds of things. I know it is scary and frustrating. Trust me when I say I will be okay. This happens, it is a part of my life. Everyone has different battles to fight and this is one of mine. I know that.

I am okay, I will be okay, and it will be okay. I am not crazy. I am not a worse person because of this. I’m still me. I have said it before and I will say it again, be patient with me.

Disclaimer: I can’t tell you step by step what to do to fix anxiety attacks, or how to avoid them, or anything like that. I can’t tell you what each person is going to experience because everyone is different. I can tell you my experiences with them, what helps, and what it feels like. Some people were probably uncomfortable reading this and I know that. This was written in large part during bad anxiety, before during and after. This is so that the thoughts were as real as possible, which probably freaked some of you out. But maybe, just maybe this helps someone.

Life · Uncategorized

What I Wish I Knew In High School

Dear High School Me,

Soon you will be in college and you will be able to wear pajamas to class and it will be the best thing. It really doesn’t matter what you wear to school. It doesn’t matter who you eat lunch with. It doesn’t matter what club or team you are a part of. It doesn’t matter how many times you are in the yearbook. It doesn’t matter what you wore to homecoming. Ten years from now, everything you did in high school will be on your timehop and you will laugh.

Spend less time focusing on who you think you need to be and who other people tell you to be. Be who you want to be. I know every time you hear that you roll your eyes, but it is true. It always seemed silly when you heard the be you and people will love you for it. People may not love who you are, but that’s also okay. Not everyone needs to like you. What other kids said about you and to you seemed so important, but it wasn’t. I don’t even know what most of those kids are doing now.

I let what everyone said about me get to me, I still think about things that were said about me or to me. I’ll be the first one to tell you, there were a lot of negative things. Kids seem to think it’s cool to be mean. It’s not. I wish I had just let myself be happy with who I was. I wish I hadn’t let all the insecurities stop be from doing things I wanted to be doing. I spent so much time looking at myself and wondering why I couldn’t be like them.

In reality, most of the time people try to hurt you, so that no one sees that they are also hurt. A lot of the time the bullies are mean to deflect, they don’t know what else to do. It is not your fault that they take it out on you, you have done nothing to deserve it. Don’t blame yourself. I know it won’t just roll off of you, but maybe just keep in mind that they lash out and that is not your fault. I wish I had known that before.

I kept my head down in hallways, I looked away when I knew kids were making fun of me, I kept to myself because it felt like that was the only way to survive. Honestly, high school was awful for me because I didn’t let myself be me. The only place I felt like I was myself was in theater class. I’ll forever be thankful I had that. Find what makes you happy, find what you love. It doesn’t matter what other people say about it.

I get it, driving, first jobs, college tours, all of those things are exciting. Coming from an “adult”, don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. I miss my parents, and my brother, and my extra activities. Trust me, you will get to college and realize how much your parents did for you. You will miss the days where you didn’t have as much to worry about.

But here is the thing in five years what that guy thought of you won’t matter, it won’t matter if you didn’t wake up an hour early to do hair and makeup. It’s not about the drama, the gossip, the clicks, the cat fights, the mean girls, the jocks. What matters, is that you were who you were and you were happy.

Life · Uncategorized

I Don’t Owe You Anything

Dear stranger, I don’t owe you anything. Stop being offended when I don’t respond to a cat call. I’m not a cat. I’m a human, I have a name, and I’m at the gas station to get gas, not to pick up a stranger. Despite what you seem to think.

Don’t upset when I don’t look over at you. You and your friends are not doing me any favors, you are making me super uncomfortable actually. I don’t owe you a conversation, you are not going to get a phone number from me. If you are calling over to random girls, and being creepy, then you are probably not my type. I like guys who actually respect girls, crazy right?

We seem to live in a world that guys think that it is not only acceptable but also cute to be rude to girls. Guys seem to think that if they are paying attention to us it is a gift, it’s not. It’s weird. I’ve been at the gas station twice in the last week and a half where this has happened to me. I’ve had it happen at work where I get so uncomfortable I go to a manager and ask not to work with someone. It is not some high honor to be cat called. It is not an honor for a truck of guys to drive slowly by and yell to get your number. IT IS CREEPY.

I worked with a guy once, who asked me on a date, and I didn’t say yes or no, I told him I wanted to think about it. The next day, two guys I work with asked me how my date was… He went around and told everyone we went on this amazing date, and assumed I wouldn’t find out about it. That lost him the chance I might have given him.

I went on a first date once where he was telling me all about how we would be perfect together, and how cute I was, and how he wanted to see me every single day that week. When he found out I worked and had plans with my best friend, he freaked out on me. He went off yelling about how he needed to see me, he would text me about how he missed me and needed to see me, and how if he didn’t he would be depressed. He wouldn’t have any form of conversation that wasn’t “you are so cute, I miss you when can I see you”. It’s a little scary honestly. We had one dinner and all of a sudden you think you can decide who I spend time with, and don’t want me spending time with friends? And then you yell at me when I tell you I am too busy to see anyone right now.

What girls want, is to be respected. What girls want is to be comfortable with someone. When I get dressed up, I’m not asking you for anything- I want to feel good about myself for me, not you. What girls want is to be able to go places alone and feel safe. I shouldn’t feel the need to have a guy with me or travel in groups. I know guys think it is flattering but it’s really not. There is such a huge difference between flirting and being creepy…

Here is the thing, if a guy makes me feel uncomfortable I am going to want to get away from the situation as quickly as possible. That is not going to get him any closer to talking to me.

Dudes, for the sanity of every girl on the planet, please stop being like this. We want to feel respected and appreciated. We want to feel safe. I’m sure there are some girls who will respond to cat calls and whistling at a gas station, but majority of us don’t. Don’t roll your window down at a red light to try to talk to me. Just be mindful of what could come across as what makes a girl feel unsafe.

It might not be your intention, but we live in a world that bad things happen in. We live in a world where girls feel unsafe so much of the time. I’ve honestly thought about buying a fake ring to wear certain places because it can be so bad. I shouldn’t want to wear a fake ring. I shouldn’t feel like I need to create a fake boyfriend in a situation. If I am not interested in you, then stop. It’s not a shot at your pride or whatever, maybe I’m talking to someone already, maybe I’m not dating, maybe I’m more focused on school and work, whatever the reason is just accept it.

I’m not sure why guys seem to think I owe them the time of day, but I don’t. No girl does. Trust me, we talk to our friends later about how creepy it was, how uncomfortable we were, and we send screenshots of your creepy messages to other girls too. I’m sorry if this offends any of you reading this, but as a PSA stop being creepy.

Guys, if you are reading this and are not offended, then it is probably not directed at you. I know guys who hate this as much as I do, there are good guys in the world. There are plenty of respectful guys. I’m not talking to those guys right now, it’s the other ones.

There seems to be this thing in our culture that makes this okay. Like somehow it should be some accomplishment if a guy does this. Guys seem to think that if we don’t respond or are not interested that it is okay to blame the girl and make her feel guilty.

Stop making girls feel unsafe. Stop giving us reasons to feel like this. It is not our fault. I have absolutely no responsibility to make you feel good about yourself by responding to you. I have no responsibility to you at all. It is not my job to make you feel good about yourself.

Life · Uncategorized

I Wish I Was _____

Comparison is kinda pressures sister. We compare ourselves to others and then we feel like there is this pressure to be perfect. I wish I was pretty like them. I wish I had cute cloths like them. I wish I was happy like them. I wish I had a relationship like them….

It’s so easy to look at everyone’s lives and tell yourself you are failing. I look at other people all the time and wish I had their job, or house, or life. I compare myself to what I see on Facebook. I hate it.

It makes me feel so much worse about my life. I feel like I am failing, I’m going back to college, but everyone else graduated. I see everyone on facebook posting about having their dream jobs, and finishing their masters, and all the graduation photos. I have quit two jobs in the last year, I’ve failed out of two colleges, and I’ve heavily debated dropping out again. I live in yoga pants, and half the time I don’t wear makeup and my hair is full of dry shampoo. But then you see the girls post their selfies “day off” or “natural”…

I see people who are so happy with their jobs, but they are not jobs I would ever be happy with, so why am I beating myself up over not having it? All of us are at different points of our lives. My roommate tells me all the time that I can’t compare myself to where anyone else is because my journey is different. He also tells me that someone probably looks at my life and compares themselves to me.

It’s not easy, especially with the social media world we live in. Everyone is posting to try to make themselves look their best. People really only put the best of everything on Facebook and Instagram. There is that pressure I talked about in my last post. I know I’ve been guilty of this, on days I feel horrible I will post photos I think are cute, hoping to get validation. We want affirmation, we want praise, we want people to think we have everything together.

I would much rather post an edited photo from a photoshoot, than a photo of me in my t-shirt and baseball cap that I’m actually wearing. I see the candid’s people post of them laughing surrounded by flowers, and any candid’s people have my eyes are half closed and I’m making a weird face.

HAHAHA~ Let’s be totally real. We put on a show for Instagram and Facebook about how we are perfect and happy and love everything. Everyone is struggling, and everyone has things to work through. But we don’t post about those things.

My point is, no one is perfect, no matter what we try to convince everyone else. Don’t hate yourself because you don’t have the life someone on Facebook has. Don’t hate yourself because you don’t look like that girl from Instagram.

It takes someone from the outside looking in sometimes to tell me that I am doing okay. It’s hard to convince myself that, but I need to stop beating myself up over not being in the place someone else is.

Every single one of us has a unique journey. We all have different paths to take. I might not be where I want to be, but I’m working to get there and that’s all I can expect of myself. I don’t want someone to look at my life and want it. I want them to love their own life. You are beautiful, and wonderful, and have no reason to want any other life. No one is happy all the time. Be happy with who you are. I’m learning to be okay with where I am, because I am not anyone else. I am me. You need to be you. You need to be happy with who you are.

Life · Uncategorized

The Pressure to be____

The pressure to be in shape, the pressure to be flawless in photos, the pressure to have a perfect job, the pressure to be popular, the pressure to have makeup on and cute clothes, the pressure to be happy, the pressure to be perfect.

There are a lot of things that I would go back and tell younger Mary. One of the most important things is, be yourself.  I always thought I was good at that, but the more I grow and discover, the more I realize I was living how I thought I should. What I wore, how I acted, what I looked like- I was so self-conscious! I thought there was so much pressure on what I looked like. Really the pressure was something I made up in my head, and I think a lot of other people do too.

To be completely real, I still find myself scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest looking at all of these people who look perfect, and seem to have perfect lives. I want that. I want to look like that. But what I should want, is to be comfortable and happy. I walk by the magazines and want to look like that too. I see the advertisements about how buying this product will somehow make you better or more desirable. Who really cares??

One thing I have been thinking about a lot is the pressure we put on ourselves. I think it is easy to get so caught up in what we think people expect from us. Everyone is so worried about what other people think of them, they don’t realize that everyone is too worried about what people think of them to notice anything. It’s kind of like a circle, that just goes around and around. I am always hard on myself about things that no one notices, or cares about. I worry about people seeing me with my hair up, or my makeup not done, or when I don’t look my best.

That’s not what people care about, and if they do, they are not the kind of people you want around you. No one expects you to be perfect. I promise, you are much harder on yourself than you need to be. You are such a gift, you are beautiful and wonderful. Don’t lose who you are trying to be someone else.

We get so caught up in the pressure of what we feel like we have to do, that we stop living how we want to. We so often forfeit our own happiness so that we fit what we think society wants from us. We make ourselves so unhappy. If I am happy in a dress, great. If I am in yoga pants and a hoodie three sizes too big for me with my hair pulled out of my face, I should be just as happy.

Happy is important, happy is beautiful, and trying to be just like someone else isn’t worth it. Don’t beat yourself up because you aren’t like that girl in the magazine. All of us are stressed out, all of us have a million things to worry about, and all of us make mistakes. Love yourself, an everyone around you.

Don’t let someone else tell you what you should look like. You don’t have to be like everyone else, you are you. There is so much beauty in that. Don’t let some photo or article tell you who you should be.

 

Life · Uncategorized

I Am Very Busy.

I am so don’t be offended. This doesn’t mean I don’t love you. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hang out, or help you with a project or event. Trust me, I would love to say yes to everything… I just can’t. I can’t make everyone happy. I am very busy.

I have two jobs that I work every week, not to mention a third job I keep as well. Sure, I’m usually only at the third job once every month or so, but it’s still something that I have going on. Not only that, I’m training in two of my jobs, and they are both in different fields. I’m also a full-time student, being online doesn’t mean I have less work than someone on campus. I actually have more work, because my attendance each day is an assignment or a post I have to make. Showing up and listening to a lecture isn’t something that happens for me. But wait there’s more, I also have a dog.  If you think it’s not important for me to have time with my dog, then you’ve never owned one. I am a normal human, so I have to do laundry, dishes, and all of the other chores that I can’t afford to pay someone to do. (but hey, if anyone wants to help me clean in exchange for cookies, let a girl know).

The thing is, when I say I’m very busy I’m not blowing you off. I’m actually really busy. Most weeks I struggle to get everything I need to do done, not to mention everything everyone else needs from me. Being busy is nice for me, but that’s because I enjoy having things to do, that way I don’t feel like my days are wasted. But Dear God there is a difference between being busy and getting things done, and being so stressed out that I sit in my car for twenty mins and cry.

I’m very busy doesn’t mean “I don’t want to do that”. It means I don’t even know how to do everything I am already doing. No, I don’t have time to go shopping. No, I don’t have time to go to the movies right now. Eventually things will calm down and I will. But especially in the world we live in, everyone is busy.

I’m will do my best to make everyone happy, but the thing is if I make everyone else happy then I am completely miserable. I’m going to burn myself out if I keep everyone happy. I am very busy, and I am not here to make you happy.

If I forget about my own happiness, I get more stressed out. Please understand, I want to say yes to everyone. I want to be able to be there for everyone. I want to be able to do everything. But I can’t. I am only human. I am a human who has a lot of things going on already. It’s not that I don’t want to help you, but I can’t.

I am very busy, maybe I’m a little too busy, but you are too.