1. Not visible; not perceptible by the eye. – Dictionary.com1
2. You can’t see me, I’m a ninja. – The Nut
I have a habit of disappearing in plain sight.
I don’t exactly know how I acquired this power or exactly when, but it’s been one of my strengths as long as I can remember.
Of course, when I was a teenager and meaning of life was being popular, I considered this less of a strength and more my worst nightmare. I had friends, supposedly, but despite my efforts to be engaged and interesting at social gatherings, I would always be talked over and ignored.
It wasn’t intended maliciously, as far as I could tell, but it struck a nerve all the same. So eventually I would decide that being intentionally invisible was preferable to being unintentionally invisible, and I’d fade into a quiet corner to wait for my absence to be noticed.
It never was.
I didn’t understand. Were these people my friends or weren’t they? Wasn’t someone finally going to wonder aloud, “Wait, where’d Nutty go?” and start looking for me? “Hey you, come on, you’re missing all the fun!” they were supposed to say when they finally found me, taking me by the hand and leading me back to the party.
But it just didn’t happen. So after a half hour or so, I’d give up on the waiting game and rejoin the party, because at least getting the odd word in edgewise was better than sulking on my own in a corner.
At least that’s what I thought, for a while. But it wasn’t long before even that was too unbearable and I opted to just stop accepting invitations out at all, because if I was going to be bored and lonely either way then I might as well cut out the middle man and be disappointed on my own terms instead of letting others do it for me.
Flash forward to today, when people inexplicably find me funny and likeable and genuinely enjoy listening to what I have to say, and all of a sudden my cloak of invisibility is all that stands between me and certain mental breakdown in the face of overly chatty office mates or masses of tipsy strangers at corporate outings.
As one more well-meaning coworker comes over to ask me all about my recent vacation, I start to wonder why the me of all those years ago was so anxious to be noticed when being in the spotlight can be such a pain in the ass. Being liked is enjoyable; I can’t truthfully argue otherwise, but it’s also exhausting. And after working so hard in recent times to perfect my “I don’t give two shits what any of you people think of me” aura in the face of near-crippling social anxiety, even the enjoyment feels like a bit of a step backward.
So when it gets to be too much, I play to my strengths and vanish.
No “backward” to step to if you don’t exist.
Today’s blog post was brought to you by the letter I, the number 0, and the Mrs. Cellophane Challenge, AKA the Blogging A to Z Challenge.
1 “invisible” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, 2016. Web. 11 April 2016.