This past weekend, Chi Omega hosted its bi-annual Firesides weekend in Memphis, where we invite the chapter presidents, advisors, and another member of the executive board into town for a weekend of learning, connection, and growth.

Coming into this weekend, I was selfishly so excited simply because I was going to be with many of my best friends. Having virtual relationships with your co-workers and best friends can be tiring at times, and I was ready to get some big hugs and share some big laughs in person.

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The weekend was so life-giving, and I am so proud to work for an organization that does not shy away from talking about the hard stuff-the real stuff.

Our focus this weekend was on mental health and wellness, which is so scary to talk about. In a world inundated with the need to be perfect all of the time, we spent the weekend encouraging our women to not shy away from their imperfections. To admit when things are hard or when they are struggling. And to inspire their members to do the same.

Chi Omega is not here to make our members perfect or to provide perfect programs or perfect houses or anything like that. Rather, we are here to make our women feel known and loved in a  safe place where they can then grow into the best versions of themselves. Not the perfect versions, but the best, real versioimg_4387ns of themselves. I am so grateful to be a part of an organization that cares about our women in an authentic way, and wants them to know that it is okay to not be okay.

Personally, it’s pretty ironic that this weekend was about self-care and mental health, because I had been facing some hardships and sadness coming into the weekend. Our messaging reminded me that I am blessed to be surrounded by women who love me exactly where I am at and will walk with me through whatever it is. They are strong for me when I am weak, and they love me when I feel unlovable. I was reminded of that truth this weekend.

Rather than run from the inevitability of life’s tragedies, we are invited to face them, head-on, with hope. We can even begin to call things what they are–rather than what we wish them to be. ~Tullian Tchividjian

Our keynote speaker this weekend was a man named Dennis Gillan, a mental health motivational speaker, who has been through multiple tragedies in his own life. Instead of choosing to be defeated, he has used his suffering for good, and now travels speaking to groups of people across the country who need to hear his message.

Dennis took our Chi Omega Symphony and made me think about it in a way I never had before. In our Symphony, it reads to be womanly always, to be discouraged never. And Dennis urged us to flip that last thought and instead, think of being encouraged forever

Due to my relationships in Chi Omega, I truly am, encouraged forever. Our leaders have the purest intentions and the biggest hearts for each and every one of our 300,000 members. From the National President to the freshman new member, I am consistently inspired by what we are doing and how our women support one another. I am encouraged forever by the fact that Chi Omega never asks me to be someone that I am not. We want our women to come as they are, and we promise to love them, no matter where they are at.

Here’s to every Chi Omega woman who leaves me encouraged, forever.

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