The Gift of Women Friendship
by Melissa Donovan d’Arabian
(Alpha Iota, University of Vermont)
I always had a best friend growing up – my implied buddy on school field trips, my confidant over hours of after-dinner phone calls, the perfect partner in my innocent crank-calling boys crimes. But my sorority sisters were my first real adult girlfriends. They got me through my mom dying suddenly, and taught me that women have relationships like no other. We are teammates on this journey of life, not competitors. We cheer when our sisters succeed, seeing their victories as evidence of an abundant world where there is enough success to go around. A sister’s success means I can succeed too. We cry not just in our eyes, but in our hearts when our sisters face disappointment. Alpha Chi was a safe place for this kind of support. And without a mom anymore, I needed that unconditional shoulder both to cry on, and to give me a boost to get a good view of the parade.
Being on and winning The Next Food Network Star and now hosting Ten Dollar Dinners is an extension of my love of connecting with others. I wish I could sit down and have coffee with people all across America, swap war stories, and learn from each others’ experiences. Ten Dollar Dinners gives me the chance to do just that on a large scale. Always in the back of my mind, I am imagining sharing ideas with my girlfriends. What tips would I give my best friends when they go grocery shopping? What amazing deals have I found that I’ve rushed home to jot off in an e-mail to send to fellow moms or ex-colleagues? That’s my sincere wish: connecting with America in the same way my Alpha Chi sisters connected with me twenty years ago. What a gift the bonds of Alpha Chi has given me. Far beyond the boyfriends, dinners out, and formals, Alpha Chi gave me the gift of women friendship. I would have been a lesser colleague, mother, wife and person without it.