“What?” I said as I retyped my address for the fourth time. I paid close attention to the numbers on the screen. After each push of a key, I glanced up to see what numerical sign had gone in the prescribed box. Everything was in the right order. With an abrupt tap, I hit enter. I was in need of directions from my house to a location I had not been to before. It was late, and I had to be up early the next day.
No such address exists. Please re-enter your home address.
“Don’t tell me that I am not here! I am sitting in the middle of my living room at the address I have given you four times!”
I decided to charge ahead, take my chances and see if a fifth time would do the trick. This brought on another rejection and error message forcing me to find another online map to get the desired result. According to the first site, I was not even on the planet.
A few days later I noticed the balance on my credit card bill seemed higher than normal. I had mentally kept track of the amount of spending I had done, so when I saw a number that was larger than expected, I scanned the pages of the bill looking for additional charges. This caught my eye:
Find Hot Black Men
Online Dating for Black Women
Find Your Black Soul Mate
Someone had used my credit card to find the love of her life!
Reigning in my anger, I called customer service. After the announcement that my call would be recorded along with the usual typing in of my number, followed by telling the customer service representative my number again, the last four digits of my social security number and my mother’s maiden name, I was finally able to express with some dignity,
“There are charges on my card that are not mine.”
“Which ones are you finding that are not yours?”
I told her the dates of the charges and added,
“I am really not in the market for a black man right now. I am currently in a relationship.” My sarcasm struck her as humorous.
“I understand, and I am really sorry that this happened to you. We will cancel your current card and reissue you another one. We will also send you a packet in the mail so you can put into writing exactly what has happened.”
For the first time in my life, I had been the victim of credit card theft. Fortunately, I had held the same card over ten years, so the company easily could go back and track all purchases and see that the websites accessed would not be part of my history.
The paperwork she promised arrived a few days later along with a new card. It made me wonder what type of person would steal my identity in order to find a date? What man in his right mind would want to be in a relationship with a thief and a liar? By stealing my credit card to find her dream man, she may have just set herself up to find the exact opposite.
As I began the arduous task of filling out the forms, I decided to forgive her and move on with my life.
These two events made me wonder what my significance is here. If an online map can so callously erase me from the earth without even an email notification and a desperate woman can steal my personal information, then what defines me?
I think we are given a false sense of security when we have our own passwords and user names. We feel important when we can access what belongs to us by using a unique code or string of letters and numbers. Add on to that our social security numbers, our age, our weight and height, whom we call our friends, our hair color and the brand of clothes we wear, we think we are somebody. The big glitch in the system is that all of these can be taken away or rearranged at any time leaving us feeling insecure.
We form our lives around our physical world and sometimes at the suggestions and pressure of others. If you were laid bare of all of your wordly identifiers, who would you be? Do you ever daydream about being someone else doing something other than what you are currently doing? Have you become shackled by the demands of others and this has determined now who you are? Did you envision yourself doing something really, really great, but now you find yourself living a life that doesn’t resemble what you wanted? That is true identity theft. That is the erasure of you off the planet, yet you are still living and breathing and waking up every day not living the life you want.
I have begun to understand that if I don’t live my life, who will? I see successful people living their dreams, so why can’t I? I believe the first step to living a genuine life is to fully embrace the idea that we can. As I surround myself with more teaching that is positive about how much the Creator of everything loves us, I find it easier to put a barrier between who the world says I am and who I was designed to be. The societal and cultural factors will exist around me, but I don’t have to swim so deep in it that I lose my true self.
A simple rule to follow is this: Be in the world, but do not conform to the world. This does not mean we go about in rebellion. But, we rise up and defend ourselves and why we were put here. If you can paint, then paint. If you can write, then write. Do what makes you happy and do not listen to what you cannot do. Your age doesn’t matter either. Just begin right from where you are and expect that you can be whatever you came here to do.
“Is this Boris?”
“Do I sound like I would be a Boris?”
“Not really. Well, I am looking for Boris.”
“I am not Boris. My name is Christine.”
Click. And they hang up on me…
(I have been getting calls for Boris for three years now since I have been assigned a new home phone number. I have had to respond to drug stores, dental offices, mattress factories, physcians offices, debt collectors, credit card companies and ward off car warranty people just to say…I am not BORIS!)