Years ago, I had a t-shirt with the Dave Matthews Band “Crash” album cover on it with one small alteration–it was renamed “Crush”. It was for a date party in college. Date party? you ask. Yes, my friends, I was in a sorority. Surprising since I never really was nor really will remain now or in the future “sorority material”. Although 17 years later, I still don’t know what that phrase means. None of us fit that description. Regardless, my undergrad was enormous, and the Greek system was very small, but it didn’t matter whether you joined or not.
Seven of us got together this past weekend in Oregon for a reunion–the trip I mentioned before in a previous post (Ideas Starting to Move) . The one with all the apprehension. Yeah, that one. The trip was nothing short of
awesome fabulous. In hindsight, I need to a) have more faith in myself b) realize that friends that are more than 13 years old know more about me than I realize and c) never wear overalls and bangs again in public.
Through babies, divorces, miscarriages, horrible breakups, job losses and just life, even though we are not always in the loop with one another, it’s easy to fall back in. We remain a safety net, a panel of judges, fashionistas, globetrotters, independent thinkers, idealists, and even realists. I think we all walked away from this past weekend grateful that we remain friends, happy that we have our memories, and pleased that we all have lives we love. It took a trip to another state to realize that I love my life. I bitch and complain sometimes about trivial matters or not feeling like I am where I should be. But I like what I have. I don’t want what others have. And it goes on and on with all of us…
I have three types of friends: old friends that I barely see that knew me in high school or before, college friends, and friends I have met throughout the regular rough and tumble experience of 20-something reality up to the present. I have always valued the latter with the most authentic relationships because we gravitated toward each other in realistic situations, not simulated dorm rooms and lunch halls. But I question this theory now…
Once upon a time, there were 32 of us. We were the pledge class of 1995. We were an anomaly. The class above us fought. The class below us fought. We however, were amazing. All of us had different groups of friends outside the House. We all ended up in various careers, scattered throughout the US and even abroad. But this bond, this forced formality created something that I rarely admit to others–a sisterhood. Something I cannot wrap my head around because I am only a sister, I don’t have one. Sure, I have two awesome sister-in-laws, and a best friend who seems like flesh and blood, and a cousin who was raised nearly exactly like me because our moms are twins. But perhaps this isn’t the same. I think I get it after this weekend.
Sitting around drinking wine, looking at pictures of lost Formal dates and intoxicated smiles with mascots or people I no longer recognize, costumes that are too ridiculous to discuss or mention again, the Freshman 15 in most of our faces, bad haircuts, worse clothes, and the importance that fell on every one of those moments–importance that remains now but hovers over the dining room table where the pictures and memories lay, next to the half-consumed wine glasses, baby bottles, and Tums.
Yes, I have an unexplainable sisterhood that took a trip to Oregon to realize. I love them all. I love their lives. They love mine. We appreciate each other and ourselves and the ability to seriously rock a few major hiking trails with babies and pregnant ladies and serious logs. Like hurling-ourselves-over-them logs. But we did it, together, just like always.
We truly are Bad Mamma Jammas. I will never question old friendships again, or the fear that I have not changed enough. Or that everyone changed without me. Because in reality, with true friends, that will never happen.
So Much to Say–Dave Matthews Band
I’d Cry Like a Baby–Dean Martin
She’s a Bad Mamma Jamma
If You Can Touch Her at All– Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson
Verdi Cries–10,000 Maniacs
I Can’t Stay–The Killers