so tess asks: “What would it take to make you feel ‘visible’ in real life?”

and i think and think. and i do not know if i know. for one thing, i believe that the high school verson and the current version are very different. back then, i felt that way because i was not acknowledged by the ‘popular’ people, and my reaction was twofold: (a) do things, which i thought were unlame, but i was (apparently) wrong about that, because any noticed they got me was never good, and (b) hang out with a batch of similarly socially impaired kids, talking long shit about how we did not care one bit about the popularity. we sneered at the jocks and the rah-rahs. they were shallow hollow fluff, while we were deep and real. this sneering did not stop the longing for recognition.

and today it’s different. today i don’t have a large potential social circle in r/l, just work, and i don’t feel any desire whatsoever to be included in their social stuff. i have a flawless, unbroken record of failing to attend company events. if they have a potluck i forget to bring stuff. the only ones i chatter with at all are really the geeks in the datacom division, because they are geeks, and geeks are interesting. aside from that, the rest of them are all such normal, office-y people, and i know better than to try and integrate myself into any office hierarchy. disaster lies there. it’s best i don’t share my eccentricities with regular folk.

why did i use the term invisible then? it’s an issue of presence. some people have it, and i … well for one thing, i have noticed that with aging (and the fact that, let’s face it, i’ve let myself go. i’m matronly. i don’t wear makeup, my hair’s mousy and usually messy, and i wear the same pair of jeans all the time along with some voluminous shirt), comes less visibility. we look at the young — either with apprehension or appreciation of their youth. we look at beauty — or at deliberate ugly like clowny makeup or spandex on the obese. but, much like my seven year old grey buick, i seem to be flying under the radar of most of the world. i’m meek and unassuming. i’m patient and polite (no really). i don’t make noise or waves. not that i don’t want to, on occasion, but i have that part of my impulse control problem more or less handled. i wish i could unhandle it at times, but no.

so as i move through the world, mild mannered and frumpy, no one looks. i suppose it could be said i do this on purpose, so why do i mind? i don’t. i’m plenty visible right here, moreso than i could ever manage in r/l no matter what effort i put into it. and this, this presence, comes not effortlessly but with much energy and delight. i like this. i can do this.

12 thoughts on “invisibility

  1. Oh dru has said it right! I am in my alter ego, the mild mannered professor with the bizarre office, who’s slightly goofy and has no social life. I interact with kids and coworkers in professor-mode. Otherwise I’m definitely under the radar. I’m not even sure where to go to get picked up on the radio. I’m not the alter ego, but I so rarely feel like I get to be Batgrl. Actually even as batgrl I’m often invisible. People have often talked over me in conversations. I get ignored or forgotten in restaurants or stores. I think I’m probably a lot more dull in meatspace than in blogland. But my brain is an amusement park! So I guess somehow that’s ok.

  2. I fly under the radar too. Frumpy, unassuming clothes. Not the flashy miniskirts, heavy makeup, and stiletto heels of my 20’s. I’ve also had people cut in line or bump right into me. It is at that specific moment that I am able to find my voice. Usually, it’s “excuse me, dipshit. did you not see me? Heeelllloooo…no, dear screw you.” I guess you can say I’m a snake in the grass. Slithering along, minding my own business…and snap my fangs around someone’s ankle when they least expect it. So, I’ll continue to fly under the radar. It’s much more fun, and you meet the most interesting people down here.

  3. Do you actually want to be visible? I worked very hard in my younger life to be invisible and definitely feel more comfortable that way. IRL at least, I don’t like it when people notice me!

  4. I guess this blog is like an alter-ego for you. Here you’re the flame with all the moths circling around it. Here, KD, you rule.

  5. Well said, kd. The only thing saving me from complete transparency in high school was the fact that I single handidly saved our school tennis team from obscurity and embarrassment. I always knew that I had more going for me than the socialites. Sure, they had more money, more popularity – but I was funny and I was deep, so I knew that I was a more quality person. School days leave indelible marks, though, on ones psyche, and I still to this day feel self-conscious physically from all the times I was called “ugly” because of my freckles. Those little pricks with cooties… may they curse of impotency afflict them often and prolongedly…


  6. As an ex-extravagantly dressed, attention-getting punkrockchick, I hear you loud and clear. Even after I shed the freaky clothes and make up 12+ years ago, I still had the unattached, effortless “cute” vibe. Two kids and several pounds later, I am completely invisible. POOF. Like, people actually bump into me, and unknowingly cut in front of me in lines and stuff.

    I think it’s fairly common. I like to think of myself as “incognito” as opposed to “invisible.” But…and you know lil old political me…I suspect this invisibility thing is really a political thing, too. I suspect it does have some sexism embedded in there. Somewhere.

    Anyway, great post.

    I would totally hang out with you all the time, by the way. Until you shooed me away. I think you are too incredibly cool!

  7. wow, the part about people bumping into you and accidentally cutting in front of you in line? got one of those big exactlys out of me. that happens to me all the time.

  8. heh, here’s another me too. i went into radio because i’m a closet attention freak who can’t stand to have people look at me. when i briefly lost weight, i felt so uncomfortable with being visible for the first time in my life that i was very relieved to see the familiar frumpy me return. i like being invisible because i can get away with so much more.

  9. I enjoy my invisibility (is that a word?) a lot. There are “the pretty people” and then there are the rest of us. Personally, I like the peace & quiet of my life, and could care less about the r/l social circle. Ok, most of the time. Somedays I care. Overall though, life is good. Great post by the way!

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