Friday, July 31

A Facebook Story

I heard this story
last weekend and wanted to share, even though as a blog post it's from February. BernThis may not be your kind of blog, but I have to say as a panel speaker she's a hoot.

But her story really hit a nerve for me, when she recalled:

...a horrible experience I had in junior high, something which led me down a horrible path and from where I developed my sense of humor as it was the only "weapon" I had.

Just the other day, one of the girls who was especially cruel to me, wrote me on Facebook, asking to "be my friend." This from a person who thirty years ago, was gracious enough to show me that my head was too wide to fit into my locker and yet my initial instinct was, "of course, yeah, sure, whatever you want" Just seeing her name shook me to my core and in a nanosecond I was thirteen all over again. My breathing got shallow, I think I was even shaking a bit. Finally, after way too long the 43 year old me took the 13 year old me and said:

43 YEAR OLD ME: For the love of God, school isn't just out for Summer anymore babe. Move on!" ...and the next thing I know, I hit the "ignore" button and I swear I was giddy.

I too was bullied in junior high and high school. Life was miserable. I was a smart girl with college-educated parents. Definitely an outsider, definitely a social misfit. Without going into painful detail, going to school HURT in seventh and eighth grades.

I've pretty much accepted as "facebook friends" people from my high school class on the basis of Whatever. None of us are the same people we were at age thirteen, thank God. I know one of the reasons adults didn't come to my defense then as much as I would have liked is they saw a "this too shall pass" situation--my teachers clearly voted me "most likely to Evolve Her Way Out Of Town" early on, and my parents saw me as weird but resilient.

But one of the things I've finally learned in the past two years is how to spot a bully at seventy paces, and not let them in. And with that, I embrace that same giddiness BernThis found clicking on "ignore."


  1. I refuse to "friend" people who were mean to me in high school and college. Same goes for anyone from that era who is now an intolerant Christian or who says they love the Creationist Museum.

  2. Fascinating story. I too was marching to my own not-so-popular beat in junior high. I can imagine that kind of giddiness from pressing ignore.

    I have in the end friended a bunch of high school people - I did however see many of them at our (gulp) 30th reunion in 2005. That was a bit of an equalizing moment for many of us.

    Perhaps the most so was with my own cousin. Like something out of a bad story, I came from the working class part of town and she (2nd cousin) was truly about the richest girl in town. We did not grown up knowing each other and she was disdainful of me at best in high school when we finally met face to face.

    30 years later we became not friends - but friendly in a respect one another way. I got my own good feeling, although not giddiness, from that.

  3. I discovered, much to my chagrin, that sometimes they do not change.

    At the last reunion I will ever attend, all of my classmates seemed to be getting along, everyone was mixing, and I thought, briefly that we had all grown up, and wasn't that a good thing.

    And then it happened: one of the cheerleaders came along and slipped an invite into my pocket to come to a private party at a suite in the hotel, but "don't tell anyone about it, we don't want them crashing." It wasn't addressed to me. Oops.

    I gave it to the DJ with a $20 and he announced it.



  4. Tengrain - the dj thing - now that's poetry.

    I read an article recently that says FB is killing high school reunions. You log in , you see what some people are up to now and you avoid costly air fare and being stuck in the corner of a Holiday Inn meeting room with everybody who hated you.

    This was reinforced as one of my FB folk from high school, a fellow debater, organized a girls' night out for her friends using Facebook. Women came from two states to attend. So there is some good which comes from such things.

  5. Gawd.. did we all go through the same stuff..? I started wearing a lot of black in 1957.. long before goths.. still wear black.. but no one helps me sail down the stairs any more.. the jocks hatted me.. instead of PE, I took Dance.. they wanted to know why I would rather dance than play football.. Simple.. I always liked girls.. so when asked, I said, "I'd rather dance with your girlfriend.. than play football (etc.) with you."

  6. Alice has the exact same computer that I do!

  7. My heart's with Ten on this.

    Nice move.

    I empathize with this post too, although I stay away from Facebook and MySpace as they seem to be timesinks for superficial people who never did anything with their lives except gossip, backbite and form exclusive clubs.


  8. tengrain- i love it!!!

    i thought about going to my 40th a few weeks ago but declined.

    i found out that it was a wise choice.

  9. Tengrain ... wonderful. It made my heart soar.

    Good post, BG; lots to chew on here. I feel for my 13-year old daughter who is going into 8th grade. She too marches to her own drummer and suffers at school because of it. Luckily she has a secret weapon: theater. It is a godsend.

  10. Brilliant move, Tengrain. One reason I avoid Facebook is that I don't feel a need to connect to high school friends. High school is over. It was ok. I had a group I hung out with (the band people) and they were very nice, but we all moved on. Besides, I suspect that the few people I lost touch with who I would like to hear from probably would not be the ones who would contact me.

  11. i for one am going to improve my Facebook manners now that i've seen that excellent instructional video.... Patti Page

  12. actually, grammar school was harder on me than high school. when we received our copies of the class photo, the loveliest girl in my class cut my figure out of the pictue. and then passed it around for everyone to autograph ... including me.

  13. Sometimes people change. Sometimes people don't change.

    But as for Middle School/Junior High, well, that's just a matter of demonic possession.


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