The other night, I received a request on Facebook from somebody I was not friends with in high school. I have exactly one memory of this person, and seeing her name and photo brought back that memory like it had happened this morning.
For the most part, my high school experience was fine. I had a lot of friends, I did well in my Creative Writing classes and barely passed the Science ones. I'm still in touch with some of my close friends, and several of my teachers come to my plays.
But this one memory. This flashback. This person. We sat at the same lunch table, but never had a conversation.
We were in the 9th grade. Algebra. A classmate handed me a note that she had found, highlighting a paragraph that was about "Diana." (Looking back, I think it was pretty messed-up that that girl would highlight the note and give it to me...what was she looking to accomplish? But this isn't about her.)
It said, "Diana has frizzy hair, obese legs and thighs and the worst sense of fashion. She shops at Motherhood Maternity."
The note went-on to trash every single girl at our lunch table (two of which were my good friends. I barely knew the girl who wrote the note at all, or the friend she gave it to.) She was extremely nasty, attacking ALL of our appearances/fashion/bodies/hair/voices.
She even made fun of the fact that one girl had a family on welfare.
We confronted her at lunch. She claimed she did not write that note! Her stalker did! (Oh COME ON.)
While I rolled my eyes and said that was the stupidest thing I had ever heard and how the heck did she expect us to believe that, one of the other girls (the one on welfare) said, "She is my FRIEND! She wouldn't DO THAT to me." (It was actually quite sad and naive.)
I went home and sobbed about this note, my fat legs and thighs and my frizzy hair and my maternity clothes. (And if I REALLY wore maternity dresses, how can anybody even KNOW what my thighs looked like?)
That is my only memory of that girl. We weren't friends. We never had the same class. But this is what I remember about her.
So many years later, I know I have gorgeous hair. People stop me on the street on a daily basis to tell me that I do. I wear nice clothes (that are a size 2. And not from Motherhood Maternity.) My legs aren't fat; my legs are muscular and I am still very self-conscious about them, but they get me where I need to do.
But then I got that Facebook friend request and I remembered everything about that day and wondering why on earth this girl would be so hateful as to tear-down a tablefull of perfectly nice 14-year-old girls that were just doing their best.
And, might I ask, if we were all so ugly/weird/poor/fat...why did she want to sit at our table?
And now you're adding me on Facebook?
I accepted her Friend Request. Not sure why. Maybe because subconsciously, I know I (and my hair) look great in my current photos. I post about things like my new plays premiering. I have a photo of myself and my drop-dead handsome celebrity friend meeting the President together. I've done well for myself, to the blind Facebook eye.
She's married, with a child, and in her wedding photos, the girl who wrote that horrible note to was her Maid-of-Honor.
I wonder if they're still passing snarky notes saying ugly things about other people. Maybe they've grown-up. Maybe they've changed. I hope so.
I'm glad I'm so sensitive. I would never be so cruel and hurt somebody that much. I'd rather be on the receiving end than know I caused somebody so much pain.