Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Seeing the Invisible

A few years ago, when my Mom's youngest sister was in her late 60s, I asked her when she first noticed that she was invisible. She had been was is a vibrant being, and she has been the very cool aunt for my entire life. She traveled the world. She did volunteer work. She wore trendy "outlier" clothes. She decorates with an eye to the whimsical. She is a brilliant conversationalist. She is witty as hell (even though she can't tell a joke properly).

But at a certain age, as near about any woman who attains that certain age would surely tell you, all of who you are or were or do or did fades to a kind of pleasing-enough taupe to the outside world. It's not just men who no longer see you; younger women do as well. You become invisible. You don't garner glances -- surreptitious or otherwise -- as you go about your daily business. Your seatmates on airplanes don't initiate conversations. You fade into the backdrop.

I asked my aunt when she first noticed she was invisible. She had no idea what I was talking about. Good for her, I say. Good for her.

But we are invisible. We really are. IRL, we are. Online, though, we are seen. And perhaps that is the greatest gift social media has given me. We see the invisible.

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