Harriet the Spy
I just want to say that as a writterly child that was too “smart for her own good” in the wake of divorce, this movie was one of my saving graces. Matilda too. Don’t we all just want to fabulously pursue all the of the things we love and cut our loses as the fallout accumulates all around us like molted snake skin?
We had the same problems, Harriet and I. We both wrote. If you read my journal, not only will I cry and slap you, I will find ways to exact my 10 year old revenge (ask Lauren, my twin). I will not be kind, because even a child knows that her words are her freaking words.
Ehh but some things do have a habit of simmering down. I feel so weird to be talking like I’m such a great adult; shit I forget to do my laundry like at least once a week. However, I aspire to be like Gully because I remember how much I just wanted somebody to take care of me like Gully cared for Harriet. This isn’t going to win my any friends in my immediate family, but it’s true. Pretty sure they don’t read this anyways. Oh well, more snake skin.
The thing is, Gully was awesome. She was young enough to not be a mom and old enough to be kind and not straight up rude like the other bastard children. She did fun things with Harriet. And she encouraged her talents. Gully wasn’t gonna be the person to read your journal; she’d be the one to buy you another. And that really, really matters.
My brothers live far away, but I love my family. I aspire to be the kind of aunt that is a Gully. Don’t we all want that? Someone older, wiser, that will give you the straight up truth and not dick you around like your mom when it comes to things you’d rather not confront with your parents? I want to be like that, and I don’t believe for a second that I have to sacrifice that for the only actual identity I care about, which is being a Christian.
We all need cool aunts, you guys. We all need Gully’s. I may get to work at a job where I can hang out with children and tutor in the same schools I was raised in. If I get that job, I’m gonna be an undercover Gully, because who wouldn’t want that?? Like, I’ll follow the rules so that the kids I tutor can understand that you don’t need to break them in order to be heard. I certainly didn’t. What else? I’ll be really really nice, and I have a lot of patience, okay? Like seriously. You have no idea. I’ll just be present and willing to listen. If I can’t do anything else well, listening will be my saving grace. I’m going to just try to be as kind and Gully-like as possible, and there’s no way I will fail because she’s awesome. Doesn’t life just do that: make you into either your heroes or your villains? Regardless of if those are your parents or the government or your neighbors or your best friends, we all have to choose constantly. None of us can choose the situations, but we can all choose our reactions. I’m not saying that because it’s easy; I’m saying it because I know. And I just really really want to be like Gully.
As a side note, when Harriet accused the Veggie Thief Delivery Boy of being a thief and he responds with a staring contest that he wins, his reaction was absolutely spot on. If you can’t finish what you started, don’t start staring contests is all I’m saying. He totally won. Blessing in disguise indeed.