Supplies: Letter to my Distorting Mirror

Diana in car, with that hat
Dear DM:

There really was a difference between us. It wasn’t that I was loved more by our parents. Quite the opposite; if you had payed the least bit of attention you would have seen it as plainly as everyone else in the community did. It wasn’t that I had any natural advantage. All advantages were distributed according to perception. No matter how valiant my actions or how exemplary my schoolwork, I was perceived as fat, dumb, lazy, lesser. You were perceived as pretty, smart, a blooming starlet. Remember when that school teacher asked you if you planned to be a writer and then turned to me and told me I could be your editor? As a professional writer now the layers of irony to this are delicious. After all, one of the reasons you have avoided using your own considerable talent is because you might be subject to … editing. You might have someone tell you that your work – and because of your personality disorders, by extension you – are imperfect. It’s unlikely you could get even a short story printed; even true constructive criticism is an affront to you because the only criticism you know how to give is of the mean-spirited variety.

I could be fair…but since you’ve never been fair to me, my unfairness is exactly as fair as you deserve.

One of your favorite tantrum topics was your absurd claim that you “never had the same opportunities that I did.” When viewed from a perspective of historical fact, this is absolute raging horse shit. Not only did you have the physical advantage – being thin and normal, thus making your admission into any social group based wholly on your behavior without the handicap of looks – you often found favor with the more popular teachers. I did not. I had to work against the perception of those, like Janet Szot, who considered me slow and stupid based on my appearance, even in the face of excellent work and a track record of decent grades.

But there’s no denying I’ve done better than you. I had far, far fewer opportunities than you did – and most were not presented to me for my refusal or adoption as they were to you. I had to go out and get those opportunities. I failed a lot in high school and I have failed a lot as an adult. But I’ve made more progress than you, also, despite only rare occassions of opportunity actually bothering to stop at my door at all.

It’s very simple: when I found an opportunity, I took it.

When I had a bad experience, I looked for a different opportunity.

I never demanded that an opportunity fit my imagining.

If the opportunity I wanted didn’t exist, I went out and made it.

We both had the advantage of being well spoken white girls. You had the advantage of being perceived as from a good family. Thanks to you, I had the additional handicap of being perceived as coming from a bad family.

So while you shriek about how cold and selfish I am, at how I’ve exploited you or some other flat out falsehood, I can say quite levelly:

Fuck you. We both deserve what we got.

Diana

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