Some people have that face you just automatically recognize for whatever reason. I know mine; it’s called Treacher Collins Syndrome. Even if you never knew the reason behind my facial differences, you most certainly would recognize me by my little ears and bone conductive hearing aid. Honestly, how many people do you come across in life who have those features? Those two things have remained untouched throughout the years while my facial features have been modified through reconstructive surgeries. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Being easily recognizable has its benefits.
- I stand out. I’m easy to spot in a crowd if you’re looking for me.
- I’m easy to describe. You know when you ask your friends to keep a look out for someone? I’m sure my friends have used my hearing aid as a descriptor. I would.
- I’ve been the recipient of generous acts- out of pity or kindness? I’ll say cuteness. I walked away from one Panthers’ hockey game with a practice puck, game puck, and t-shirt. The hockey player pointed at me when he tossed the practice puck over the plexiglass. Another one personally handed me the game puck as he left the rink. The t-shirt was thrown directly at me. Suckers. All of them.
The downfall of being recognized is that I often don’t remember people. I have a horrible memory for faces and names especially if I’ve met you only once or knew you a long time ago. Quite often people approach me to say hi and I have no idea how I know them. I’ve mastered the art of faking it so I act genuinely excited to see that person. Once I walk away, I rack my brain to figure out who I just encountered. Many times I’ve answered “I have no clue” when asked with whom I was just speaking. Way too many times.
The girl who taped up my knees after the marathon on Sunday recognized me from gymnastics 22 years ago. She saw the name on my bib and asked if I had ever been a gymnast. She remembered the team I was on and the meet I received the perfect ten. She was there cheering for me when it happened. How am I supposed to compete with that? I was nine! I’d barely recognize a friend that I hadn’t seen in 22 years let alone one of my competitors. I now feel the need to watch the tape of that meet to find her.
I apologize if I don’t recognize you and act faintly aloof. It’s not that you’re not memorable. You have to believe it when I say it really is me, not you.