Invisible Me

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?

I’ve never been popular. And I don’t expect to be.

Most of my thoughts are probably too esoteric for the Viral Video population while at the same time being far too simplistic for Great Thinkers. My stories are a little too subversive for mainstream consumption while being too ordinary for postpunkalyptical digestion. In conversation, I’m frequently only half-understood, and usually it’s the wrong half.

I would never be described by:

Whoa oh, it’s out at night he goes
He slips easily into conversation

That’s okay, though. Or more okay than not. For one doesn’t have to have everyone read you or understand you or like you for a pleasant life to be obtained. A carved-out social niche could be quite comfy enough for such purposes.

But how does one make such a space? A place where you are welcomed and accepted? Or at the very least one where you are acknowledged?

Such questions become doubly difficult to answer when something happens that indicates you’re going about it all wrong or, worse, that maybe there’s just something fundamentally wrong about you that keeps such a place always over there and out of reach.

I had such a recent experience with being turned down for a job.

Now it should be noted I am used to rejection. Don’t like it, of course. But I am used to it. Competition in both the writing and the job market is fierce. Submitted stories frequently get replies of Does Not Meet Our Current Needs and the same is true with employers who are Pursuing Other Candidates At This Time.

But this particular not-getting-the-job was special. Or rather not special, which is what made it all the more troubling to me.

For the employer knows me and I’ve done non-paid work for them. Still will do so, in fact, as I believe in their mission. All in all, I had always thought I was reasonably well-liked there.

They have a small staff of paid folks and when an opening came up I applied. As it was something I truly wanted to do and something I was impassioned about, I spent a lot of time on crafting cover letter and resume.

Still, I tried to keep my hopes at minimal. For like I said, the market is fierce and I know they had received a staggering number of resumes. With so many applicants vying for the same position, and with probably a great many of them also well-liked and also having done work for them, it would be unwise to have Great Expectations.

It turned out, though, that my low expectations were apparently not low enough.

For I not only didn’t get the job, I received a form letter rejection that gave no indication that the employer knew me from any other applicant on their desk. That impersonal missive hurt far more than just the “No.”

Emily Dickinson goes on to write:

How dreary – to be – Somebody!

Yet I can’t help but think how dreary it also is – to be – Nobody! Especially when I thought that I was finally becoming something else; something visible.