I believe that everyone should be recognized and remembered. There’s nothing more embarrassing then seeing somebody I know that I know in a grocery or department store and can’t remember his or her name. Of course after that, I’m always caught staring at that person trying for the life of me to remember something about them that will click on a light bulb, and then the horror of horrors occurs. I’m approached my Johnny No Name with a smile on his face saying, “Hi Jennifer! It’s been way too long! How are you?!” I think to myself, “Damnit, he called me by name, and of course I can’t remember his.” I feel like a jerk, smile and mumble a few things, hope that the floor will swallow me up in three seconds, realize it won’t, and then scurry out the door calling promises to keep in touch over my shoulder.
I never really used to think it was that much of a big deal that I couldn’t remember peoples’ names. I figured if I couldn’t remember who they were, they weren’t that important to me anyway. It didn’t matter. Hell, they didn’t matter.
My belief really hit me about four months ago when I, being a college student, was surfing Facebook. Looking through my multiple networks of friends, I found a cousin of mine, whom I hadn’t spoken to in years. I messaged him and requested him to be my friend (so I could have access to his web page), and I received a response back asking me, “Who are you again?”
It hit me right there. My own family doesn’t remember who I am. My feelings of guilt about never remembering Johnny No Name flew out the window and were replaced with agony and hurt. The more I thought about it, the more I realized; I’m not important to my extended family. All I received from them was a nice card and phone call on my birthday and Christmas; nothing more, nothing less. I didn’t think a petty thing like distance could keep our ties away, but when my family moved from California to Texas when I was eight years old, everything changed. They forgot about me. I forgot about them.
After receiving that message and ones similar to it after I had told my cousin (in depth), who I was, I figured out that I had to do something about this. If I want to be remembered, I have to give people a reason to remember me. Relationships can never work if they’re only one-way. I can’t expect people to want to communicate with me if I don’t put effort into talking to them either.
I believe in being recognized and remembered. I just need to remember to recognize the fact that I have to put forth effort in all my relationships as well.
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