Friday, March 20, 2009

Being Invisible

For most of my life I've been invisible.

I was a kid in a poor region of Kansas and I was a bookworm. For as active and as I was, I was pretty quiet and unobtrusive. In grade and middle school I always had my nose in a book and was a teacher's pet for the teachers who earned my respect. I was a quiet thorn in the side of teachers who were too stupid, unenlightened, or unimaginative to earn my respect. But generally I blended into the background a lot.

I didn't avoid life. I had a lot of acquaintances, not a lot of close friends. I moved from group to group...jocks to tokers to slackers to cheerleaders to nerds and back again. I wasn't particularly slim or typically pretty or interested in dressing "right" growing up either, and that's apparently a lot about getting noticed. I preferred the benefit of being able to observe and watch others. They were interesting. Besides, being a center of attention never really seemed appealing. I would have had to work really hard to be the center of attention and there just weren't a lot of benefits to it. Too much negative attention and too many people just wanting to use you. It also seemed a little petty and selfish, too. It ranked really low on my cost/benefit analysis scale. Something I've lived by for quite a while. How much the benefit outweighs the cost directly translates into how much effort I put into something.

In the past week I've felt a huge erosion to my superpowers of invisibility. Wearing makeup, hair color changes, wearing nicer clothes, and dropping this weight - things I'm naturally doing and not really doing for anyone in particular except myself - it's really changed the way people interact with me. They notice me. Look at me. Comment on how "You're recreating yourself!" "You look really great today" "I'm really impressed with your strength of will and determination" "You look so good!" etc....

This isn't me complaining people are commenting positively on me, but rather the realization I'm uncomfortable with people noticing me. Before, people only noticed me when I wanted them to notice me. Now people I don't know/don't care about are paying attention to me. It's different and odd. I don't believe people should notice me unless I want them to. This doesn't change my goal and I'm not going to live my life any differently than I have been, but this is a paradigm shift I wasn't really prepared for. It's strange, sometimes, how when you accept and go after a goal you encounter side effects on your life you weren't expecting.

This is one of them. I've lived almost all of my life invisible and I'm not sure I know how to proceed being seen.

No comments:

Post a Comment