• Happy Founders Day AKA: Lessons I’ve Learned As A Pretty Girl

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    akaToday, January 15th, marks the 105th year anniversary for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and I couldn’t be more proud and ecstatic to be a member of the first and finest sorority for African-American collegiate women. Every year as we celebrate our AKAversary, I get the same feeling I did when I was inducted via Gamma Sigma chapter at my beloved HBCU Albany State University four years ago.

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    Before crossing, I remember wanting to be a part of it so badly. I admired the official “pretty girls” and faculty on campus, as they’d strut in their pearls and pink and green and take Ivy pictures. All of the other sororities were phenomenal too, but it was something special about these women that stood out to me. They were trailblazers and their poise alone was enough to steal the show. They were graceful and had a confidence that came across strong without the murmur of one single word.

    When I was inducted Spring ’09, I was overwhelmed with emotion–to the point of tears. I remember being so proud and honored that the same women I admired saw worthy qualities in me, and trusted me to uphold the standard of the sorority. From that point on, while traveling through this sisterhood, I’ve gained a deeper sense of my sorors, as well as women in general.

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    We can work together: Though my line sisters and I all shared AKA as a common interest, we were still individuals coming from significantly different walks of life with very different experiences and points of view. But one thing we shared was the desire to impart change for the betterment of mankind. Even when we had cases of sibling rivalry–some that got pretty intense–we were able to set those differences aside and unite when the time called. When it was time for Habitat for Humanity or the local food drive, the God-given nurturing gift that all women posses was able to conquer ego and we shifted focus to the greater good. We weren’t the stereotypical stubborn, angry, catty chicks society painted us to be. We were women with differences who knew how to embrace them, or agree to disagree in some cases and still join forces to bring productive change.

    Yes, we’re emotional; but we’re logical too: Hanging in these lovely ladies’ company, I was able to observe joy, sorrow, deep pain and the reactions those emotions triggered. It helped me understand why some of us make the decisions we make, and later I was able to apply those same social concepts to encounters with other people. Conversations with my sorors, ranging from trifling boyfriends to dysfunctional family dynamics, taught me that when we as women are hurting, we may not always handle it the best and may even misplace our feelings onto others not responsible. In that, however, I also learned that when we step down from our emotional upsets, we’re able to digest and logically analyze our reactions and how we need to rectify them if necessary.

    To love and be loved is our goal: Firsthand, I’ve seen us crawl in valleys and climb hills to get L-O-V-E! No matter how strong, independent and intelligent we are, at the end of the day we’re still vulnerable beings who want to be validated and adored by somebody. It doesn’t have to be a partner either. As long as we have a constant supportive relationship in our life with unquestionable love–whether from boyfriend, father, mother or soror–we feel safe and can function even in our lowest moments. We’re happiest when that love is present and we’re the best versions of ourselves.

    These simple, but valuable, lessons I learned came way of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc; but I found them to be applicable to all of my sisters and not just my sorors. They were lessons that I already subconsciously knew, but being in the close company of 42 P.E.A.R.L.S over a long period of time broadened my perspective and deepened my understanding of how complex we truly are. There are some differences among the sororities and even the non-Greeks, like our styles of dress or the way we carry ourselves; but outside of that, we’re all women with way more in common than we sometimes think. So on this 15th day of January, as I reflect on my Sisterhood and all of the wonderful experiences it’s granted, I’m most appreciative of its lesson to me that womanhood itself is a sisterhood. We’re bound by our nurturing spirit, our emotions, our intellect, our need to give and receive love and so much more. Our bond as women extends far beyond colors and letters. That realization has made me a better daughter, sister, friend and overall woman, since my days as a pretty girl. Happy AKAversary to all my sorors, and Happy Tuesday with love to all of my sisters!

    Are you an AKA? Are you Greek? How has being in a Sorority bettered you? Share with your fellow beauties.

    Let’s keep in touch. Follow me on Twitter: @VerityReign!

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