Last night I was out with a group of friends from our latest community theatre show, The Crucible. It was karaoke night at the local pub and those of us over 21 (even the few of us that don't actually drink) all met up there after the show.
While we were there, a few of my friends and my boyfriend recognized a friend of theirs and met him with excitement. He then introduced himself to me, whereupon I told him that we have actually met before. Which is true.
Years ago, when I was in eighth grade, he was an assistant in directing the first play I was in, The Hobbit. He was a couple years over me and in high school. When I got to high school, we were even in several shows and musicals together, and I was in a class and shows with his twin sister as well until they graduated. We were also cast in the same show with this same community theatre group last June, but he ended up dropping out. I knew him. I knew his name. I'm pretty sure we're even Facebook friends.
And yet, this man did not know who I was.
When I said that we've met before, albeit years ago, he responded that he is bad with names but good with faces. I told him my last name and he looked at me thoughtfully for a moment then seemed to recognize me in at least some degree (or so he claimed.) he went on to tell how I've changed so much since then, look great, etc etc blah blah blah. To this moment I'm still unsure of how much I believe that he knows who I am at all.
Now as I've pondered this experience, I'm a bit torn. At first I was kind of insulted, at least a little. I knew this guy for years. We have about a hundred mutual friends, no exaggeration. And yet he had no idea who I am.
But if I take him at his word when he said that he simply didn't recognize me because I've changed so much, I have a slightly different reaction.
I mean, thank goodness.
I really have changed a phenomenal amount since high school. At least I certainly hope so. My appearance has changed pretty greatly, not to mention to butt-ton of self confidence I've gained in the years since then. I wouldn't shudder to claim I am a completely different individual than I was at that time.
So on another hand, I was sort of flattered/relieved that he didn't recognize me, due to my changed persona.
That got me thinking. If I could go back to more of the people I knew in high school, would I re-introduce myself to them as a totally new person? Especially if I consider myself to be one. There are definitely people I knew back then that I'm sure will likely have a skewed image of me in their heads for possibly years to come, as that small, shy, awkward, quiet redhead who wore t-shirts and jeans every single day of her life. (Well... Maybe not everything has changed.)
Would I change that image if I could? Should I, given the opportunity? Or should I attempt to embrace that past self, to acknowledge her and reflect and learn from it?
And more importantly, does this stuff even matter or is my brain doing its over thinking thing again that it does so very well?
The answer is, all of the above.