Today I thought I’d revisit a post from earlier in the life of The Lies In Our Bones, Invisible. If you’re feeling Invisible today I hope you know you’re not alone–I’m a recovering Invisible girl myself.
I was standing beside my mother in line at the grocery store. I looked up at the full skirt of her dress.
I bet I could spin in that! Such are the thoughts of a 4 or 5 year old girl. I gazed up at the pretty brunette lady who was my mom, and my heart filled with warmth.
“I love you!” I said with happiness that she was my mommy, this beautiful lady.
I didn’t tug on her skirt that was waiting for a good spin, I didn’t poke my chubby little finger into her side. I knew better than to be a bother, so I stopped. I gave up being seen.
I knew the tightness in my chest and the ache in my tummy went with the feeling I didn’t have words for yet: Invisible. Unseen. My body was sad, and it was telling me through the sensations of pain and discomfort. And in time I learned to be glad for the times I was Seen, to save them up and hold the time that my sister told me how cute I looked, to absorb the kindness in a teacher’s eyes. I saved them, but in the long run I began to believe that Invisible was better. If I remained unseen by backing away and being quiet, and by trying to keep the peace by not bothering to even see myself and my needs, I didn’t get those troublesome feelings. Rather, I quit looking at them. I became Invisible to myself.
Our bodies are smart. While I was busy being Invisible to myself and realizing that with some people trying to be Visible brought more roaring and more pain, my body was trying to get my attention, to again become Visible. It was yanking on my skirt, poking me repeatedly in the side. And I kept ignoring it.
One day my body said “Enough!” and BOOM. Fibromyalgia. Constant pain and fatigue that could put me in bed, unable to cope with my regular day. BOOM. Terrible sleep became my companion, leaving me feeling like it was always 2 in the morning and I should be asleep. BOOM. Burning in my body, the feel of fire coursing through my extremities, and aching and more aching in my back, my shoulders, my torso. Simply getting out of bed in the morning was a massive act of my will.
I had to pay attention.
My flaws and frailties, my inability to stand up for myself, had landed firmly in my lap in the shape of a physical disability.
What will I do for myself today? I will listen to my body. I will risk being Visible. I will stand up for myself.
As of today, October 12, 2017, I can add one more thing I’ve learned: what’s the point of spending time with those who don’t want to see me or hear me anyway? The energy of both brain and body is a precious commodity–let’s spend it where we get the most value for currency, in relationships that build us up.
The Bring Your Own Beverage Conversation: Can you think of places in your life where you feel unheard and unseen? What about ones where you feel built up and encouraged to be the person you want to be? Which should get more time and energy?
I agree. We do need to find those we can be blessed by having a relationship with. However, once my bucket is filled to some degree- whichever degree that might be, for me to feel content, I can invest somewhat (with boundaries) into those people who are utterly without reciprocation. I mean that these people need people too. And when I can keep perspective and engage with people I receive nothing from, I gain more. My bucket can be filled by this too.
I don’t mean that as a child you could have done this. You were abused. A child needs more and more, they give back with cuteness and love, like you wanted too.
I mean as an adult who was able to be loved and filled, I can spread and give and be filled up too. Sometimes that is exhausting, and I have to retreat again. Other times it’s just what my heart needs.
You’re right of course about having those relationships with boundaries, and the self-awareness to know when you need to take space. I think it’s about the balance—always about the balance—of knowing how much we can give out with how much we need coming in. And that listening to what your body/mind/soul says is certainly key!
Thanks for your comment!