When my kids were little, I would try to ask questions that would prompt conversation and imagination. One of those questions was: “If you could have any one superpower, what would it be?” Over the years their answers would vary anywhere from being able to fly, to breathing under water, having X-Ray vision to being invisible. Being invisible seemed cool, but only if it was like Harry Potter and his Invisibility Cloak, where he was only invisible by choice. I believe their child-like definition of invisible is much cooler than how it would actually feel if no one saw you.
That begs a question to those of you reading this; Do you ever feel invisible? As if no one sees you at all much less for who you really are? Not like a character in a Superhero movie but regular ole you. I recently listened to a podcast where this was part of the topic of conversation. The two having the conversation said it’s mostly women who feel this way. I’ll come back to this thought in a few.
I am sure that most of us have felt this way at one time in our lives or another. From a simple trip to the grocery store where it seems as if no one makes eye contact, much less smiles, or stops to allow you to go through. They each have their own agenda. I can’t say I have never been to the grocery store and in a hurry at the same time, but I know I’ve felt invisible there enough times that I try to be aware of it. I do not claim perfection but being aware of this and also having a desire to have manners, I try to slow my roll and allow others to go through all while attempting a friendly smile or kind word. It’s amazing the warm reception you get when you shop this way.
I saw a meme recently that read, “It’s better to be the one who smiled that the one who didn’t smile back”. Find your smile folks, even at the grocery store. But that’s not the only place I’ve felt invisible. I’ve even felt this way in my own home and with my own family. Which brings me back to the comment of it being mostly women who feel this way. I don’t necessarily believe that’s true, but I can see how we, as women, assume the identity of our families. We place our needs behind that of our husbands and children, even at times behind our parents and siblings. Our careers come next and before you know it, you forget who you are and what sets your soul on fire. I’ve really been working on this part of myself lately. Not trying to claim victim status of “you don’t see me, I’m invisible,” but recognizing that I am responsible for my own happiness. I am in charge of reconnecting with the parts of me I feel have gotten lost. I have been doing a lot to quiet my mind and reach for what’s on the inside, really listen to what and whom I want to be. It’s hard, yo! When you’ve got a million tasks to do for your family, work and just LIFE, to sit quietly can feel like torture.
As I write this, I think about all of the men and women who just exist. Those who get up each day and just do the same thing day-in, day-out and are content to just be. If that is all that your heart desires, I’m cool with that, but I bet if you quieted your mind and really thought “what do I want, what do I dream about?” you would come up with something more than just complacency.
I once worked with someone who appeared to be more confident than I was. When it came to writing something for work, I would always ask her to assist me, correct me, proof my writings because I had such a fear of looking stupid. One day she said to me “I know you say you’re not a writer…” I didn’t even hear the rest of her statement because it punched me in the gut. I wanted to punch her back for saying that, but then I realized, she’s just affirming who I have always told her I was, or in this case, wasn’t. I am a writer. I always have been. I wrote in middle school, high school and a LOT in college. And then I had children and the voice in my head went silent. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kiddos but my inner voice was so tired, like many other parents, that I didn’t hear it for a long while. So I’m now learning to quiet the noise and listen. I am a mile out of my comfort zone in writing this, but when I stopped and listened…I had a lot to say. And I bet in your own creative way, you have a lot to say too.
Something I’ve come to realize is we make ourselves invisible. We stop making eye contact and smiling at the grocery store. We stop listening to ourselves and then we’ve got nothing to say. Find your tribe and ask questions, open up about who you are and they’ll do the same. That way you’ll see each other. Lean into them and take off your Invisibility Cloak.
Be well my friends, Leigh