This weekend, a set of very formal-looking papers arrived in the mail with my name on them. I didn't recognize the sender, but opened the mail anyway to see what kind of surprise I might have earned. (Don't you just love getting mail? I do.)
As it turns out, this was not a good surprise. This was a case of mistaken identity.
The enclosed papers informed me that a timeshare I apparently own with a woman named Shauna (same last name) is heading into foreclosure through the title company's trustee because we are $2600 past due on membership association fees. Or something crazy like that.
I took the information and spent some time online researching to see whether this was legitimate or a scam; it seems legitimate. So I spent this morning crafting a letter, copying the papers (for my records, in case I ever need the company's contact information again), and preparing to mail this all back to them with my note, which says, "I am Aidan, but not that Aidan. I don't own a timeshare, have never been in one, and don't know Shauna. I am hoping you will resolve this quickly. Sorry about your luck." (Maybe not that last line.)
If it's not me, then why bother? Because I have outstanding credit, and I don't know fully how credit reporting works, but if they try to take a foreclosure onto my credit report based solely on my name and an address I'm sure they found on Google because they can't find the deadbeat, then I want to make sure I take care of this and maintain my reputation. And of course, who knows...maybe the real Aidan wants to know about his timeshare troubles.
I'm assuming it is a 'he' because the name is attached to Shauna, a female name. And because I guess my name (which was uncommon when I obtained it) is male-dominated now. Actually, I know that's true.
To be honest, this mistaken identity is not a first for me. I've spent my life kind of in the middle, where people think they know what they're getting but aren't really sure. I've had my head shaved and worn baggy guy clothes in that awkward teenage phase and been mistaken for a guy. I've spent some time alone and with a bunch of male friends and been mistaken for a lesbian. I've been called in on job interviews then told when I arrived that "we were expecting a guy," and then - surprise! - I never get the job offer, though I was fully qualified based on my skills and name alone. My own bank always asks me to verify my identity when cashing a check or depositing money because the name on my account is Aidan, and I guess in this testosterone-laden-Aidan society, I don't fit the part.
It's not a complaint. I mean, it's not fun, but it's not really my call. I suppose I will battle it my whole life. Though I am glad that since growing out my hair and adopting a new wardrobe (Rock These Curves!), little kids no longer call me "he" or put me in the "boy" category when counting the number of boys and girls in the room. (My niece loves to do this.) It's nice to be a woman.
But I'll tell you this about identity - it doesn't matter anyway. What I mean is: if you know who you are, then that is enough. And if you know who God says you are, then even better. A few weeks ago, I commented on my Facebook and Twitter pages that I think God is waiting for us to ask Him the same question that He asked Peter: Who do YOU say I am?
Who, Lord, am I?
I spent a lot of years trying to figure that out, and I think I'm finally on the right track. I know who I am, who God created in me, who He intends me to be, and what He blesses in me. I'm only very saddened that I spent so much time trying to figure all that out through a world that can't figure out who I am by their own standards.
That said, the doorbell just rang: a certified letter regarding my timeshare. I told the mailman - that's me, but that's not me. So he's sending it back refused, and I'm still sending the letter I prepared. Hopefully, they can sort this all out and figure out who I really am. Or at the very least, who I'm not.
In the meantime, I'm content in knowing.
Who are you? Who does God say you are and how does that contrast with what the world is trying to tell you? If you don't yet know who you are, then do you at least have a sense of who you're not? That is one step in the right direction.