Ever since I turned 50, I have read about the idea that as women age they become ever more invisible in our society. I have wondered why I don’t feel this way for years. This week I discovered the reason.
I have always felt invisible. Invisible is normal for me.
I grew up feeling invisible. My parents couldn’t see me. They could barely see themselves. In my house, nobody knew who they were. No one could see beyond their looks and achievement, and no one had anything to give to anybody else. Because my parents grew up not being seen by their parents, they could not see themselves or me.
And it felt somehow safe to be invisible, especially as I got into junior high and high school. I tried being more visible once in ninth grade. I was actually semi-popular for a while and that didn’t feel good, so I escaped into invisibility again. Because I no longer knew who I was, others couldn’t see me either. Years later I spoke to a few people who went to high school with me. Nobody remembered me at all, even after I showed them a picture.
Was I ever really there?
This is how it works. My parents projected onto me their distorted view of themselves, believing that I was just a smaller version of their own woundedness. They judged me harshly, just like they judged themselves. So confusing. They would tell me I was a certain way when I felt completely different inside. They would tell me I was careless and irresponsible, when I felt overly responsible for everything in the world, especially them.
Now that I’m seen and appreciated fully in my life, I realize how lonely and heartbreaking it was to feel so invisible. To fit in, I adopted the world’s view of me and stopped acknowledging my own essence, my own Self. My own wonderfulness!
When I moved to a much smaller town recently, I found this interesting. I again felt invisible. I recognized immediately those who wish to ignore me. I avoid them, because I know what an amazing, interesting, intelligent person I am.
So much fun to see and know!
I’m new here in rural southern Colorado. After two years I decided to compile a short journal about the ups and downs of moving from a good-sized city to rural America to build a passive solar home. It’s fine to ignore me, but please don’t ignore my new book! I wrote this while we were adjusting to rural life after years in Fort Collins and Loveland Colorado: