Yesterday I spoke of how my Granny loved to gossip and shared my experience of how gossip hurts. There was no intent to bring shame to anyone or hurt feelings. I know what that feels like and wouldn’t do it to another. I guess I could have changed names but since there was a videotape and part of it in the Laurens County Advertiser that thought never occurred to me. Besides, there had been a court case and litigation, and I naively thought the truth had prevailed.
Everything was recounted and proven untrue. Last I heard and remembered everyone knew that Granny lied about me and it spiraled out of control from there. It didn’t change my love for Granny or anyone else involved. Jesus said to love thy neighbor as thyself, and I will continue to try to do that.
The past is the past, and we can’t change it, but we can sure learn from it. I’m learning from yesterday’s post and changing some names today — except for a couple.
Here is to you, Mary Ellen Lollis!
The way it all was and the way it all happened is I heard from someone that I was having an affair. I was totally floored. If you know anything about me, it is how much I love and adore Lee and would never betray him.
There is so much pain in this world! We surely don’t need any more, and I cringe at the thought of hurting another. I want to be the STOP sign that says STOP! I want to be the one who says this hurts and we can’t keep hurting each other. I want to be the sign that says it is okay to walk away from people who hurt you or make you feel bad about being who you are. I want to be the role model who says to you that even when you have been decimated by life, you can find the sunshine and know that God loves you more than you could ever even imagine.
I think one of our worldly problems is we like to sweep things under the rug. We pretend that things are wonderful when they aren’t. I am an expert at that one and could probably win an award for pretending things do not bother me when they do. That leads to horrible bouts of depression anxiety, self-doubt, and shame
I don’t believe in reacting when something happens, and in most cases, I have become a turn the other cheek kind of gal. I do want to be like Jesus and love no matter what, but I realized some months ago that I was making myself sick holding in all this shame. The worst part is I was holding shame for things I hadn’t even done. I was holding shame for things other people had done and shame for things that others had accused me of which were far from being true.
Have I done things I am not proud of? YES, I have! But I could give you a long list of things I never did and yet I somehow managed to get blamed for and then I willingly took the punishment.
It started in childhood and went from there. Things hurt me, and instead of releasing them I buried them deeper and deeper inside of me. I told myself that I should have been better and should have known better. I told myself that I would learn to do better. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to figure out how to get people to like me and love me. The real me — the weird me.
I think it is best to sit with things and try to understand the whys of a situation and the people in our lives. We can learn a lot by doing that. To react often leads to more reaction and the hamster continues to run around the wheel. Who wins has always been my question. I guess I’ve finally concluded that we lose a part of our Soul when we don’t speak up for authentic selves. As my friend Kelli Fenters was telling me this past weekend, “We can speak truth with kindness and with love. Be who you are, Kimberly Parrish.” Thank you, Kelli.
When the affair rumor recently came back around it surprisingly hit me like a ton of bricks. It hurts when people make assumptions and say untrue and hurtful things or when they punish you for something you didn’t even do. This rumor and yesterday’s blog post flooded me with all the many different times that I was punished and hadn’t done anything wrong.
Like the time my cousin and I were beaten until our legs bled because I listened to my cousin say it was okay to take our bikes down to the creek, and I naively went along. Her mom didn’t care that I didn’t know. She beat the blood out of me anyway. Or the times I was trying to be a good daughter or sister, and yet my actions were misinterpreted. The many times I was harassed for seeking to be a good teacher because a few couldn’t have their way. It wasn’t just a little here or there.
There have been so many instances of pain and mistreatment in my life. Instead of saying HELL no, as I should have my answer has been to say I am so sorry. I will do better next time. Please don’t whip me or lie about me or fire me or lie to me. Please don’t make me feel like I am not enough. I just want to give love and receive love. I just want to love.
If you live in Laurens, SC, you might have heard the story that I have been running around on Lee. That is what “they” said.
Almost three years ago I received a Facebook message from a friend, Jessica, that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I hadn’t seen her since high school and only knew her since then through Facebook. Even still, I listened to that little voice inside my head that said she needed a visit.
My little voice didn’t care that she was in Texas and we were in South Carolina. It just said she needed help. I first went to Lee and asked his thoughts on a road trip. Always game for travel, Lee quickly said yes. I went to another close friend in our circle, “Lysander Lardbottom” and explained that I really couldn’t explain it but thought we needed to go. I expected Lysander to tell me how crazy it was for me to want to take off across the country to visit someone we barely knew, but he surprised me with a when do we leave. He had gotten the same message from Jessica and felt she and her husband Randy needed some support. I knew it was meant.
The week of the trip Lee came down with a sinus infection and wasn’t able to travel. We didn’t talk about postponing because somewhere inside of me something was saying Jessica needed help and needed it right away. Lysander and I took off across the country on what would be one of the most amazing trips of my life. There were 111’s everywhere.
We got to Texas and discovered that sweet Jessica was indeed in trouble. She had developed complications from her surgery and as Granny might say, was in pretty bad shape. The visit was good for everyone. Friendships were deepened, and we were all the better for it. Lysander and I packed up and came home.
Later I was with another friend from Laurens who moved away. She knew of our life, death and business struggles. I was telling her how Lysander had come at just the right time when Lee was in a valley, and we needed help. The fact that he didn’t run away when he saw the mess we were in spoke volumes to Lee and me. Lysander stood by us through some tough times.
Being in a small town, I had come face to face with people who flat out told me that it looked improper for Lysander and me to be so close. We had been in a store, and one of the people had asked where Mr. Parrish was. I giggled and thought nothing of it. I’m not the kind of person who bases my relationships on what other people think.
My relationships are based instead on how you treat me. I was shocked and not when my girlfriend told me that she had heard there was talk in Laurens that Lysander and I were having an affair. Of course, she knew it wasn’t true, but apparently, there were others who were wagging their tongues about the two of us. We all had a big laugh about it and went on about our business. I guessed we would never hear of it again.
I said this yesterday and earlier but need to say it again. People have no idea how much it hurts when they gossip. Nothing is ever as it seems. You may be looking at a person thinking one thing when something completely different is going on. There could be depression. Addiction. God only knows. You shouldn’t be the judge!
Just like Granny’s tale this affair rumor had other effects and came back around to me very recently. This time as it sank in, though, it hurt me differently. It hurt because I now realized that the people who started this ridiculous rumor were just like Granny — people in our family.
There had been a shift in how some of the family treated me. I felt it. I didn’t understand why but just like I knew I needed to go to Texas, I knew that I had not been treated as I had been before. Hugs were rejected, and silent treatments followed. Then the mystery began to unfold.
A family member was in my office telling me about an “affair” by another family member. I asked her where she got her information. She said it came from her mother. I told her how badly it would hurt the person she was talking about if they ever knew the things she was saying and encouraged her not to be repeating what she was sharing with me. I knew if the person she was speaking of ever heard her words it would devastate them. I explained how gossip was a horrible thing.
Later, something else happened, and I started to go back through time. As I did, things became very clear. It was after my trip to Texas that I began to get questions and the cold shoulder. Did Lysander have a girlfriend? Recently I ran into someone and realized where the whole affair thing began. This person and other people began treating me differently because they thought I cheated on Lee.
Spread love, not rumors. Assume the best in others and do your part to help make this world a better place. For the record, I do love Lysander Lardbottom with all my heart, and nothing in this world will ever change that. Men and women can be friends, and it doesn’t have to be sexual.
Rumors are a sad part of life, and I’m a grownup, but I am also a human being and feel pain in ways that some might not even understand. I don’t just feel my pain, but I have this ability to siphon off yours if I can get in your presence. It is a gift God gave me, and I openly and wholeheartedly claim it right here and now. Thank you, God, for this amazing ability that you gave me to FEEL and to KNOW. I promise no matter what I won’t let you down. I will always use my hugs, my love, and my pen or in this case my keyboard to do my best to honor YOU!
Today I choose to see this rumor a beautiful gift. Thank you to the person who started it and to those who spread it without giving Lysander or me the benefit of the doubt. Thank you to everyone who has crossed my path and hurt me with your false assumptions, your hickory, your lies or whatever it was you were doling out. You all are my ticket to freedom. Your donations provide me a seat on a train I’ve been trying to ride my whole life.
If I can summon the courage to get on this freedom train — if I can muster the courage to stop being afraid that who I am is and will never be enough — I will finally be free. The truth that you have all given me is I won\’t ever be good enough to some of you, and I have to finally be okay with that. I have to finally look in the mirror and stop letting other people define who I am.
I am smart! I am good! I am kind! I AM LOVE!!!
Wow, this has been a long and hard road, but I’m ready to take my seat on this train. Come ride with me. I bet some of you are ready to be free too.
Love and Light to all of you!