“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” – Richard Bach

In the course of a week, my life has changed. I’m used to changes. I’ve been through a lot of changes. But never a change like this. Never a change so good. So rapid and uplifting. So strong and sure. So right. I know there are a lot of people out there who have experienced a similar change. I know that there are a lot who really don’t believe the power of this change. I didn’t. I never thought that joining a sorority would have this kind of impact on me. On my life. On who I am and who I want to be, on what I expect of myself and what I see in others. It’s incredible. There’s no denying that this was a great choice, that this was the right choice.

The past few years, I’ve learned to depend on myself. I have grown accustomed to being let down. I have learned how to deal with hurt. And ultimately, I’ve depended on myself for happiness, for validation, for everything. I’ve allowed myself to remain distanced, and no person has taken the initiative to reach out, to disprove all my fears and interpretations. I’ve done really well on my own, all things considered. But–I was alone. Not literally, of course. But I felt alone. I believed that I was alone. I lacked trust, I could not expect things of others, if I had a problem then I knew it was my problem and my problem alone. I was by myself to undergo the stressful situations, to bear the hurt that so many had caused, to repair my fractured being. Don’t get me wrong, I had some great friends. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. But I was at a point in my life where even they could not offer comfort. I had isolated myself based on the idea that that was where I should be…that was where I stood.

I spent years like that, feeling I was alone, feeling lost, feeling like a simple mistake would send my flailing to the floor. I spent years lacking support, lacking security, lacking comfort and confidence. Oftentimes, I hid it well. Few could tell then that there was so much wrong. I’m sure as my life progresses, they will be able to tell the difference between now–when I am happy–and then. Do you know how incredible it feels when, after years of that, someone says you aren’t alone? Not only in a passing moment, but frequently. Not just one person, but dozens of sisters. In a decision that terrified me, I have found a family. I have found stability and security. I have found welcome arms. I have found what I’ve been looking for. And this is monumental. Yea, I did well when I was on my own. But now? Now I can do so much more. Now I have the courage to truly express what is on my mind–even if the controversy is great. I am capable of accepting that there are going to be people that don’t like me, because I have so many people that love me. And I am capable now of doing things I could’ve never done before. I have confidence, I have strength, and I have support.

And this…this is a leap in the right direction. This is not a new leaf, but a new tree. I kept the fragile branches, the burdened trunk alive through the perilous struggles, and now I have the opportunity to flourish, to grow, and to become someone I want to be.

I’m happy.

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“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” – Richard Bach

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