I was struck by something very strongly at work this last week. First of all, let me share with you that I landed a job. Nothing big mind you, but a great place with young people who have a lot of energy. In this young environment, I am also learning new words for desciptions, for instance, no matter your gender, you are called a “dude”.
Anyway, back to my initial thought. All my life growing up I felt invisible; insignificant. Unless of course something was needed of me, good or bad. But then I would quickly be dismissed as unimportant. I didn’t realize until now that perhaps this was why I acted out as a teenager, looking for attention, to be noticed so I would feel important. That I mattered.
As I grew into a young married woman of 21 I thought for sure I was loved, which of course would make me important, and when you are important, you are visible. Five years later I would learn he had married me for his image, because all the men his age and in his business were family men. After our first year of marriage I decided we should have a baby. That for sure would make others take notice of me, I would be important. I loved all the attention I was receiving during my pregnancy. After my son was born all the attention was on him. I loved him dearly mind you, however, I had no way of knowing how to be an unselfish, doting mother. I was so insecure and needed the attention to be on me, I needed to be the center of attention! It shames me to write this.
Over the last few years I have developed very important and dear friendships. I have women in my life and a husband who shows me he truly loves me for who I am today. My son is grown and although we don’t see him much, we have a good relationship. All these gifts have helped me to believe and feel I matter, and not because I do anything! What a shocker.
And yet, there are many days, hours, that I feel invisible unless I am with friends or at socials. I have learned early on my sense of humor makes people take notice and like me. But again, it is only for short moments.
At work yesterday I noticed all the young guys giving this pretty mature blond a lot of attention. A small part of me felt envy and sadness at the same time. I envied her youth which caused me to feel sadness as I knew in my heart those days were gone for me. Throughout the day I realized I was virtually invisible to the majority of my young co-workers. Now mind you I was not angry or upset, just aware. On my way out I said good bye to a couple young guys who were talking and got no response. That is when it hit. All the denial or excuses of why I was no longer impressionable was swept away. I was thirty years older than most of the people in my new workplace. Old enough to be their mothers, maybe even a grandmother to some! Once again I began to feel invisible, disposable. No longer needed or seen as worthy and productive to the working class.
Did you know that if you google your name, right underneath your name, will come up in large bold print, your age! So there is no need for employers to call you in for an interview and risk being accused of age discrimination; they simply look up your age and don’t call you. I know this to be true because I had applied for jobs in the homecare industry that I was more than qualified for, and never received a call! Homecare! Taking elderly people shopping, cleaning their homes, writing letters. And I was never contacted in spite of my years of experience and passion for the elder generation.
I feel depressed at times lately. I look down and see old, arthritic fingers, wrinkled hands. Not a pretty sight and great way to tell my age. And if I should forget to look for whiskers or those long black hairs that grow on face since menopause, I am horrified when I do find one. The embarrassment is so strong thinking about all the co-workers I talked with that day had seen it! There was a time when the important thing to do before going off to work was make up! Now its hairs!
So, I have an important task a head of me. It is time to get off the pity pot and begin planning projects and activities that bring me joy and confidence. And most important, doing these activities!
I love writing, but was unable to take the classes to help grow in this craft. So I do the best I can. I am more of a personal experience and thoughts person, as opposed to writing books and stories. Writing about experiences and personal thoughts helps me to feel anyone reading these posts will know they are not alone.
So, it is a new year. A year to explore and grow in my spirit and soul. A year to experience new and exciting adventures right here in my own back yard! I will have to walk through fears, but I must believe I can do it. It is only in this way that I will overcome this sense of invisibility.