A couple years ago a gentleman friend of mine said something that stuck with me. He said, as he gets older he becomes invisible. At the time I was so immersed in being Mom and Realtor I felt far from invisible. If there are two jobs that will make you feel very overwhelmed with attention those are it. Then life changed. I turned 40 and started traveling again. All of sudden I felt it. I could walk for hours and its like no one even saw me. A slightly pudgy 40 something woman draws little attention. Traveling with friends taught me that when you aren’t the young or thin lady, men no longer clamber for your attention.
Admittedly, I took this hard. I had shut myself away for so long I hadn’t realized my world had changed. How did my value decrease so fast? Some gray hair, a couple lines on my face and extra 20 pounds and I had gained a superpower. The ability to be invisible in a room full of people. I spent a lot of time walking and thinking about this change. Self-pity was strong that day. We all deserve to wallow a little bit. I know that Facebook therapists inundate us with quotes and speeches on being our better selves. Think about it aren’t you all a little suspicious of that constantly happy and positive person? That isn’t normal. Where is your dark side? What kind of weird shit do you do to maintain this ever present happy persona?
After a good amount of stewing in my own misery I decided to find the light at the end of tunnel. That light is small but its there. It’s the freedom of not being seen by those that don’t matter. All those moments of my life wasted by men that only had one thing in mind were now in the past. Now the men in my life see me for who I am, not for what I Iook like. The attention I get now is from people who want to hear what I have to say and truly enjoy my company. In a room full of options they seek me out to sit next too. Not being seen as a sexual conquest was a hard pill to swallow. We all have to swallow it eventually. For men a little later but even they slowly disappear from that world too. Maybe we are lucky as women. We have more time to adjust to it. To learn to find our value other places. We should pity those that grasp to this feeling by letting people cut, poke and insert things into their body. It is inevitable. You can hit on and sleep with hundreds of young-ins it will never stop the hands of time.
As I walked around Cuba and New York with my headphones providing a great soundtrack to scenes that passed by I felt a freedom I hadn’t felt before. No unwelcome attention just me and a giant array of new sights and sounds. When I decide to be visible it’s with people I want in my life and the rest just fade away. As I slowly adjust to this new existence I concentrate more on things that enrich my life and feel the need for outside attention slowly fading away. Maybe being invisible isn’t a curse but a blessing.
I realized I had started getting over that hill of self pity when a man gave me unwanted attention. He slapped me on my hocks (look at this point I couldn’t tell which part is hips and which part is ass so now the whole thing is lovingly referred to as my lady hocks). He patted my backside he said, “You did good girl”. What am I a donkey? Did I just plow your field? I felt the anger rise. Not only should you not touch any woman without permission but you broke my much earned cloak of invisibility. I did not go through all that soul searching for some creepy dude to come and ruin it all.
It is rough ladies, don’t let anybody take away your right to be saddened by it. How could becoming less desirable not hurt. We can be surrounded by great friends and family but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t sting a little. Let it sting, you are allowed that pain. Then find your light. Look at all the crap young girls have to deal with while they are just trying to go for a walk or enjoy an evening with their friends. We have a certain freedom they don’t . We can now go out and drink all the wine and have all the conversations with our favorite people without interruption. Hey if you feel the need to be noticed just do what I do. Walk on a New York Subway in a Purple and gold velour track suit and a bright red trucker hat, all eyes will be on you. Put on the most audacious leopard print mumu and largest earrings you can find. For that is what we have we earned, to walk in room and declare I no longer care what any of y’all think. I will adorn this wrinkled face and lady hocks with whatever I desire, you may not want to conquer me now but you sure as hell want to know who I am.