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:
12 thoughts on “Invisible Me”
This piece was absolutely beautiful Laura! I see you!
THANKS you old HELLION! LOVE your name!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Pingback: Invisible Me – Tales From A Mouthy Mermaid
Loved this Laura!!!!! As a 60+ I understand. Thank you.
I see–and hear you–loud and clear. Thank you for a touchingly honest post.
Wow- that negative scripting we get as children can be so difficult to break. You go girl! You are terrific and very visible to me!
I can so much relate. There is comfort in being invisible. Great piece.
See, I knew I wasn’t alone in my lifetime of invisibility! I was actually surprised when I spoke to those men from high school and they only remembered my best friend, who had a great body and was a diving star on the swimming team. I did a great job of fading into the woodwork!
This is so heartbreaking, Laura. Knowing you from your writing, all of those people missed out on a genuine wonderful opportunity.
Let’s just say I’m so glad I know you! 🙂
Thank you Diane! So glad I met you here too!
I know just how you feel as I was raised the same way. I, too, am trying to come out of my shell and change my attitude now. It’s so easy to fall back into old traps but at least now I’m aware when I do it and I understand that the problem is most likely in how I’m behaving rather than in the other person. I’m still learning how to change when I recognize there’s a problem but baby steps, right?
Awareness is the key Katy! Baby steps…