I remember through middle school and high school, girls judged each other for changing their clothes, hairstyles, attitudes, or interests.
“Oh my God, have you seen Sarah? She’s been, like, a different person since she’s been hanging out with those girls on the soccer team. She’s so fake.”
Fake. A term we’ve stupidly used to label someone who isn’t the person we’ve always known her to be. If someone used to be shy and now she’s outspoken, she’s fake. If someone used to only wear workout clothes and no makeup and now she sports dresses and heels, she’s fake.
I went through middle school and high school being labeled (innocently, but aggressively) by my friends as the shy, awkward, quiet girl in the group. The one who got make fun of (jokingly, of course) but nonetheless, written off to always be that way. At some points, I just didn’t speak my mind of witty remarks or insightful opinions because I knew I’d just be shot down. To them, I wasn’t supposed to be opinionated. If I was to suddenly become anything other than what I expected, they’d write it off as me being fake.
Going to college and joining a sorority allowed all of this to change. When I walked into that first house full of screaming, beautiful girls, I realized I had a chance. I had the opportunity to show them how I saw myself, not how I had been labeled and assumed to be for so many years. I talked about my interests, my potential, and I even threw in some sarcasm. And it felt natural, like I was supposed to be this person the entire time, and for once, no one was telling me I wasn’t being myself. That being assertive wasn’t being a bitch, it was me being me. It may have been different than what I had always been, but it was far from fake. It was me. The new me. The human species has been evolving for thousands of years, and that’s how we survive. We change and adapt as a means of survival. That is as natural as it gets.
Four years in Greek life gave me the opportunity to be a fundraiser, a leader, a best friend, an intellectual opinion, a role model, a reliable friend, a professional, an outgoing social being, and most of all, a person who can appreciate the process of evolution in every individual’s life.
The next time you see someone acting out of the ordinary, or differently, or not being her usual self, don’t label her as fake. Fake is pretending to be something you don’t feel is right. Evolution is adapting yourself to be comfortable and successful. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you’re living a life you’re happy with and proud of. And all of this can be credited to my favorite quote of all time: “I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”.