Friday, August 8, 2014

Frat Boy: Chrissie - Part 2

When I rushed PMA, Chrissie was proud and supportive. At PMA parties she would make sure to introduce me other people and always made sure that I was included on the dance floor, even though I had no idea how to dance at that time.

Chrissie wasn’t in SAI. I remember asking her why she never rushed and she brushed the question off as not a big deal. It just something she wasn’t into. So I was surprised when she rushed SAI that spring and joined.

I was full in. I went to every PMA meeting and almost every event. I dove right into the deep end. Chrissie didn’t.  When she joined spring being her last quarter at college; many other things were on her mind.

I remember questioning her loyalty to the group, when she wasn’t enthusiastic about SAI events. Why join if you are not going to give it your all? So I asked her after coming back from a PMA & SAI joint event why she didn’t show up. Being a freshman, I asked in a callous and judgmental way.

I’ll never forget the look in her eyes as her eyes met mine. It wasn’t that Chrissie was sad but it was that she was worn down. Yes, SAI was fun, but it was more of a undergrad's game. The general plan was that you join as a freshmen, do your major work as a sophomore and junior and then senior year, you watch the fruits of your labor and get to step back. Chrissie was a weird place where undergrads in that organization had seniority as a sister over her. As Chrissie explained all of this and how hard it was sometimes to be in a group but not feel like she was a totally a member, I realized the biggest similarity between us.

Chrissie always seemed like the life of the party. She always had friends around, right? Then why did she choose to live in the most anti-social dorm on campus. Then I remembered how many times I greeted her as she walked alone on campus and how many times I joined her as she sat alone in the cafeteria. Here is a senior girl, hanging out with a freshmen boy. If she was really that central in any social group than she wouldn’t be hanging out with me.

Chrissie and I both didn’t fit in with large groups. We didn’t have groups of friends. We were both searching for this by joining SAI and PMA but I did it earlier in my college career and somehow it worked for me in a way joining SAI didn’t work for Chrissie. Even after being initiated into PMA, that feeling of being on the fringes never left me completely and I think that’s something that Chrissie and me always shared.

I didn’t realize this at the time. I just knew that my friend just didn’t feel like she belonged. It would have been easy for her to walk away from SAI. She didn’t have to follow through with her obligations, but she did.

After four years in PMA, I found myself in the same spot that Chrissie was in the end of her senior year. That feeling of being in the center was no longer there. My time in power had passed and the rest of my life had taken priority. How do you deal with this? You can be dragged out kicking and screaming and complain about how the underclassmen don’t know what they are doing or you can do what Chrissie taught me by her example:

Leave with grace and dignity. Accept the consequences of your actions and accept the hand that life has dealt you. Hold your head up high to those that would tear you down and always leave them with a smile. Dignity doesn’t mean you are a doormat, rather it means that you are never a victim and you never feel sorry for yourself.

In the last couple weeks of the school, Chrissie put away the college clothing and dressed more professionally. She complained less about others and she seemed to walk with a stronger purpose. The confidence that had once intimidated me had transformed into a maturity that impressed me.

Chrissie was my older sister in college and she took care of me. She was proud of whatever accomplishments I managed, no matter how small. I never told her so, but I was proud of her. When I told people in college that she was my friend, I felt like somebody, a person that mattered and as I write about her now, I still do.

No comments:

Post a Comment