“The dichotomy of being invisible – yet- aching to be seen”
For most of my life, I have felt like a contradiction. In many ways I have felt torn. Torn between countries and roots, girls and boys, good and naughty. It was/is hard being a people pleaser and a sensitive one at that.
I am unearthing a whole lot of things that have kept this contradiction in place and today I came across a very old (or is that young?) vow. I need to be invisible.
I was born into a big family and many had hoped that I was a boy so in a way my birth was met with a disappointment, much like many a baby girl’s birth worldwide sadly. I took this seriously. Yet I was a few seconds old, so how can I know this? Because as early as I can recall, I felt fundamentally flawed. Somehow being a girl wasn’t good enough, so I tried to be the best tomboy I could be, and when that didn’t work, I made myself invisible.
At primary school I did my very best to be a model child, obedient, bright and eager- yet somehow I never felt seen. I was one of those teacher’s pets, and took great pride in being complimented on being a good girl, yet I was never rewarded for it. High school came and the rebel kicked in, but still a ‘good’ rebel. I found a confidence that I projected onto the world and I did some crazy things, but I still never really felt seen.
Fast forward many years and I find myself being complimented for being ‘low maintenance and easy’ yet it no longer feels like a compliment. My invisibility has made for me not speaking up when I should, not saying no, and not charging what I am worth. I made myself small and not needing much yet there is a part of me that feels like Katy Perry and wants to’roar’. It sometimes spills out when defending the weaker or bullied people, yet I cannot blow my own trumpet. Who am I to make a noise? I dodge rude people thrusting their weight about on pavements or shopping aisles, I apologise if they bump into me, and I am often caught holding the door open for too many people (although that is usually in Glasgow). People talk over me, or interrupt my conversation and I passively melt back in to the shadow.
Yet I love giving public talks and revel in the joy of an audience. I blab constantly on Facebook and at the same time, find my writing voice. I give presentations and workshops and relish the feeling of helping people. I love the idea of being on radio, and when feeling very very brave, will admit – TV. Oprah is a role model, yet I could never push myself that much.
Instead, I hide. I keep quiet (mostly) and mind my tongue. I be a ‘good girl’. I stay modest, build others up, work hard and don’t expect too much. Yet that is only a part of who I am. The full version of me is unfolding and I am realising the power of this young girl’s vow to stay invisible. Now I have the tools and power and desire to change it.
Still a work in progress!