Messages in a Bottle #7.2: 525,600 Words

Written at some point prior in May 2018, intended for 5-26-18, my one-year blogiversary. The intro to this post (including why it is so delayed) is here.

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.

525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.

In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

In 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in the life?

How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love. Seasons of

love.

525,600 minutes! 525,000 journeys to plan. 525,600 minutes – how can you measure

the life of a woman or man?

In truths that she learned, or in times that he cried. In bridges he burned, or

the way that she died. (don’t worry, not a tw, despite what the lyric might suggest!)

It’s time now to sing out, though the story never ends

Let’s celebrate remember a year in the life of friends

I had to perform that song as a pledge event for my sorority in college. Pledging unending sisterhood or some such. Does it surprise anyone that I joined a sorority? Honestly, it kind of surprises me, too. I’m also kind of surprised I didn’t fall over while attempting to vaguely “dance.” Undiagnosed Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome explains a lot in hindsight about why I got kicked out of ballet class (and soccer) and hidden away in the back where no one could see me for that college initiation “performance.” But, rush was a thing that was a fairly big event even at my geeky college. I did it as something to do to fit in in a new place, and I was sufficiently mystified when offered a bid that I accepted it partly on some vague grounds of “leadership activities look good for grad school” and partly some deeper, “you mean there might be a school where I’m actually vaguely acceptable for who I am?” I am a very forward planner and easily flattered by simply not being rejected.

It wasn’t by any means one of the stereotypically popular sororities. It was more a glorified interest-based group with Greek letters stamped on it, but it had enough philanthropic activities that it seemed like the leadership activities might even be genuinely worthwhile. It also claimed the highest average GPA among Greek organizations on campus, so that was something on the grad school apps, right? I actually managed to make philanthropy chair for one semester. Thus, there was some leadership to it in the end for those grad-school applications.

But, I can’t say I found my tribe there, and, given I was undiagnosed ADHD and had over-immersed myself in far too many of those “why not” activities that “might look good for grad school later,” I eventually became a bit, erm, “haphazard” in my attendance. I never did anything wrong, but I never much remembered to do anything at all, either. Eventually, the elected council* – I can’t actually remember what they were officially called, which in and of itself tells you how dedicated a sister I was – took me aside and basically said “We like you well enough, but it doesn’t really seem like you are that invested. Would you like to disaffiliate?” I had worked out by that point that sororities were expensive – seriously, membership fees were higher than those “fees” that the universities themselves tack on – and too many events involved formals and socials and other things that actually gave me a pit in my stomach about being on all night. So, I shrugged my shoulders and said yes.

From what I understand, they never actually bothered to disaffiliate me, because I would have had to also do something or sign something, and that would have taken effort from both sides that nobody really had the animosity in parting to commit to. You have to dislike someone a lot to volunteer to do paperwork to officially remove them from something. I got enough “donate now that you are an alumni” mailings the first few years after I graduated to assume that I probably am still a sorority girl, at least on some official list at some headquarters. I’ve also moved enough times that said headquarters likely no longer has any idea how to beg me for money. Inquiring if I truly am an alum at this points seems a) awkward and b) liable to result in more requests for donations of monetary value. I get enough of those calls from the university itself! So, we’ll just say I’m a half-assed sorority girl and leave it at that.

That is a pretty good description of most public affiliations I’ve claimed in my time. I generally complete about a year and then something – moving, stress, or just forgetfulness – eventually makes me stop showing up until such point as I’m a “former” whatever-it-was by default. I have dabbled in group affiliations with roughly the same ADHD style as I’ve dabbled in hobbies: broadly but not deeply.

I even wrote in my first blog post that I was only committing to three months. I’m nothing if not honest about my intentions! However, a year on**, I’m still blogging! Apparently all it takes is the ability to set my own schedule and being able to be “social” in my pajamas! If I had known that in college, I’d have formed the “hang out on AIM*** and sing songs from the comfort of your dorm room” sorority. I could have been founder, president, and probably formed a full-on national movement. Do online sororities exist yet? If so, I generally envy my younger millennial brethren. The world needs the Pi-Gamma sisterhood dearly!

Or is that what WordPress is? The great Panhellenic Council* of people who do generally want friends, but only if they never have to dress for dinner? The fellowship of the socially anxious for whom anything involving the words social is already enough to drive us away?

Thanks for sticking with me for the past year through some rather tumultuous times that put any of my college sorority experiences to shame. And, thanks also for being nice. If you all weren’t such supportive readers, I’m sure I’d have long since abandoned this blog, but instead you all have been warm and helpful and real during some really not awesome times this past year. Here’s hoping you all will stick around for another year, since apparently I’m not going anywhere yet. Thanks everyone!

* I did eventually remember the name of the ruling body of sororities. Look at me! I didn’t even have to Google it.

**Now a year and two months. I’m actually ahead of the game.

*** Yes, I am old enough that AIM was still around when I started college. Facebook also existed. I didn’t realize that for the first few years, though. Thank heavens I was simultaneously too oblivious to become aware of Facebook until after I’d developed just enough confidence to actually join it without developing a complex, but also that I was just old enough and an alumna of one of the earlier schools to be linked into the digital cult such that I also discovered it before it became the be-all and end-all of campus social life and before cyber-bullying became a thing. (Or, maybe it was the be-all and end-all and I was just oblivious enough.) Also, while we’re discussing social media, further thank heavens that I met my Partner before Tinder became a thing! I pity my friends who had to experience that!

Oh, and in case the title wasn’t obvious, I’ve posted 92 blog posts that average about 1,300 words despite my best attempts at brevity. That means I haven’t quite hit half a million words on this blog. I’m still in the 100k range, by my estimates, but I do have hyperactive ADHD. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve probably spoken that many words just in the past week alone. Also, I picked the posts that most amused me in how they fit into the lyrics, not necessarily because they are my best. Make of that as you will, but this blog is about failure after all. (And this post is spot-on average for me at 1370 words. You all are dedicated readers to put up with me!)

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5 thoughts on “Messages in a Bottle #7.2: 525,600 Words

  1. I enjoy our fellowship. I put up with wearing glasses instead of the vision correcting eye drops I’m impatiently awaiting. 👍🏽 Well done and please continue. 💪🏽 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No pressure on you here, but you’re one of my favorite bloggers. I, for one, am glad you’re still clicking away at the keyboard, sharing your journey. And if I’m to be completely honest, yes I was surprised that you were in a sorority, but the ending made perfect sense. Hoping your non-FMLA time is going okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘Easily flattered by simply not being rejected.’ So, so true. I remember those days of desperately wanting to fit in, wanting to belong and never having it work out. It it somewhat satisfying to at least know, for me at least, why that was now that I finally have a diagnosis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. I really wish everyone diagnosed with ADHD got a crash course in our emotions and how we struggle with rejection. It *really* would make life easier to learn it from a psychiatrist instead of to have to learn it all alone, on our own, still blaming ourselves for something wrong with us *personally* since the DSM hasn’t caught up to mentioning emotions in its diagnostic criteria. Not that I was diagnosed until grad school, so it wouldn’t have helped in college, but, hey, it would have still helped a lot in grad school to just be told! (Also would have helped not to have had to have my Partner and I be the ones to initially catch the ADHD ourselves after he read an Atlantic article when years of psychiatrists had missed it entirely because “smart girls can’t have that, right?” But, that’s another complaint for another day…)

      Liked by 2 people

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