Throughout recruitment at the beginning of the semester, I was just a bundle of nerves. There was a part of me that was excited because I never envisioned myself in a sorority, but I wanted to try something new. The other part of me was nervous that I would say the wrong thing and not complete recruitment or receive a bid.
With that, I did hide an important part of myself during the whole process. Of course, I talked about why I joined a sorority, my college experience so far (the positives and negatives), and the basic information about me you could find on my Facebook and Instagram. I never mentioned to anyone that part of the reason why I was rushing is because I haven't found my place yet on campus and I'm still trying to adjust to life away from home.
The main reason why I was having problems adjusting was because of my sexual orientation. In October 2016, I came out as pansexual. For the most part, a majority of people accepted me for who I am and was happy I felt free to be myself.
However, as expected, some did not have the same positive reaction. Many people who vocalized some negative thoughts/feelings had believed that I would suddenly be attracted to them (even when they are not my type), did not understand pansexuality and did not bother to try to understand, and/or believed I had contracted AIDS and would infect everyone. I have also run into troubles when it comes to dating as some people believe since I am pansexual, I am more prone to cheating on someone.
When I got to college, I became afraid of what people might think of me for being so open about my sexuality. I decided I wouldn't really tell people unless it seemed safe or I felt the need to. I tried attending queer student events on campus, but I always felt like people would stare at me like a caged animal at the zoo.
For those reasons, I didn't tell anyone about who I really was. I was afraid of being rejected and not having a chance to get into a sorority just off my sexuality. I thought some of the girls and my potential sisters would shy away from me and I just wouldn't fit in anywhere.
I guess my plan worked since I received a bid from Alpha Xi Delta. I was beyond excited to finally make new friends and be a part of something new, to finally start over and get involved on campus. However, I now felt the need to tell people since I was going to become a sister.
For weeks, I didn't tell anyone except a few of the already initiated sisters just to test out the waters. I didn't want to be labeled the "weird one," so depending on how often I saw someone and the closer I felt to them, the more comfortable I felt with telling them.
Then, at a new member meeting, I had the opportunity to tell my soon-to-be sisters that I am pansexual. We did one of those activities where you realize you never know what struggles others might be facing and the importance of treating others with kindness and love. I was terrified when the words "I'm pansexual" fell from my lips.
I remember sitting in the huge circle, staring at everyone, and just shaking. I had no idea how these girls, some complete strangers, would react to me. I mean, if those who were close to me freaked out and practically shunned me, how would they react? Regardless, I did come out to my sisters.
The reaction from the girls made me feel so much relief though. For the first time, I didn't feel the need to hide who I am. These girls didn't reject me or talk to me any less. They still treated me as a friend and made me feel important, which is something I never even felt before. I felt like I actually mattered.
I think part of my worry was just because there is a stereotype when it comes to sororities, and for the longest time, I did believe it. Living most of my early childhood in Georgia and Texas, I knew what sorority girls looked like down there. On top of that, being queer and in a sorority was not even a possibility. I was living in constant fear due to my past and negative mindset.
With all of that, I am grateful to be pledging to Alpha Xi Delta. I know this is my home while in college and maybe for the rest of my life. I finally feel like I belong somewhere rather than worrying of being rejected just because of who I am. I am also now allowing more positivity into my life after realizing that I am surrounded by down to earth, kindhearted, genuine girls.
Thank you to my soon-to-be sisters for letting me express myself and loving me for it. I am honest when I say this is the happiest I've been in a very long time.