A little less than a year ago I started working at a café in a local fitness center. During that time I have served a coworker, LS, maybe a handful of times. Yesterday, she presented me with an opportunity for growth in the form of invisibility. (YES!)
What? You mean, like, pick a superpower & you picked invisibility? Sure – sort of. I didn’t know I picked it, but I must have a long time ago! I’ve been invisible much of my life and I’ve never really understood why.
As a kid, my sisters were 9 and 10 years older than I, so let’s be honest; I was an oops. By the time I came along my parents were kinda “been there, done that.” I was basically an only child because by the time I was 10, both sisters were long gone. My older sister was married & divorced with a baby on the way, long gone. My other sister had a habit of coming home a bit intoxicated, putting a pizza in the oven, passing out, and unintentionally setting pizza fires. (It was the very early 80’s, kids.) With a new baby added to the picture, I’m basically invisible. Not to my fire-starting sister, we were joined at the heart in a way few people get to experience, but after her tragic death when I was 13, we all fell apart – individually and as a family. A few months later my maternal grandma passed away. I could go on and on, but in short, there was a lot of attention “elsewhere” for an established length of time. I was basically invisible.
Fast forward a year, the summer of my first summer camp experience with my “best friend”, who promptly upon arrival announces that everyone can ignore me, all I talk about is “my dead sister.” Gladly wore the invisibility cloak for that never-ending two-week nightmare! More losses, more tragic events, more invisibility, etc.
Back to the growth opportunity! LS came in to try one of our new smoothies the consultant who was hired to revamp our whole system created. She asked questions, had an immunity shot, and got her smoothie. Consultant moves on to address other tasks, and LS says “HEY!” I look around and realize she’s addressing ME. She then says “I have a question.” Interesting approach, I think to myself, among other thoughts! She didn’t truly have a question, she wanted to know what the consultant and I were talking about, a.k.a. gossip. I exited that conversation ASAP and continued with my tasks. A short time later she’s asking the consultant a litany of personal questions; the usual, who are you, who’s your husband, who are your kids, where do they go to school, and on and on.
She has never once asked my name, or anything else about me.
Before assuming I’m being a victim here, let me clarify that none of these words are shared so that I can appear as the helpless, abandoned, poor, poor victim. These words are shared solely for the purpose of growth opportunities, but details are what paints the picture on paper.
For about 20 minutes I wanted to ask her, SO badly, what makes the consultant so profoundly interesting and what makes me so invisible that she can’t extend the courtesy of asking my name, and instead would prefer to address her coworker as “Hey!” I played out the scenario multiple ways in my head and just couldn’t come to a positive outcome. I have no desire to initiate or continue the momentum of negativity, so unless I believe something good will come of it, I’ve learned to bite my tongue & let it go.
But I haven’t let it go completely, because I want to grow from this through understanding. I want to share it with you because I know there’s no way I am the only person on Earth who has experienced invisibility.
This story will be continued…
For now, I’d like to hear your experiences with invisibility and what you’ve learned from it.