Floating

How many of you are currently living inside of your heads? No matter what’s actually happening, you are just floating through your day to day. You get through each day, functioning, doing your daily tasks but not really living in the present.

Has anyone else started worrying or thinking more about every day things that you wouldn’t have considered before? (“Started” might be the wrong word since covid has been going on for over a year now.) The slightest things I wouldn’t have noticed before stress me out now. Allergies, pain anywhere, a change in anything.

I recently looked up the timeline of the flu of 1918 to find out when things would feel a little bit more normal again. The article I read said that by spring of 1920, it was like it never happened. Overall, it doesn’t seem too bad, 2- 2.5 years of dealing with masks and quarantining. But living through it is harder than sounds. Every step we take is filled with worry and stress. The “what ifs”, the “is this the right choice”, the “should we” haunt us every day and every day after that.

We are living with loneliness even with a house full of people, the personal and professional sacrifices that some of us have made in order to deal with schooling and full time caretaking, and the lack of freedom that comes with thinking about what is necessary for the good of the community. The things that would have alleviated these feelings in the past are not options in the current state of society. The events and celebrations that we would have looked forward to have all but disappeared. We float.

It’s emotional and mentally exhausting. It’s surviving and dealing with small pieces of joy that are incredibly difficult to see. It’s feeling like things will never be okay again. It’s putting one foot in front of the other, while feeding your family, making sure they are safe and mentally okay, and giving them what they need to at least survive, if not thrive. And, in the end, what will each of us be left with?

I’m ready to get my feet back on the ground and move forward. I don’t want to float anymore.

I Was Invisible

I was invisible. I was invisible to the people I hung around. I was invisible at work. I was invisible to the dance groups I was in. Nothing I did was good enough. Nothing I did was special enough. Nothing I did was worth noticing.

I didn’t exist. I truly and honestly didn’t exist. I spent every single day, trying to find myself, to see myself. I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to become visible. I was doing everything right (at least I thought). I was in a relationship, I went out partying with people, I was in one of the more popular dance groups in the city, I was always on top of my stuff at work. I did whatever I could to make my life complete. I tried to feel fulfilled. But I couldn’t. It was never enough. Whatever I did wasn’t enough. I was still invisible.

Why couldn’t people see me? I look at my journals back then and see pages and pages filled up of misery and demands for attention. I see pages of self-loathing and pain. I sit and wonder if there ever was any happiness. Or was the happiness all just an act for the benefit of the world around me? How did I survive that way for almost an entire decade? How was did I allow myself to feel that bad?

And whose fault was it? Was it mine for expecting that people should see me? What is theirs for not opening their eyes enough to be able to see me? Was it my significant other’s job to see me or was it mine to make him see me? Was I not worth seeing? Should I have done something differently? Should I have looked at myself differently? Was it because I questioned if I deserved anything better? Was it because I blamed myself for being invisible, as if I didn’t matter?

I read and re-read these pages to make myself remember how far I have come. I do believe I am visible now but it took a lot for me to see myself at first. I had to see who I was instead of trying to see who I wanted to be. I was never going to be someone I wasn’t and maybe that’s why I never showed up on anyone’s radar. Once I accepted I was who I am, I started showing up slowly. Day by day, month by month, year by year, I saw myself more clearly.

And now, I can not only see myself but I know others see me. I know that I have some value. It took a long time to get here and sometimes, I do feel as if I disappear again. And then, the search begins again to find myself.

If you feel invisible, just remember that the first person who can find you is you. Once you are visible to yourself, you will become visible to other people. It will always be work to see yourself clearly. You will change. Your visibility will change. But once you do find yourself again, it will be easier not to feel so invisible.