I believe that I have mentioned this before, but just in case the hot pink and overuse of the word “fabulous” didn’t give me away, I am a sorority girl – or at least I was in college. Three years post graduation, I find myself serving as a chapter advisor for my sorority. Before you start to project any preconceived notions of “sorority girls” onto me – let me explain that my collegiate chapter was not what you typically think of. We absolutely placed community service, scholarship & philanthropy above social activities. The driving force of our chapter was our sisterhood – the genuine bonds between the fifty women I called my sisters.
I have genuinely enjoyed being an advisor this past year. It is nice to be on the “other side” – the “grown-up” side. Unfortunately, my chapter is going through some growing pains right now. Little dramas are sprouting up here and there and myself, as well as the other advisors, have finally been drug into the mix of things.
I visited my chapter last night to listen to their concerns – to get a better sense of what the true problem is. After about an hour of “she did this” and “I feel this”, I realized the source of the problem. W.O.M.E.N – particularly high school and college age women.
Now before any of my more liberal or feminist followers become incredibly offended, let me explain. I am speaking from a purely judgment free place because I was one of those women. And if you’re completely honest, I bet you were too. And you know who I blame? Walt Disney.
That’s right – I blame Disney, Nickelodeon, Hallmark – and every other commercial giant that makes a fortune from telling little girls that she’s a princess and should be treated as such. I mean think about it – how many Disney movies or Nickelodeon shows depict the helpless, beautiful, incredibly spoiled princess who must wait patiently for her knight in shining armor? How many times during my childhood did I pretend to be a damsel in distress waiting for my prince to come and rescue me?
Those childhood fantasies carry into adolescence, you know. We grow to become selfish, manipulative, dreamy-eyed teenagers who bounce from boyfriend to boyfriend looking for “love”. (Again – I was one of these girls – no judgment. As a matter of fact, my group of friends in high school were particularly heinous and manipulative. *Except for you Khristi, of course*)
These selfish, misguided young women then enter college. And in the absence of their parents guiding voices, many only become more confused regarding love and friendship. It truly is difficult to break from that “princess” mentality. It’s hard to put the needs and desires of others above your own needs and desires. It is hard to recognize that the love you so desperately desire will not come barreling through the academic quad on a white shiny horse and he will not profess his love for the whole world to see. It just doesn’t happen that way – and if it does, please – oh please, contact me – because I’m dying to hear about it.
Fortunately, I finally have accepted the fact that my real life love story doesn’t have to read like the pages of a Nicholas Sparks novel. My love story is centered around compromise and forgiveness. My prince shows his love for me through small acts of kindness that only I can truly appreciate: coming home Saturday night with a copy of New Moon – just because it’s my favorite. Going for an ice cream run during a literal monsoon – just so I can shake my sweet craving. Waking up early to make a pot of coffee for my first day at a new job. Be still my beating heart.
So I sat there last night, listening to them, feeling their pain. It can be so frustrating to be so confused, so stuck. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood. Somewhere between dependence and independence. I can see the signs that a few of them are really close to “getting it”. A few of the older girls are starting to realize that what is best for themselves might not be what is best for the whole. Some even recognize that what is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular.
I hope I can be a mentor to those young women the way my advisors mentored me. I want to be a sounding board of reality and honesty for them. While I am not really that much older than them, and I really don’t have that much “real life” experience myself, I have been blessed with many amazing women who set an admirable example for me to follow. Because in the defense of “those” girls – it’s difficult out there. And someone needs to help them figure it out – because Walt Disney certainly won’t.