big regrets, small victories

back in my first semester of college, i joined a pan-asian interest sorority. kappa phi lambda has changed my life in the most unimaginable ways. i gained so many experiences and was able to grow as a person because of what this organization has given me. my closest friends, a big sister who shaped me, and finally a little sister to call my own – i’ve been blessed beyond measure.

i’d had conflicted feelings about the sorority in the past. although i worked so hard to become a kappa, when i finally became a sister i hit a very rough patch in my life and associated a lot of those misfortunes with kappas. i became bitter, and let that dictate my relationships, as well. as time passed i felt ashamed, like i could have been a better sister, a better little, and a better friend. at the time i felt so much was robbed from me – and i became resentful. i couldn’t admit that what kept me away was my shame.

so what is stronger than shame? regret.

when my big sister passed away suddenly, i was shaken. i was forced to come face to face with all the things i hadn’t been willing to admit. regrets welled up one by one, but they couldn’t be washed away by my tears. so many unspoken apologies, so much gratitude that was never conveyed, and so many adventures that were missed. taking for granted that i could always just fix it later left me with such a insurmountable amount of grief, i didn’t know how to handle it.

the worst was probably that i didn’t feel i had the right to feel the grief that was consuming me. did i deserve to mourn over my big who i had let go of for so many years? did i deserve to cry at losing her when i was such a disappointment? i dwelled in those thoughts for months and months, feeling it weigh down on me.

something that i read once really struck me and it was “your grief doesn’t get smaller. instead, you grow around it.” those words lit a fire in me, and i realized that the only way to make it up to my late big was to become better. i may have been a disappointment while she was alive, but i would not dishonor her in death.

the one thing my big always asked me was “when are you going to pick up a little?” to which i always scoffed at. i still wonder today how much that broke her heart. i decided that it was time for me to give back and pay it forward. i wanted to give all the love that my big gave me to someone. i became more involved with the sorority, started playing an active role in the chapter, and began the search for my future little.

and it was damn hard. fighting my embarrassment and pride was one of the most difficult challenges i’ve ever had. it’s so hard to come back to something that you felt hurt about, and i now feel proud that i was able to do it. in the three years that i’ve come back, i repaired relationships, made new friends, strengthened already existing bonds, and started to feel like i was finally paying my dues. i began to feel like i had the right to mourn my big, that i could still make her proud. and some closure began to settle over me. i really was growing around my grief.

so here we are. i’m in this place where i cherish kappas, and have so much i want to give back – to the chapter and sorority as a whole. most of all, i now have a little. and let me tell you, she was worth the wait. finally picking up a little after ten years feels surreal. i can finally be a part of the legacy that my big started, and hopefully continue living my life in a way that honors her.

while my regrets have not diminished, i do feel like i’m becoming worthy of my big and her memory. my little, who i affectionately call “small” has made me so proud already. she’s passionate, kind, and makes me want to be an even better person. i can already tell that she’ll go far as a sister, and that she’ll take good care of the chapter that my big started. and so, without further ado, i’m beyond ecstatic to introduce my little, siLvermoon. Xx

dear biggie,

i finally did it, i got a little. i wish so much you could meet her, i think you two would get along so well. i can almost hear you saying “bout time, little!” i’m sorry it took me so long, but i hope that you’re proud of me. i love and miss you every day.

love, deMILO

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