For as long as I can recall, I moved through the world certain that I was unmemorable.
As in, never believing, upon meeting people, that I was making any kind of impression whatsoever. Never being able to trust that upon meeting them again, they would recognize me.
I developed the habit of saying my name to whomever I was meeting again, a preemptive coping strategy designed to avoid any potential embarrassment or humiliation in not being remembered by the person.
I do not recall how this underlying belief system was created. I do not know its source.
There must have been an instance or two where I felt embarrassed or humiliated in some way in some situation where I assumed that I would be remembered, and I was not.
Or, is it something genetic in the seeds of my personality that made me incapable of recognizing my own recognizability?
To see oneself as faceless, as lacking any qualities that would make another take mental note in any way of your presence…that is pretty intense thing to discover that you are living from.
When I noticed this, I slowly began to experiment around it to see what was going on. It is complex, but suffice it to say that today I look for social cues that let me in on whether or not someone is putting together that they have seen me before, and then and only then do I offer to help them. (No preemptive helping.) I have had to develop tolerance for the discomfort that that sometimes brings.
I have also had to learn how to give myself inner support around other people in the first place. To not need so much from whether or not they felt anything about me – good, bad or seemingly nothing at all – and let my own opinion count the most. To be my own fan.
I think when you grow up a very sensitive child who learned early on to read other people in order to survive you have to learn some different coping skills. You have to learn how to live from the inside out, instead of the outside in.
I have learned how to “be” in my core. Living from my core, others, and what they think or feel, does not hold any power over my survival. I am in charge, and can take full care of myself.
It has been a freeing process. I am much more comfortable around people and enjoy life so much more.
Do I feel all that memorable today? Not really. Maybe on good day for a half hour.
But I do know I am here. I do not feel faceless. And I love who I am. I have lots of people who love me, plenty of people who care about me, many people who want to work with me, and that’s pretty wonderful.
And hey, if someone doesn’t recall having met me, I do not sweat it. I happily re-introduce myself, and I comfort the small part of me that feels a bit hurt in it.
I am always OK as long as I recognize me.
2 thoughts on “A Face in the Crowd”
I appreciated these sentiments: “I think when you grow up a very sensitive child who learned early on to read other people in order to survive you have to learn some different coping skills. You have to learn how to live from the inside out, instead of the outside in.” Learning to live from the inside. Having to learn to do that. That’s different that acquiring that experience as a child. It’s like learning a foreign language as an adult; yes, it can be done and most people who learn as children have a more organic knowledge. So glad you’ve been learning. I understand that effort. We make progress and, if you’re like me, it requires constant diligence. Thanks for sharing.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Constant diligence…yes. Thank you so much for sharing that you understand…
LikeLiked by 1 person