Once upon a time I used to think that the worst thing that could happen when you asked for something was to be told, “No“. I was wrong.
I can’t give my Mumster enough kuddos for all of the things that she’s taught me. I really can’t. Sometimes she’s said things to me that don’t make a damn lick of sense, and sometimes she comes forth with wisdom of the ages.
“I’ve become invisible,” she said to me one day. She seemed sad, and a bit worn out.
I think I was in my early thirties, and looking back on my early thirties now, I know exactly what she meant.
I too have started the slide into invisibility, and it sure as hell doesn’t feel like a superpower.
I used to be able to turn heads. I’ve had men interrupt me at dinner to tell me that I was intriguing, fly me to them, and plan delightfully romantic dates. I’ve also had those same men, lie, cheat and hold my dignity and self-esteem hostage. Through all of it, I maintained my joy, my passion and my delight in sensual things.
But I fear I am becoming invisible.
Becoming invisible may mean; being past the age where you no longer want your uterus for making babies, simplicity trumps trends, speaking truth and wisdom at work and in the world is more important than getting ahead, or, a very common sign that a woman is becoming invisible; getting passed over for service at a restaurant.
I have become more dignified than cute. In my profession I am experienced, not green. In love, I am old and no longer considered by men to be fairy-tale worthy. None of these things lend themselves well to the coy seduction of indulgence by others.
What I’m learning to grow into is also helping me learn what not to grow out of. One of those things is vulnerability in relationship; asking for the intimacy that I need, taking time to hear my friends although our opinions differ, and maturing into the letting-go role that all mothers must do.
At this age, the worst thing is not being told, “No”. It’s being ignored. It’s having your lover ignore your need for physical intimacy. It’s having your friends neglect the friendship. It’s feeling that you aren’t living your heart’s desires.
I wish I could easily point my finger and say, “Hey, it’s all your fault”. Becoming invisible is a reflection of our society’s throw-away attitude but it’s also a part of our own design.
To keep vibrant, sensual, curious and liberated means digging deeper. As we age we need to access the reserves of wisdom that we have faithfully stored throughout our life time. To do that we need to be brave enough to get rid of anything that doesn’t make us feel alive. We need to surround ourselves with lovers and friends who remind us just how brightly we shine