We’re taught to believe that we’re all important individuals. Then we get older and find out that even if you’re one in a million, there are still quite a few people exactly like you.
A few years ago, some of my tax information became fudged up. It’s easy to blame everything on the government being stupid, but when I called them, we had a heck of a time figuring out what was wrong.
Then some information kicked me in the teeth. The problem was another person has my exact same name. It’s not like I have a popular name like John Smith, Anon Y Mouse or Shaquille O’Neal. My name is Casey Joseph Freeman.
It didn’t end there. This other CJF and I share the exact same birthday. Part of me hoped he was my evil twin brother that my parents were trying to hide, but that didn’t make sense because why would they give him the same name?
If you Google me, you’ll see there are a few Casey Freemans out there. I pop up on the top sometimes, but my competition is tough, like a Realtor and a quarterback.
As a writer, the fact that there are duplicates of me makes me self-conscious and jealous of anybody else’s popularity. Pair that with some emotional crankiness and I snapped one day this year and decided I wasn’t going to do anything on social media for a month.
HMM! That would show everybody! I wouldn’t like any dorky posts, wish anybody a dumb happy birthday, comment on stupid baby photos or any of that crap! I’d be dead to the online world, and everybody would miss me and beg me to return.
If people didn’t notice I was gone, it would be like the old reclusive lady getting eaten by her cats, and everybody would feel — I don’t know — weird about the whole situation.
I knew I was being overemotional, but I didn’t care. “People need to appreciate me,” I thought.
A few days into my social media ban, I received a touching message: “RU OK?” But it didn’t count because it was just my roommate wondering why I was going to sleep so early with all the lights on.
The rest of the month: nothing. Nobody checked up on me. Not a single ex asking if I’ve moved on or any broke-ass bro who wanted to borrow money. No one.
But I learned some important lessons — besides that I wasn’t that important in other people’s lives. Instead of trying to construct a perfect Tweet or comment, I spent that time writing. When I could have been gawking at other people’s vacations, I went out and took my own journeys. While the old me may have been wondering how to get more likes, I just did stuff that I liked.
We’ve all got egos and issues, but we’re also all individuals. Maybe I’m not as important as I’d like to be, but I’m doing my best to like myself. That’s a win, right?