I went to my sorority reunion this past weekend. I was skeptical to say the least. My sorority, which is actually a fraternity because in 1898 our founding women had the sense to know that they didn’t want to be slaves to the fraternity brothers on their campus so they founded a fraternity instead. I should have focused on this marked detail alone. One of my sisters reached out to me individually to request my presence. She was so kind. And I…I was direct. I thought of excuses, many. But then it occurred to me to speak the truth. I confessed to her that I was intimidated. My life was so different than theirs. No children. No marriage. 9 years with a woman as my partner and now a man. I’m Buddhist and a psychotherapist. And on and on.
A wise friend of mine told me, “Cori, you do not know what their lives have been like. It is 18 years later.” So I stretched myself. I went. And let me tell what was missing. The cutting edge of judgement. Perfect marriages or perfect lives for that matter. They were on second marriages, were raising kids on their own, had been through trauma with their spouses. I was not alone.
Let me tell you what wasn’t missing. Their strength, warmth and the only cutting edge was their sense of humor. Most of my sisters have devoted their lives to either raising kids, or teaching them and many of them both. Three of them are principles. One of a French school and when I said “Karen I’m so impressed, I didn’t know you spoke French. She said, “I don’t.” Let out a big whoop of laughter. And then proceeded to tell me that she sits in on the first grade French class. Ha! Another one of my sisters has turned around one of the top 10 worse schools in Newark. She doesn’t serve sugar in school, has implemented 10 minute meditation every day and yoga twice a week. And it’s working. These women are amazing.
It was a whip quick speed. This one was cackling about her husband, this one is sitting me down to ask what the difference was between men and women was for me and who do I prefer. I will not quote her actual comment. But let me say we laughed for a good 5 minutes. One of my other sisters tells us her blond, blue eyed daughter comes into the house calling her “Brah.”and telling her that she likes her men dark. My sister says, “So! I don’t care. But on second thought maybe you should tell your father when you spend the weekend with him.” As she winks at us. My other sisters’ parting words were, “That’s right, two times a day ladies, if your not getting that then wake the hell up.” We screamed the whole time. I haven’t been that continuously loud probably since the last time I saw them, 18 years ago.
Their warmth enveloped me from my first step into the reunion, as my first sister, Kristen, hugged me and said, “I’ve missed you.” Their warmth enveloped not only my being but my heart as well. You see nothing had changed and everything had changed. They have always been this way. I’m surprised at how wise my younger self was at the age of 18, I somehow do not envision her that way. But I was wrong as I was about so many other things that day. Happily. The only person’s cutting edge judgement I dealt with that day was my own. And I actually think I dealt with it pretty well. I noticed the box I didn’t even know I was in and how important stretching myself out of my comfort zone was and how much joy and contentment that can and has brought me. Thank you sisters for teaching me once again about myself and life.