By Kimaya Singh
The hot pink of the Gamma Phi Beta letters stood in stark contrast to the white wall behind it.
It was a late Sunday evening and I had just gotten home from my sorority’s chapter meeting when I found myself staring at the wall that proudly boasted the name of my sorority in letters crafted by my roommate.
As I leaned against my bed, I considered how much I thought I loved those letters- both what they looked like and what they stood for. They were a vibrant pink, drenched in glitter and adorned with silver studs. I remember when I first saw them, I thought about how they were probably the most girly things I had ever seen. I thought about how they deserved a shoutout from TSM. I thought about the sisterhood they represented and the almost sacred bond shared by any girl who owned letters like them.
But then I thought about something that made me kick off my shoes, grab a chair, and reach up to take the letters I loved so dearly off my wall.
The truth? I actually hated them.
Yes, they looked great objectively and I thoroughly appreciated the effort my roommate put into them. But the truth was that I personally hated the way they looked. They were overwhelming, loud, tacky, and obnoxious.
I realized that after receiving the letters, I worked to convince myself that I loved them. They looked bold and strong and represented the love, happiness, and sisterhood that Gamma Phi Beta provided me with. As a freshman and new initiate, it only made sense that I adore them.
However, a year and a half later, I realized that having letters that look bold and strong means nothing if I myself don’t feel that way.
That night, when I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I found myself staring at the blank wall. Instead of seeing the vague contours of “G PHI B” in the darkness however, I saw an endless plane of opportunities.
It was more than a blank wall; it was a blank slate.
I realized that I didn’t need Gamma Phi Beta’s name plastered on my wall to remind me of my affiliation. I didn’t need constant Instagram #WCW shoutouts to my sisters to remind them that I loved them. I didn’t need to wear Gamma Phi apparel for Membership Mondays to show people I’m proud of my sorority.
My love for Gamma Phi grows everyday, but my love for myself does too. And by taking off those letters, I fully realized and embraced the fact that I am a strong and independent woman. Much of that, I owe to my sisters. However, flaunting letters doesn’t just mean you have a group of women that support and help you. Instead, unfortunately, it means that you can be caught in a world filled with prejudice, presumptions, competition, and superficiality.
In those few moments before I went to bed, I made the important realization that even though it sometimes feels like my sorority is everything, it really shouldn’t be.
I came to terms with the fact that while those letters on my wall were a huge part of my life, I made the mistake of thinking they were my entire life.