The lie of “dispensability”

Early last year, on a grey evening(2013), I walked down a short, but steep street, and came to a place where it was crossed by a busy thoroughfare. I looked one way, and the way was clear. Looking the other was a bit trickier, because there was a corner whence cars would zoom unexpectedly. So I paid special attention, and finally that way too, was clear. I stepped out, and lo! I met a car coming from the right! I knocked their wing mirror off. Thankfully, they were so happy about me not being dead, that they didn’t blame me for the damage to their car. I seemed fine, so l walked home.

And sat on my bed shaking, with spectacular bruises blossoming on my ribs and leading knee. And as l shook, l considered again and again, how one step further…

Needless to say, my friends were not amused. Most especially not amused were my boyfriend-to-be and my friend Zac, who kept bringing up the story: “Say, has Teresa told you about the time she walked into a car?”.

I may be a little dense, but l picked up somewhat of a dismay at the thought of losing me. 

Now in good old Teresa-fashion, that should have had me thinking “This is curious. Needs looking into”…but in this case, it struck a bit closer to home than intellectual curiousity. 

Because I’d been struggling for a couple of years with the idea that, when all’s said and done, everything I do, and every role I have, even every relationship is easily replaceable…extrapolated out into the idea that people wouldn’t really miss me if I died. So this incident made me realise that to these close friends of mine, it didn’t matter that they could get another close friend, because they’d lose me. So regardless of how replaceable my role is, I myself am irreplaceable. Because l am “me”-a unique bundle of abilities and aspirations, weaknesses and absurdities, attitudes and experiences…

This is good news.

This means that if l lose my job, or a relationship ends, l won’t lose any reason for living-because l am more than what l do.

This means that l can answer those annoying questions like “what do you have to offer our company”…by considering what would be missed about me if I left.

This means that l myself have some intrinsic valuable. l’m not a waste of anyone’s time, attention, or resources.

It means that l can say with full confidence the same of you. You are valuable. You aren’t a waste of my time. You have something to offer that noone else has.

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