Mailbag: Will Being In A Sorority Give Me An Eating Disorder?

Eating Disorder

Hey girl(s), I’m an incoming freshman and I’m hoping to rush a sorority at my university. I’ve dealt with an eating disorder for the past year and I’m worried about opening up about my past and thinking that I’m not pretty/ skinny enough to be apart of a sorority. In addition to that, will the culture and stress of being Greek make me relapse? Have you or anyone you know have had gone through a similar past and/or have any tips to get through my insecurities?

Thanks a bunch!

Hi there unnamed friend,

First, I want to take a moment to say how proud of you I am. For choosing to put yourself out there and go Greek, for seeking guidance, and most importantly, for having battled something so difficult, and walking away from it. You’ve been on a hell of a journey and made it out, and for that I am eternally impressed with you.

And unfortunately, I can completely relate to you.

As a woman who battled with anorexia and bulimia growing up, I know how hard it can be. Your struggle to be “thin enough” is all encompassing. You’re constantly counting, constantly weighing, and constantly wanting to be better. Thinner. Happier. And then one day, it happens. Maybe it was thanks to therapy, maybe it was thanks to a friend, or maybe it was thanks to you. Maybe you found the strength from a place inside of yourself and moved on. Once the fog has cleared and you overcame your disorder, however, the doubts linger. Even though you’re “healthy,” sometimes you panic when you think you’re gaining weight again. When the topic of diets, calories, or food comes up, you still sometimes get anxious. You’re over your disorder, but it will always be a part of you.

So walking into an environment that seems to be all about looks can seem like a big mistake. I thought it might be too. I had heard the stories: they’ll make you sit on a washing machine and circle the fat, they’ll make you feel bad if you gain weight, they’ll keep track of how often you go to the gym and they only eat kale.

It’s all bullshit.

Upon walking into my house after Bid Day, I learned that my “sisters” were normal girls just like me. And they weren’t like me. Everyone was different and diverse and on their own personal journeys it was amazing. They came in all shapes and sizes. There were blondes, brunettes, and redheads. Some had piercings and some looked the stereotype. Some had a face full of makeup and some never put it on. Sure, they were beautiful, but not just in the conventional way.

Still, I was worried. It wasn’t until a sisterhood activity that my past came out. It a moment of strength, I shared my story, and much to my astonishment, I was greeted with an outpour of love. No only were girls telling me how proud they were of me, and how much they loved me, but my sisters who had suffered from disorders came forward as well. I learned that I wasn’t alone. That I didn’t have to fight it by myself anymore.

I’m not going to lie to you. Greek life is filled with beautiful people. College is filled with beautiful people. And statistically, there might even be girls in your chapter with disorders. There will always be someone “prettier,” someone thinner, someone more or less of what you want to be. But you have to realize that the girls you run home to will be there to support you. No matter the situation you’re faced with in college or beyond, you’re strong enough to fight this disorder forever. Whenever you’re feeling down, concentrate on all of the things that make you wonderful. The things that make you proud. The things that set you apart from everyone else. These are the things that your sisters will see. Things are the things that will help you find your home.

Image via Shutterstock

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Rachel Varina

(yeahokaywhat) Aspiring to be the next Tina Fey, Rachel spends her free time doing nothing to reach that goal. While judging people based on how they use "they're" vs. "there" on social media, she likes eating buffalo chicken dip, watching other people's Netflix, and wearing sweatpants way more than is socially acceptable.

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