I write a play. A book. A blog post. A dozen blog posts. Hundreds of blog posts. Articles and particles, bits and pieces, nuts and bolts. A lifetime. I write a lifetime. I write a lifetime in which the main character is invisible. Unseen. Unheard. Unnoticed. She barely exists in her own story. Or so it would seem. At times.
One thing is certain, she FEELS invisible. Technically (and ironically), she exists in the midst of hoards of bystanders: tens of thousands of social media fans and followers. Hundreds of friends on Facebook. The source of inspiration for who knows how many: One? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand? More?
And yet, still, to her/me/myself/I, just a figment of her/my/own imagination. The paradox fascinates me. It causes me to observe/search/explore. Got a flashlight or a candle? Want to open some creaky doors? Inspect a few dark corners? Who knows? We may find something joyful. Or terrifying. Maybe we’ll discover things we never dreamt possible.
Let’s play hide and seek. Let’s get lost and found. When I was a little girl, I used to stamp my foot and say:
“Listen to me Daddy. Listen to me.”
He didn’t appear to hear. If he did, he didn’t let it show. He didn’t see me. Or he couldn’t.
“Here I am Daddy! I’m smart. I’m special. I’m a girl.”
I wave metaphorically from some hidden space. I don’t know why he is/was unable to see or hear me. I never will. I think it had something to do with the ‘being a girl’ part, the part which led me eventually to become a feminist. Perhaps he was blinded and deafened by his own childhood. Maybe he was no more substantial than I.
“Because children are the lowest form of society,” he told me when I asked why I must do this thing or that. Such a belittling answer could only come from an unhappy place that existed long before I was able to ask questions.
Good advice from a helpful therapist? Don’t ask why or seek answers for some of the mysteries in your life; often, there are none. Or they are buried so deep in garbage, it’s not worth the messy effort of unearthing them. Forget it. Let go. Move on. I haven’t yet.
Sometimes, I still stamp my foot. Literally. When I do, I shake my head, laugh at myself, forgive and/or understand. Other times, I stamp my entire being. That’s less amusing, more debilitating, harder to manage.
One day, I stumbled upon a wonderful video. A time-lapse creation by a filmmaker father who captured conversations with his daughter every week for 12 years. EVERY. WEEK. FOR. TWELVE. YEARS. Apparently she was/is seen. Only she knows for sure, of course. Just as I will be the only one to know when I cease being invisible. If I ever do.
Being looked at is not the same as being seen. And being seen is also not the same as feeling seen. One day, I may feel so. When I do, I’ll let you know. Or perhaps I’ll keep it a secret: stuff the awareness up my sleeve like my mother does tissues, so she always knows where to get one when she needs it. In the meantime, here’s the video that sparked this post: