Funny that Mindy Kaling should mention (in her Super Bowl ad for whatever it was) feeling invisible….
When I was a girl, I was anything but invisible. Always performing, always vying for the spotlight, always labeled “social butterfly” on report cards.
At some point, that changed and I became invisible. Or at least I felt like I was invisible. And there were a lot of situations where I was happy to be the wallflower.
At work, I vacillated between wanting to be a standout for other C-level execs besides my own boss and a nameless face roaming the cubicles who no one really expected much from. I craved recognition, but also relished anonymity. And mostly, I was a top performer at the latter. (Because I also have a hard time saying no, so I try to avoid situations where I might actually be asked to do something).
But there were other scenarios (mostly social) where I was not so content to be invisible. In my 20s, I went out. A lot. To the bars. One in particular. And, not surprisingly, I drank. A lot. Because I’m socially awkward and it helped me be social.
I never wanted to miss an opportunity to be social because if I missed it, I was sure that I would not be missed by any of the other people who were out being social. As if my presence mattered, yet my absence was of zero consequence. And there was nothing worse than thinking that among my peers, I was out-of-sight, out-of-mind: utterly invisible.
And in my early 30s, I didn’t think I was very memorable. In my interactions, it seemed like most people found me pretty damned forgettable. And I readily accepted this as status quo. (To a point, of course; I can tell an asshole when I see one and I’ll have none of that, TYVM).
Truth be told, I’m not a very memorable person. I have a hard time convincing myself that people with whom I’ve shared significant time (high school) or experiences (sorority) will even remember me, as if I were a mere figment and not actually there.
Maybe this is all because I’m what they call an ambivert: equal parts extravert and introvert. Maybe it’s because I’m a closeted perfectionist, but don’t actually make an attempt at perfection for fear of failure.
So I’ve been making more of an effort to be less invisible. By pushing myself out of my
zone. Stepping up to take on roles that require me to interact with people I
normally wouldn’t. Doing things with deadlines and performance objectives to
meet; requiring skills that I need to develop. Trying to lead instead of
follow. Finding ways that I can’t just dial-it-in anymore; so that I am less
likely to make excuses, less likely to let life pass me by.
Because when you’re not living life intentionally, that is when you tend to disappear.
And maybe I’m not the wittiest, prettiest, most memorable girl you ever met (although I have allegedly been described as “charming” by a certain bunch of blue-hairs,) but I refuse to feel invisible any more. Won’t you join me?