This comes from my personal experience pledging the sororities at SMSU, Springfield, MO circa 1986.
Part of our plebe requirements after pledging was to memorize the names and birthplaces of all those sisters above us and to recite them, along with details of their preferences, and whatever else they felt should be important to us, for the privilege of belonging to their group consensus. Shortly after winning my entrance, I lost interest completely.
I didn’t last long once ‘Activated’ in Alpha Sigma Alpha, not surprising. I was sucked in nonetheless for another year in these ritual phases until I refused to perpetuate these abuses onto the new coming plebs, and ultimately perhaps just to record them in my own small way now in the later years of my life.
My ‘big sister’ aka ‘sponsor’ had died in a drunk driving accident during my apprenticeship . It was this tragedy that gave me mercy among the rest of the disapproving sisterhood. You see, I’d given the horrid affront of not assuming appropriate position in appropriate hour with appropriate humility, and therefore, I must suffer. I was grilled like a pale shrimp on the Barbie (bad pun intended).
It was the candle vigil, dressed in white, yes, it’s really like that, just like you see in the movies. And I was grilled. It was ‘fair’ for some, not for others, who stood up for me, and won. I was relieved. That’s how Stockholm Syndrome works. I lived in ‘the house’ as a pleb, and that’s how it works. Good cops/bad cops.
There is no time-space. These memories come to me as current, right now, right here. This is not a blessing. Since the last weather disaster this spring, these memories just come, beyond my reasoning or control.
Just maybe, it’s some sort of karma. And I’m not afraid anymore. And I pity those who are still afraid, sometimes very sincerely, sometimes with a sense of sorry superiority that haunts me in the middle of the night.
I do know better now. I am not that naive girl anymore. I’ve made choices and braved chasms beyond these putrid machinations. I’m not proud for that, I did it mostly of necessity. But I know, because of it, we will reside in different worlds, and will remain so, for the rest of our short lives.
You needed me to conform. I get that. I don’t shame you for it.
But, still, I do resent you for it. Though I’m very sure you couldn’t give a rat’s arse either way.