I just read an article that ended with the author wondering if his name appears in anyone else’s address book and it dredged up a whole slew of my own thoughts insecurities about this subject.
What kind of impact have I made?
I do not mean impact here in terms of a broader social or communal effect but rather that depressing interpersonal way where you wonder how many people will know/remember/care when you’re gone.
I was cc’d on a group email recently from this circle of people I met in teacher’s college whom I called “The Lesbians”. While not all were gay or even female, Lesbianism (with a capital L) was their core essence. I was tangentially included in their little clique I think mostly because one of them said she wanted in my pants. I don’t think I contributed much to the group nor was I ever really included in anything. In fact, often they would exchange gifts and speak of events I was not invited to right in front of me. Anyways, I never spent much time with them and have only been a part of a small handful of activities with them.
Long, convoluted story short, one member posted on facebook something about his recent health issues and wanting to reach out and thank certain people for their friendship and support, etc. Then he named these people, and these 5 names were the core of the clique…plus me.
I’ve honestly been troubled by this because we’ve never really exchanged words, had a private conversation, or spent more than 10 hours together in total. He even misspelled my name in his post. I can’t figure out why I was included in this short list, of which I never would have seen had someone not copied and pasted it into an email for me.
The issue I think is that in all my moments of self-doubt, I never understood that the fear of inconsequentiality as a fundamental truth of human existence actually meant other people feel the same way I do. I suppose that’s another truth of human existence isn’t it? This inability to think beyond ourselves. Like the author wondering whose address book his name is in, I never thought about whether people wonder if their names are in mine. It’s a wonder that it’s taken so long for this to sink in and I hope it’s not something I’ll forget soon. In the meantime, you’ll have to excuse me. I have some names to add to my address book.