I’m Somebody!

Many years ago, I joined a group of women for breakfast at a local spot after our Saturday morning Centering Prayer (followed by church cleaning) session. Thus, my clothes were dusty, my (in need of a cut) hair was disheveled. Several other women who I did not know also joined our table.

I sat at one end, and a stranger (to me) woman sat a couple chairs to my left.  We were introduced but she quickly turned from me to talk to someone else. Conversation at the table flowed, and the “stranger” dominated, leading most of the talk. I tried to make a couple of comments, but was ignored or talked over.

A patient of mine then walked into the restaurant, saw me, and came over and said “Oh, Dr. H., thank you so much for taking care of Dad while he was sick….he’s doing so much better now!”  Then she hugged me and went off to her own table.

Suddenly, the “stranger” turned to me and asked me a question, and in subsequent chat, repeatedly turned to me and asked for my input or opinion. Clearly, I was now “SOMEBODY.” Prior to being identified as “Dr. H.” I was just an overweight middle-aged woman with a bad haircut.

On my running app chat-board today, someone asked “What did you want to be when you grew up?” “A doctor (physician)” I wrote in response…..and then added this:  “But when I grew up, ‘girls’ didn’t become doctors unless they were exceptionally brilliant. Which I am not. I graduated 71st out of 490 in my high school, took all college prep classes, was active in the drama club and Varsity volleyball… and was told by my ‘career counselor’ that ‘You could get a job in the typing pool in Washington, DC! They have nice apartment blocks for employees!'” (Anyone but me old enough to remember when there were typing pools?)

So I have somehow combined those two scenes in my (aged and twisted) brain:  The dumpy, chunky, pimpled,  but overall good student, not a part of the “in-crowd” but still involved in high school activities, was viewed  (or one could say….not seen at all)  as not fit for college or advanced career…..

….and the overweight, disheveled middle aged woman was viewed (or…..overlooked) as a “nobody” until her “worth” was proven by her title.

I envision Steve Martin in “The Jerk” ecstatically crying “I’M SOMEBODY!” when he sees his name in the new phone book.

The truth is, that I am SOMEBODY whatever my title, or whether or not my name appears in the phone book.  My worth is not in being called “Doctor,” or having my name in print. My worth is in being a living, breathing, sentient being.  One who tries (and I admit, occasionally fails) to “see” everybody.