Friday, February 17, 2012

Book brings back bad memories

Don't we all know a Hilly; an uppity social climber who will stop at nothing to get what she wants, the one that you just want to sink your fingers into and shake silly? In case you're wondering what I'm talking about, I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Hilly is one of the characters in the book. This fictional character touched a nerve in my body and stirred up some old resentment I carried for quite some time.

 I never have been a cliquish person. I'm much more of a free spirit. In high school I flitted around from group to group always leaving my wings spread open; ready for a quick take off if cattiness began. When I started college, I felt compelled to join a sorority because that's what my mother had done. So I followed in her footsteps in the same sorority even though I liked another one better. That only lasted for a year. I transferred from Lamar to Texas A&M and used that opportunity to break away from the Greek life. They hunted me down and wanted me to affiliate, but I didn't. I never could get into all that ritual ceremonial fluff.

Then there's the Junior League. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of nice ladies that I know in the Junior League . But how does that old saying go- too many cooks spoil the broth? I'd like to change it to one bad cook spoils the broth. And that one cook was my Hilly.

This lady person had once told me that people knew to stay away from her.

"You never want to mess with me or you'll be sorry," she'd said.

I'd smiled and taken another sip of coffee, completely unaware that I'd be her next victim a few short months later.

Ugh. It makes me sick to think about it. Thank goodness she moved away, but not before making my life miserable because of a misunderstanding between... our daughters. I'm telling you, she was hell-on-wheels at the teacher's first little mention that her daughter was... bullying mine. Aren't girls like that at the ripe age of five?

"I won't be your friend if you don't give me your dessert," and "you can't color in the art station with us because ___ " (something so trivial I can't even remember).

 Yes, the teacher got way too involved when she shouldn't have. Yes, the mother blamed me (for how dare I tarnish her president-of-the-Junior-League reputation?). And yes, I cried myself to sleep for days. I just knew she was spreading malicious lies about me. Would I ever be able to show my face in public again? I withdrew into a shell for a few years.

My friend Mary who I speak about so often, the one who committed suicide, was the first friend I let into my life after that experience (I had another very special friend but she had moved away). Then Mary died. Back into the shell I went.

I can see how much of a learning experience the whole thing was. It made me stronger, more cautious; wiser, less naive. My faith has grown stronger. I now know that the only one who will never let me down is God. People have free-will, they make mistakes. I can't put too much faith into them, only God. Now I can live my life and let others live theirs.

But this Hilly character, I tell ya. I'd like to wring her neck.



Mary said...

What an awful experience, Laurie. It is so disheartening when one walks into an evil person's web. I am glad you learned something from the experience though and probably won't put yourself into that kind of situation again!

Brian Miller said...

ugh...i could not stand her...and i can not stand those people in real life either...the lol i was waiting on was the that is justice...hahaha

S.E. Ingraham said...

How awful Laurie - it's hard to believe that bullies just keep on plowing through life with so little regard for others ... I just finished "The Help" also and felt that same sense of outrage about "Hilly" - had a smililar occurrence with one of our daughters but it was her that was badly hurt rather than me - still, too many nights crying myself to sleep ... it is hard when life makes you feel like crawling away - glad you've found the strength to live yours!

JeannetteLS said...

I just came here from ds's Master of the Harbor. I know several people who remembered uncomfortable things from Hilly. I avoided much of that, but was a victim of other things. Ugh. I don't like that word, victim, but sometimes it IS the word.

I love how you tell a story. And your honesty while doing it. I am going to enjoy--and probably cry, too--reading more about your life.

(Whose bright idea was it to make us write TWO words to prove we are not robospam? My eyes are TOO OLD)

teri said...

Oh my Laurie- I wander among your blogs this morning- and am amazed at the breadth of what I find. Why are their "Hilly's" in our life? Your story goes that one step further - with the loss of someone to suicide. My thoughts go off the the year I fought to keep a brother from that place... and by the grace of God he is still here and thriving.

But after my "Hilly" I had my best friend move 6 states away and my brother nearly implode and then the tragic death of my 21 year old nephew... I keep my shell is ever so close- I am thankful for your sharing today. Thank you for allowing my ramble here today. Blessings and comfort for that sore shoulder. And other sore places in our hearts. xoxox teri