Thursday, January 08, 2009

my heart is healing with every kind smile

I often feel invisible. For most days of my adult life, I have felt that way at some point.

Its a peculiar invisibility. Last year at a gathering of ladies the subject came up of how the more curvaceous we became (also known as fat) it felt like there was a magic number at which we became invisible. Depending on height the number varied, but it was generally around a size 14-16 where we all perceived an invisibility cloak being thrown over our heads and we felt like we disappeared from the sight of men, except those with very creepy energy that seemed to find us to be magnetic.

Up until that point I had thought it was me. Why do we do that....think that in a world of 6 billion people that we could really be the only one to feel a certain way? But I did. Since puberty I've been one curvy girl. When the ladies spoke about this magical number where invisibility took over I felt seen. Of course there were those who could see beyond the invisibility cloak, but it felt like those were few and far between.

For so long I felt like I must just not be sending out the right energy, walking with enough confidence, or maybe there's just something I don't know that other women do. And unfortunately, the way it goes with women and their confidence it all seems to come down to 'something is wrong with me' and embodies itself in us as shame.

But this isn't meant to be a pity post. Because something is different now.

These days, travelling in the states, I feel seen. The other day I wrote in my journal

"I feel seen as a woman".

I've felt it every time I've been to the states, that the cloak of invisibility is lifted. I wonder why. Is the 'magic number' just higher? Is it just more fat-friendly here (media wouldn't make you think so)? Or am I just finally exuding confidence?

But every day here, when I walk down the streets near where I'm staying I feel seen. And its not that I feel like I'm getting hit on, or that its even a gendered experience. Every day I feel seen again and again. By kind eyes, connection. I'm 31 and I have felt invisible for 16 years. My heart is healing with every kind smile.


Brandi said...

I have to say that I often get so frustrated with the society here in the states-hearing about your positive experience gives me hope. :-)

and I think you are beautiful

chocolate covered musings said...

i'm 36 and i've been making myself invisible (or trying at least) since i was 12.

it seems to me that when i do lose weight, something shifts and i draw unwanted attention... so i put the weight back on to stay safe and unnoticed.

it's taken me a really long time to work this out and now take some positive and healthy steps to losing some weight and allowing myself to be seen, whilst also having the courage to say "it's not okay" to anyone who tries to take advantage of me looking and feeling great in my skin.

great post with some truths for my own life and food for thought definitely in here for me

emily said...

vivienne, this photo is absolutely magical! and as for feeling invisible...i feel that way sometimes, too. my insecurities have different roots, but i often fear that i do not DESERVE to be seen. as if i have nothing to offer. i find hope in your words and i'm so glad that your heart is healing!

daisies said...

i am glad that for whatever reason you are casting off the cloak of invisibility and letting others see your beautiful light. this place is obviously good for you and that makes me smile, xo