What does it mean to be invisible?
Invisibility does not mean that no one ever notices me or speaks to me. On the contrary, I get spoken to often. I know many people, and I even run into people when I go to the store. Invisibility in my case means I get overlooked. People think they know me, but they really don’t. There are about 4.3 people in the whole world who actually know me, know how I feel and know what I think. There are others who think they know me. Then, there is the vast majority of the people around me – they don’t actually care what I feel, know or think. They are nice enough to me, but they don’t actually care past the generic conversation of, “How are you?” and, “Fine, thanks.” Thus, the feeling of invisibility.
Invisibility means getting overlooked for recognition at work. It means, even if you have striven for excellence, you will be deemed mediocre. It means not getting invited to parties or other social events. It means, in a social setting, the chair beside me will be the last one to be filled. Then, whoever fills it will turn to the person on the other side of them and chat with them the whole time. Meanwhile, I’ll sit in silence, unless one of the 4.3 people who really know me happen to be at the event with me. Then, I’ll talk to them.
I would guess many people reading this understand what I’m talking about. You get it, because you, too, are invisible. You are forgotten, overlooked, misunderstood and disregarded. Join me. We’ll form a club. I’m not sure how we’ll meet though, since we probably won’t notice each other in public.
If you are reading this and thinking, “I have no idea what she is talking about,” well, then, bless your heart. You are part of the other side of life…the remembered, the invited, the cared for and the appreciated. You’re probably skinny too. And pretty. And you have good hair. If you don’t understand my words, you can stop reading now. You’re fixed! Congratulations! Now, go eat some chocolate and RSVP to that party invitation you just got in your inbox.
Is anyone still with me? Yes? Great! Well, great for me. Bad for you, because it means you are invisible. Sorry about your luck.
I’ve been dealing with this phenomenon now for enough years that you would think I would have it figured out, but I don’t. Most of the time, I can ignore it and just go on with my business. However, every once in a while, something big enough happens to smack me in the face. That happened recently, and boy, did it hurt. Sometimes, I can bounce back quickly, but this time, I’m struggling to pull out of the bad mood funk this hit created.
I don’t have the answers to invisibility. I don’t know how to make others care about me or notice me. I’m pretty sure it’s not possible, because I’ve been trying for 41 years.
Back when the Beetle was little, I used to plan activities and get-togethers for kids his age and their mothers. I hosted parties. I hosted teas. I cleaned my house for people to come over. As long as I planned the events, I was included in the fun. However, I got overwhelmed and had to stop doing so much. I quit planning as many activities. Before I knew it, I was hearing about activities that were taking place without me. There were birthday parties, picnics, swimming parties and more, all involving the children I had been hosting at my house. At that time, I still believed I could overcome the invisibility (I was young and naïve), so I went to a mom who was planning an event. I told her I had heard about the event but I hadn’t gotten an invitation, and I asked if we were invited. She said of course we were and she would send the invitation to me. I never got it. Shocker. I went back to the same mom and asked her if I had done something to offend her or anyone else in the group. She said not that she knew of. I told her I was feeling really left out and asked if there was a reason we were not being included. (Man, I was bold in my younger years!) She apologized and said I must have been overlooked but they would include me in the future. I never got invited to another event with that group.
I’m not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me or to make you say, “Oh, we love you! We do!” I know people care about me. I know, if I needed anything, there would be people who helped me, showed concern for me and took care of me. Many people have proven that in the past in times of trouble. In that way, I am not invisible, and for all the help we have been given in times of trouble, I am eternally grateful.
The invisibility I’m talking about is more of a day to day phenomenon. At work, at church, in the grocery store and in life, I am invisible. I'm not asked. I'm not invited. I'm not recognized. I'm not remembered. I’ve been struggling to write, struggling to comment on Facebook and struggling to live life because my invisibility has kicked my butt lately. I was hesitant to post this blog, because I don’t want pity. There is nothing to receive pity about. I don’t want extra attention. I don’t want people to try to convince me that they can see me. I just wanted to share. My hope is, if there are other people out there who feel invisible, this post will help them. Like I said, I don’t have answers, so I can’t help you by solving your problems. However, I hope knowing there is someone else out there who is invisible might encourage you. If you’re in a grey funk like I’ve been in for the last week, I hope the fog lifts soon. And I hope you are seen. -Al