Pronunciation: /in-viz-uh-buh l/
“He extended his hand: It seemed to meet something in mid-air, and he drew it back with a sharp exclamation. ‘I wish you’d keep your fingers out of my eye,’ said the aerial voice, in a tone of savage expostulation.” – from The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel invisible. It happens to me most whenever I enter a group chat or am waiting for a reply from someone. Those moments, I feel as if I am worthless again, just like I used to feel all the time when I was a teenager. Like I just don’t matter. Because group chats seem to fall silent whenever I write something and people never reply to my texts.
The stupidity of it is that I mastered the art of being invisible myself. I am an invisibility-autodidact. In fact, if I’d learn karate of kung fu, I’d be one heck of a ninja. And if I’d be a superhero, invisibility would be my power.
It started when I was in high school and the bullying/terrorising began. My mother always told me if I’d just ignore the bullies they’d lose interest, but unfortunately it turned out mother’s aren’t always right.
My next plan was to blend in, but I’ve never been good at that (and I’m still not). I now realise that’s not a bad thing, but being different in high school is like getting a “please pick on me”-tattoo on your forehead.
My third and final plan was to become as invisible as possible. As long as I never said anything during class, never stepped out into the spotlight or made myself known, people wouldn’t notice me. And if they wouldn’t notice me, they couldn’t bully me.
Sadly, this worked perfectly, but I’d never have imagined it would become a way of life rather than just an escape plan. By the time I figured this out, though, it was too late to reverse the cycle. It had become a part of me and I was doing it automatically, like breathing. Just… shrinking away into oblivion.
Today, it makes me upset whenever people ignore me. I know I am the only one to blame, because even though I’ve improved a lot, I still haven’t fully learned to be noticeable. It’s easier to revert to my old behaviour, because it’s grown custom, than it is to speak up and ask for what I want.
And what I want is attention. What I want is people to reply to emails and text messages, rather than ignore me for days! I feel like such a loser when I receive a text from someone and reply within hours of it, only never to hear from them again, or to have to wait for their reply for a week (or longer). And even then it’s never satisfactory.
But what I feel most of all is rejection. I know it’s stupid, but because I am so scared of being hurt, I get hurt easily and all the time (talk about a paradox).
What got me upset tonight is that my best friend, also with commitment issues, is kind of hooking up with someone after a good month of flirting. In my case, there’s a guy that’s been hinting he likes me for over a good four years and he’s never asked me out! I know I can be cold, but I honestly thought we had something of a flirt going on lately. Apparently not.
And no, I can’t ask him out, because I don’t know if my brains will have another breakdown when I do. My commitment issues, originating in my head, tend to hold my entire body in their grasp. Imagine panic attacks, sleepless nights and strong urges to flee the country. Exactly.
So my plan was to wait for him to ask me out, since I think I sort of like him, and to see how I would react to that. Plus I was sure he fancied me and it’d only be a matter of time.
But unfortunately, I am invisible. My blessing has become my curse; my texts are left unanswered and all signs of interest from his side have faltered.
I know that’s okay, but sometimes (like now) it just makes me uneasy, unhappy, uncomfortable with myself and angry. That I am who I am, and fail to be normal.
Of course I hope that whatever is going on between my best friend and her fling will work out. I love her and wish her the best in life. But I can’t help wondering what it must be like: seeing someone. Or rather, someone seeing me.