Last April I co-founded a sorority with a few girls that, then, were people I loved and trusted. I never saw myself joining a sorority, but we all wanted to create an organization that gave girls like us that weren’t too keen on Greek life a sisterhood. A group that you could rely on in times of trouble. A group to have fun with. A group to share your dreams with.
In November, I was suspended for a semester because I started dating Nick–the President-at-the-time’s ex. It was written NOWHERE in the bylaws that this was not allowed, and yet I was suspended anyways, because they called it “unsisterlike conduct” after preaching to all of the pledges that the organization would never dictate who you date. This has nothing to do with third-wave feminists and I certainly don’t blame the movement for this, however, I thought it would be important to mention that there was already some conflict between me and the org.
Fast forward to a month and a half ago. Two semesters worth of new pledges had joined. New blood is always healthy in any organization. We were growing, and it appeared we were happy. I was supposed to be let back into the sorority this coming August. And then, this happened.
The first two pictures are me complaining about aspects in the third wave feminism movement. The next six are my “sisters” subtweeting me because they’re all feminists. Women that I thought were my friends. The ninth picture is the current president messaging me about a meeting.
In this meeting, I was told to delete my Twitter and everything in it or else I would be expelled from the sorority. I simply did not allow that to happen. I would not be silenced for having an opinion. So I left. And I posted the last picture to let my friends and family on Twitter know about my decision.
The Corner Witches were not the only magical practitioners on campus. Located in a vine-covered building on the east side of campus, was one of the Greek Life organizations, ΤΜΠ. One of the sororities. Everyone knew, but didn’t talk, about the mysterious sorority with the lovely girls with silver hair who always looked like they had just gotten out of the pool and who threw parties that no one (or no one human) ever went to. But the members of ΤΜΠ were… different.
Founded in the early 1900s, as a women’s organization, ΤΜΠ expanded to include people of all genders in the late 1970s, making it the only Greek organization on campus that allowed people of any gender to join. That being said, no one really knew how people were invited to ΤΜΠ, other than the fact that it happened at the end of your freshman year. It was whispered, among the people who befriended the sisters (all members, regardless of gender identification or lack thereof, called themselves “sisters” to honor the history of the organization), that people received invitations if they were said to have… unique gifts. English majors who could paint vivid stories with their words that seemed so real that you could picture what they were saying in your mind’s eye, like you were viewing a movie. Musicians who could quiet the crows with a strum of their instruments or with a couple of hummed lyrics. Artists whose art looked like it could almost leap off the page. Sisters often graduated to be well-known artists, musicians, or writers; one of the lead dancers for the New York ballet is a proud ΤΜΠ alum.
The members where quite popular with the Gentry, because of these gifts. While many got taken, almost as many came back, often carrying strange items or precious gems in exchange for their art of choice. The House Mother, it is said, had been Taken eight times total: three times as a student, and five times once she became the official house supervisor after she graduated. It was rumored that the reason why she kept getting Taken, and coming back, was because certain members of both Courts loved to watch her dance. Numbers have power, and everyone wonders what will happen if she gets taken a ninth time.
For the most part, the sisters of ΤΜΠ were as normal as any student could be, at Elsewhere University. They went to their classes, observed the rules and traditions, and interacted with the other students on campus. But on certain nights, on full or new moons, you could see the sisters lining boundaries of the house with thick lines of salt and placing iron charms, sung into shape by a metallurgy major who graduated back in the 1950s, on the windows and doors. What happens on those nights no one outside the sorority knows. Likewise, no one knows how the salt lines and iron charms are taken down almost instantaneously as the sun would rise after those nights. No one bothers to ask. It’s safer that way.
As “normal” as the ΤΜΠ sisters could be, it was universally recognized, but not openly acknowledged, that if you needed help with something, ranging from inspiration for a project to needing a tea blend to help with your headaches to crafting a new iron/silver charm because for some reason yours keeps disappearing, you ask a ΤΜΠ. It would involve a trade of some sort; trades and deals, after all, are the lifeblood of EU. The sisters tended to be very fair in making deals though, unlike their more preternatural counterparts. Sometimes they would do something for free, just because. (Laila, one of the seniors, was particularly fond of just handing out pieces of salt-infused iron jewelry to people, because “I have a feeling that you’ll need it.” – Getting one of their pieces was generally considered to be a mixed omen, because if you were getting something, you probably were going to be in trouble, but people who carried Laila’s jewelry tended to end up alright. No one wanted to know how or why Laila knew that someone would need their jewelry. They just did.) Most times, they would request something simple in return, like a tutoring lesson in math, or even just a cup or two of tea. For more serious things, they would ask for more important things—your favorite flower, or a necklace that had meaning to you. Simply because they were human and less whimsical in nature than the Fair Ones didn’t mean that they couldn’t exact a heavy toll for more intense favors – ten years ago, a student known by the moniker “Robin” had to pay for a serious favor by giving up her voice for a month; from what is understood by people who keep in touch with alumni, Robin will still occasionally fall silent on full moons, and not be able to speak until sunrise.
Ultimately, having a friend who was a ΤΜΠ sister was a pretty fortuitous. The sisters tended to be ridiculouslylucky, perhaps ironically, considering their motto, “Τύχῃ μὴ πίστευε” (“Do not trust fortune”). Moreover, people who befriended ΤΜΠ sisters tended to not only get random gifts but were almost guaranteed to come back from the Other Reals if taken, usually because the sister would disappear for a day or two after they did, and then come back with the friend in tow.
If push came to shove and you were in a jam, you really wanted a ΤΜΠ sister in your corner.
Wow, this is the first bit of creative writing that I’ve done in months. It probably shows, tbh. Most of my writing these days is legal or academic, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for fun and creativity.
I got inspiration for ΤΜΠ from my own sorority, as we were a co-ed, non-traditional sorority, where all of our members, regardless of gender, would call ourselves “sister.” Obviously, there’s a supernatural element to this that my sorority doesn’t have (or does it…?), but this was a fun little tribute to the fun memories that I have with my sisters.