Phenomenal cosmic… wait, what?

red_coatI’m noticing a lot of things lately about life as an invisible woman. It’s true that long ago and for a long time I was also invisible, but I was scared, and didn’t know enough to think about the upsides to this. I mean, I’ve spent a lifetime of comic book reader’s scorn for the “power” of invisibility. Power, I said? Bah, that’s lame. I used it to hide, nothing more. That was all I wanted from life, once.

But now I’m this sort of rounded sweet thing known as a Middle-Aged Woman, and it’s honestly as if I’ve fallen into this graceful spot where I get to watch everything. Nobody cares that I’m there, because I’m decidedly not a threat, not important to the story, irrelevant in fact. I don’t mean I feel irrelevant, I mean that’s the perception. It doesn’t hurt my feelings really, but it’s taking a bit of adjustment to realize what life has changed me into this time.

I’m the kindly aunt, or the sad cow, or the spinster, or the woman in the large hat who is over-focused on her flowers. Good, I say, the better to watch you all. Bad, though, I say, because I could help you so much, but you don’t even know I’m here.

Women have a habit of changing form in society as we age. I should be used to it by now I suppose. But I did spend a bit too much of life in an ivory tower, so perhaps I’m even more naive than when I began.

We begin as princesses, adorable of course, and so sweet. Never mind that I went through my childhood with messy hair and muddy elbows. People saw what they expected to see, and so I suppose I was as much princess as any other girl. That idea still makes me gag though. :P

Sometime far before we’re ready, we find we’ve magically become sex symbols, equally wanted and reviled, competing for what we’re told is the prize of a lifetime. Some of us just want to stay princesses (or keep our messy hair and muddy elbows), but this isn’t how the world works. We rarely even stop to wonder how it happened, it’s all just moving so fast and violently really.

Next stop: wife, which can still be sexy, but usually moves to mother pretty quickly. Yes I’ve heard of milfs, thank you, but the point is that we are put in boxes, and that’s that, you know? Jumping in between the boxes doesn’t exactly set one free, does it? We’re handed this purpose, be sweet, be there for sex, be there just for one, be the one who cares for everyone, and we swallow it don’t we? No, I didn’t, but it made no difference in how I was perceived, how I’ve always been perceived.

And then I suppose we come to me, now. I’m currently mostly invisible, and will probably continue to be so until I either die quietly or crash my car into someone so that they have no choice but to notice me. I’m now and forevermore the old lady in the corner cracking one-liners before the next commercial break. Well, we do notice one another, I must say. It’s a new club for me, and we see one another, which is at once reassuring and sad.

Why sad? Because we are amazing, that’s why. We are the wise(r) women, the ones who have “been there” and truly “done that” and really are writing the book. We are the ones I wish I’d met when I was  younger, although I’d have assured them that I knew what I was doing thank you very much.

I am the opposite of the Genie – Itty bitty bit of power, phenomenal cosmic living space. Now that I know what I know, what do I do with it? Well I’ll get back to you, but try to pay attention when I do, will you?

11 Comments

  1. JG Lucas

    This is BRILLIANT! I have wanted to write this forever. I’m glad I didn’t because you did it better. Course, I’VE been invisible for years. People walk into me. Actually, they do. I’ve gotten to the point that I know it’s going to happen, and I make myself VERY tall and sturdy (coming from New England farm genes, I can do that). Then when people walk into me, they tend to hurt themselves. Thank you for this. ~ the voice in the corner.

    Reply
    1. it's nothing, really... (Post author)

      Thanks JG, I’m learning to stand instead of dodging, it’s kind of fun watching the faces as they realize there was an actual person there…

      Reply
  2. Wendy

    Beautiful, true, honest and completely visible. Like I believe you are to those of us “of a certain age”. I have taken to saying (outwardly flippantly, inwardly seriously) that I’m embracing my inner crone. Despite progressive vision glasses to the contrary, she can ” see” very well. Shared. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. it's nothing, really... (Post author)

      I think I could grow to love the term “inner crone” – thanks so much!

      Reply
  3. Barbara

    Well done, oh Invisible One. I’ve had this discussion with women and men before. Great piece, Liesl.

    Reply
    1. it's nothing, really... (Post author)

      Thank you Barbara! I sometimes enjoy the anonymity, sometimes not. It does help one observe people though.

      Reply
  4. Glenda

    You spoke for me in this post. We were just speaking on this subject last weekend. By the time we are middle aged, we become invisible unless we are somehow outrageous and then we are asking for put-downs and jokes. No matter how you are loved, no one wants to listen to what you say, what you have learned, what you know so well. It is hard to stay relevant in a world where older women get so little respect. But we can’t give up. Great post.

    Reply
    1. it's nothing, really... (Post author)

      Thank you very much. I hope we at least manage to keep seeing and listening to each other!

      Reply
  5. Lisa Marie

    MESSY HAIR AND MUDDY ELBOWS. I’m the mud queen.

    Reply
    1. it's nothing, really... (Post author)

      Ah, the mud princess all grown up. Ish? :)

      Reply
  6. Rachel

    We are the wise(r) women, the ones who have “been there” and truly “done that” and really are writing the book. –Brilliant line, perfect subject. The more they make us disappear, the louder we will roar. I am here, I am here! We will be loud, no matter how small.

    Reply

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