If I had to pick one of my favorite things about being in college, it would definitely be my sorority. I really, really love it. I feel pride and happiness when I get to say, “I’m a [redacted].” Unfortunately, I don’t feel like the majority of the girls in my house feel proud or happy that I am allowed to utter that sentence. Don’t get me wrong; my pledge class is the best. Unlike many pledge classes, we actually all get along and they have been very accepting of me despite the fact that I am a year older than the majority of them. (I rushed as a sophomore.) The pledge classes above me, however, has never given me the time of day. To be honest, I’m not quite sure if most of them know I exist. But the ones who do definitely don’t act like it–even my big.
Before you jump to conclusions, no, I am not a loser, a freak, a prude, or a crazy drunk. Seriously, I am normal. I’m an A student, but I don’t spend every minute doing homework or studying. There are few things that I value more than friendship–I have a lot of friends both in my pledge class and outside of my sorority. I go out and have fun (yes, I drink) but I have never been sent to standards for being a sloppy mess. I’ve never hooked up with anyone’s boyfriend or crush. I have been dating my boyfriend since high school, and no, I’m not one of those annoying girls who spends every second with her man. We go to different schools. I am definitely not bitchy, stuck up, or judgmental. I have a job, I work hard, and my parents don’t pay for everything. I do answer to the big man upstairs, but I don’t push my religious views onto anyone.
So why do I feel like many of the older girls in my chapter think of me as an embarrassment to the house? Why am I not in one single picture on our chapter’s Tumblr page or Instagram account? Why do I have a feeling that my name will appear on the list of girls who will sit in the basement during recruitment stalking Facebook profiles instead of chatting with PNMs?
The answer: I’m overweight.
Again, do not jump to conclusions. I’m not obese and most people wouldn’t label me “fat.” To give you an idea, I am about 15 or 20 pounds heavier than what I would like to be. The past two years have been extremely tough on me emotionally due to family issues and school stress, so I gained weight. Of course, this upsets me. No one wants to be overweight. However, it’s not the being overweight issue that makes me feel ashamed; it’s the way that many of my own sisters treat me (or don’t treat me) because of it.
I know that there will definitely be people who read this article and think, “There is no way that that’s the reason some girls don’t seem to like her. There has to be some other explanation.” Don’t you think I wish there was some other reason This would be so much easier for me to deal with if I was hard to get along with, was a perpetual liar, had the most obnoxious voice on the planet, or something like that–but that isn’t the case. I’ve gotten the judgmental stares. I’ve overheard a few comments. “Yeah, she’s put on a few pounds.” Or, even better, one girl in the pledge class above me saw me at the rec one day and actually said, “Oh, hey, I didn’t know you work out.” And then there are the girls who ignore me. They were the ones who “oohed” and “aahed” at the beautiful, thin, perfectly put together girls in my pledge class as they fought over them when it was time to pick littles. They are the ones who didn’t go out of their way to welcome me into the chapter, get to know me, or acknowledge me when they see me out or on campus.
I know there are some more people reading this going, “Okay, relax dude. You got into the house for a reason, so clearly people like you.” Yes, true, I got a bid for a reason. My chapter is exactly where I belong. Obviously, there are girls in my house who don’t treat me this way, and I absolutely love them for that.
I did not write this article for a pity party. I don’t need our publicity chair to post a solo shot of me on one of our social media sites to make me feel beautiful. I know that I am a beautiful person, both inside and out, regardless of the number on the scale. Instead, I wrote this article for any sorority woman out there who has ever judged one of her own sisters for her weight. This is your wake up call.
I have always preferred to be positive and look at the bigger picture in life. I know that the girls who didn’t take the time to get to know me just because of my weight aren’t girls I want to be friends with anyway. Gaining weight is a part of life, and I will hit the gym and lose it–no big deal. But what about those girls who are more sensitive to mean comments than I am? What about the girls who don’t have supportive friends or a great guy in their life to tell them they are beautiful no matter what? What about the girls who are secretly struggling with eating disorders, depression, or something equally as serious? What about them?
She WILL notice when you stare at her–she put that tank top on this morning, so she’s well aware of the fact it fits a little tighter than it used to. She WILL feel your judging her when you watch her eat that second cookie, and she WILL hear about the comment you made about it. (News flash, people: you can’t expect to live in a house with 50 or more girls and never have someone overhear your conversation or not have another girl go behind your back and repeat what you said.) The bad part is that you have NO IDEA how it will affect her. You’ve heard the moral of this story before. Until you walk a mile in her shoes, you can’t judge her. Life, especially during the college years, can be really hard. Cut each other some slack.
You don’t have to like every girl in your house, but that doesn’t mean you get to be rude. Stop judging and making bitchy comments. Compliment your sisters and be encouraging. If you notice that she has lost a few pounds, tell her she looks great. Go with her if you see her leaving for the rec or going outside for a run. This also applies outside the realm of weight loss. If you see a sister dressed up today, tell her she looks cute. Be supportive. Be there for each other. Be the kind of sister you are supposed to be.