When I was 26, I started reading the outstanding Harry Potter series. At that time, I had smooth skin, shiny blonde hair, and a twinkle in my eye. People noticed me. I once was told I got a job because I was "pretty and wholesome," which is probably illegal, but since it served me well I didn't say anything. All through that series, I became fascinated by the invisibility cloak. How wonderful it would be to have one of those! To be able to skulk around, undetected, and eavesdrop, people-watch, and learn secrets. I spent an unhealthy amount of time wishing I could be invisible and undetected.
Fast-forward about 20 years. My wish has come true. I'm the Mighty Invisible Woman. The only shine in my hair comes from a bottle and serendipitous stumbles into good lighting. My skin and body have been ravaged by childbirth, sun worship, and too many Oreo Thins (which I believe will be the downfall of society). A hysterectomy and ovary removal took away any semblance of normal hormonal balance. When I go places, I am like Saran Wrap. A little stretched, a little warped, and completely see-through. I amble through crowds and my eyes meet no one's. I listen and make hilarious comments in my head about what I hear. It's simultaneously wonderful and sad.
In order to combat this, I exercise (mainly Orangetheory, which you MUST try if you are near one), I'm trying to get on a roller derby team under the name Zelda Hitzgerald (another must try - roller derby is a great way to work out aggression), and I write books with young and fun characters who will be frozen in their young and fun states. I try my best every day to do something Mighty, something new, and something unexpected, even though no one notices.
This invisibility is a hard pill to swallow by a self-admitted attention whore. But it also has its perks. I'm at an age where I no longer care if people think I dress weird, because I know they're looking right through me to the hot girl over there and don't notice anyway. I can browse, unbothered, in department stores. Creepy men don't make lewd comments on the street. I overhear some pretty shocking and enlightening things that make for great material when sharing anecdotes at parties.
But it also reminds me that I'm on the downward slope of life, which doesn't seem possible. In my mind, I'm still that 26-year-old. My aches and pains and curmudgeonly ways (these kids today!) seem to belong to a completely different person. "Look at me!" I want to shout to the younger girls. "You will be me one day, like it or not!" But let's face it. They wouldn't listen. To them, I am a mom. A lady they think they'll never be. Someone to look through and look past. I am ridiculous to think I am a Mighty Invisible Woman; I am just invisible. Just beware what you say, though, because I'm lurking there, listening, like Harry under his cloak.
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and teacher of gifted middle school students. She is the author of two novels - see the "Cate Books" page of this site for information! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.