For all of the years that I was in school, I never brought (recruited) another student. I knew somewhere in myself that I could never bring someone into a group that I had so many doubts and questions about myself. I was never comfortable trying to talk to someone about school or why I believed they should join because I didn’t believe they should join. I got a lot of flack over the years for not bringing people as it was my “responsibility’ to do so. It was a mark of your advanced “standing” in school to be assigned to this “line of work”. I was involved in this for many years but never brought anyone. I just couldn’t do it and now I am glad that I didn’t.
The closest I ever came was convincing my ex-husband’s new wife to stay in school. I was completely devastated by our divorce which he had been instructed to do by school. I later learned that he met “someone else” two weeks after he moved out. Time passed and I had to sit in class and listen to him talking about her, which was sheer torture. One day he stood up and said that she was pregnant and they were getting married. I was devastated again by the loss of my husband and by my inability to get pregnant. I felt humiliated and ashamed.
One day awhile later, as I was going to class, I saw my ex-husband enter the building in front of me with a woman I did not know. I hung back. When I got to the door (there was always a “guard” posted at the door to prevent anyone unwanted from entering) I asked the guy on the door who she was. He was a friend on my ex-husband’s and said that he had been to the wedding and it was his new wife. I was stunned. After everything else, I was going to have to sit in class with both of them twice a week: double torture. I said I wasn’t going upstairs and asked if there was a teacher upstairs who I could talk to. Eventually, M came downstairs and told me to “buck up” and get on with my life. She suggested that I “pretend” for the rest of the evening that everything was alright. Fake it until you make it. I went upstairs. I had a couple of drinks.
I decided to basically sit in the corner and say nothing. Unfortunately, another student (a wealthy cosmetics heiress) kept calling me by name across the room. I tried to tell her to stop talking to me but the damage was done. I knew that the new wife probably knew my name and was putting two and two together. Sharon came into the room. The new wife stood up and declared that she had been brought there with out having been told the whole truth. She didn’t know that her husband’s ex-wife (me) was going to be there and this was not acceptable to her and she was going to have to leave.
I am not sure what came over me at that moment. This was the most demonstrable I was ever to be about school. I stood up and told her that she was making a terrible mistake and that whether I was there or not, it had nothing to do with the incredible opportunity that she had to be a part of this amazing school. In short, I was convincing enough that she stayed (long past when I left.) Of course, that was a “shining moment” for me. I got a lot of kudos from Sharon and from the other students for my little speech but I am still not sure whether I did her a favor that day or not. After much turmoil and many years, we eventually became friends. One of my memories of her is the two of us standing in the kitchen in Pawling after having walked out of the room where Sharon was berating another student. We looked at each other: neither of us had the stomach anymore to sit and listen to her humiliate someone again.
For humiliate, you can substitute any of these words: castigate, chide, criticize, condemn, rebuke, reproach, revile, scold, upbraid, blister, chew out, censure, reprove, scorch, vituperate, bawl out, call down, cuss out, give one hell, give what for, jump all over, rail at, rake over the coals, tell off, tongue lash, condemn, reprimand, flay, call on the carpet, give a hard time, find fault with, give a going over, admonish, disparage, denigrate, denounce, tear apart or chastise. Or you might use the one word that sums it all up: abuse. The one thing that Sharon is very very good at.
Often, people would walk into a room and say something to the effect of: The vibration in here is terrible. You should all be ashamed of yourself. You need to "come up in yourselves" and raise the vibrations before our teachers come in. The way you advanced in school was to learn how to become a "mini me" of Sharon. If you learned how to abuse others in the way that you had been abused, you rose up the ranks. I tried not to do this. I tried not to do unto others what had been done to me. I am sure that my memory is faulty and that at some point I did disparage other students.
I apologize to anyone I may have harmed during those years and ask for your forgiveness.