We Are Not As Invisible As We Believe Ourselves To Be

The title of this post comes from a tweet I wrote the other day. Which came from a post I wrote on the day that Oblivious (by Fernanda Suarez) pulled me out of oblivion on tumblr and rocked my world with a huge dose of the awesome unexpected.

Today when I visited Twitter I found that the tweet had been made Tweet of the Day by a very lovely Twitterer. I did a cartoon double-take with sound effects, then I felt so overwhelmed by the gesture, so tenderly touched and loved, that I wanted to hide and savour it.

I never know how to behave when people give me a compliment, do I hit them and tell them to get a grip of themselves or do I hug them and shower them with kisses.

I often read tweets and wonder what is the story behind them. What inspired the words. Sometimes I can guess, because it speaks to me about my own life, and we often share similar experiences, though how they affect us is very much an individual thing.

The story behind my tweet is one I know many people share. The feeling that we are somehow invisible, that others don’t see us, and when they do, they often fail to see who we really are, and only see what they want to see. Which is very confusing. Frustrating. We want and need to be noticed, but for who we are. Being noticed for who we are not, makes us very sad, but we often accept it because it is better than not being noticed at all. Occasionally who other people think we are seems so much better than who we think we are. We want to be that person, but we are not sure how, if it is possible, and if it is the right thing to do.

Life is full of paradoxes. It is also full of people scrambling and shouting to be seen, to stand out in a sea of people. Being noticed is very important to our sense of identity, and of belonging, not just in a tribe, but on Earth. It confirms we are alive, and that we are on the right planet. In fact it is so vital to us that we will settle for negative attention if we can’t get the positive kind, because anything is better than no attention at all.

Where does the need to be noticed come from. I suppose it is an intrinsic part of survival. A baby needs to be nourished to survive, and so it seeks attention. How we receive that initial attention will shape how we seek it later in life. It will also shape how we see ourselves. If we are welcomed and loved, given all that we need, then we feel safe, wanted, an important member of the human race. If we are unwelcome, unloved, given the minimum needed to keep us alive, then we feel vulnerable, powerless, and the human race becomes our enemy. Most of us get a bit of both, an unbalanced mess of attention and rejection. And we pass that on, just like it was passed on to us.

Sometimes people see us as we truly are, but we don’t recognise the person they see because we do not perceive ourselves that way. We think we are one thing, when in actual fact we are so much more. Much of how we see ourselves comes from within. The world within us is a very mysterious place, deep, and hard to fathom. Which is partly why we rely so much on other people to help us to know who we are. As we help them to know who they are.

I’ve spent a great deal of my life in the shadows. Invisible to all but myself. For a long time I hated it, but then I grew to love it. It has its advantages. Especially as I seem driven to live life my own way, by my own rules, and I am often swimming in the opposite direction to everyone else. I’ve tried doing it the other way, swimming with the current rather than against it, but I always fail in the end, I get exhausted by the effort and stop trying to fit in. Going unnoticed is a very desirable thing when you know that attention usually ends up with having a very bright light shone in your eyes whilst people punch you with aggressive questions demanding that you justify your life, your right to have an existence at all.

I’ve always seen attention as a negative. These days though the universe is showing me how positive it can be, and I’m completely freaked out by the experience. In a good way. But I’m struggling a bit. Years of dealing with the harsh side of life and people has left me completely unprepared and out of my depth when dealing with the beautiful side of life and people. I absolutely love it!

Thank you all for being a part of one of the best years of my life, and of one of the most pleasant life lessons I have ever had to learn. How to enjoy being noticed. It is truly wonderfully weird!

How do you see yourself, and is it what others see too?


  1. A: I see myself as quietly spiritual and connected to.. That thing on the other side. This nearest and dearest thing that I love the most. Yet it feels like its always visible for other to access, right there on my right shoulder because I feel it so potently every hour of every day. While at the same time, I know to shield and protect the thing most important to me. And as a result, the people nearest to me do not see it or even know its exists. This year, I am striving to show this aspect of myself to others.


    • I love your answer. It conjures up powerful imagery. I have recently been expressing the parts I’ve always kept hidden, and it has been a bit like taking a leap off a cliff, but it seems I had a bungee cord attached to my feet. Terrifying and fun.


  2. Reblogged this on An Upturned Soul and commented:

    Recently while looking something up on an astrology site, I did a double-take because I saw a familiar pic being used to decorate a post. The pic was one which I had taken as part of a personal project to photograph my astrology chart.
    There was no credit given on the pic, but I didn’t mind too much about that (I mini-minded about it, not a biggie), this is the internet.
    What did strike me about it was how much I still think of myself as being invisible. My pic being used gave me a surreal moment – it made me feel visible yet visibly invisible. I was partly happy about it and partly unnerved by it.
    In today’s Daily Post prompt – Happy Radars – they asked – Are you a good judge of other people’s happiness?
    That prompt reminded me of this old post, because although I didn’t mention it in the post, something which I did mention in the post, which made me happy happened to make someone else unhappy, which then made me feel conflicted about my own happiness when I found out about their unhappiness. I couldn’t really understand why they were unhappy… but I did my best to work things out.
    People, ourselves included, are complex.
    Feeling invisible sometimes makes me happy and sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it’s a bit of both, a moment of simultaneous fleeting happiness and unhappiness.


  3. I am forever surprised when someone sees me as strong because I rarely feel as strong as people seem to think I am but then I realize that most challenges we face wouldn’t be a challenge if we felt strong enough to deal with it. What makes something a challenge is the fact that it tests our strength. blogging has challenged my perception of myself, it has been great for my self image and confidence. I remember the day I had more than one hit on my site and someone was interested in what I had to say. Now to know that upwards of 1600-1700 people a day are interested in what I have to say blows my mind and I catch myself thinking I am a fraud, but I am speaking from the heart so how can I be a fraud? It’s am uncomfortable feeling for me yet validating. For almost 15 years my ex referred to this mysterious trait I had that he just could not live with, my warped view of reality and I find myself waiting for everyone to see this horrible flaw of mine and run for cover, but it never happens and I am beginning to accept that maybe it doesn’t exist.


    • The way that most people see others tends to be more about how they see themselves, often comparing their image of themselves with their image of you. This works both positively, negatively and neutrally.

      If someone seems to be doing something which we think we can’t do or don’t do that well, then we admire their ability and may share the admiration. Just as when we do something differently from the way someone else would do the same thing, they might remark upon it – sometimes in a critical way, as in UR doing it wrong – sometimes just out of curiosity, as in why are you doing it that way? (which we may hear as a criticism if we’re sensitive).

      Narcissists do this too but it’s more twisted. They have little to no concept of a separation between themselves and others. So when they accuse you of something they are almost always talking about themselves, projecting their own issues onto you and trying to get you to solve it for them. If you do happen to solve it, they’ll adopt it as their solution which they will then tell themselves they came up with. They will then project another problem onto you. If you don’t solve the problem, they get angry and frustrated with you because the problem is driving them crazy as they can’t be perfect until it is solved, ergo you are driving them crazy… and they may decide to get rid of the problem by getting rid of you. However… their problem goes with them and is then projected onto someone else.

      But part of their issue stays with you, you’ve absorbed it as yours because they identified you long enough as being the one with the problem, they projected it onto you until you absorbed the image. You now think it is a part of you, and it’s hard to solve because the root of it does not lie with you. It’s what I usually refer to as taking on the wound of the narcissist but being unable to heal it because the wound isn’t yours. That’s the way to heal it, by realising that the problem isn’t yours, you just were led to believe that it was.

      If you look closely, the fraud thing is probably not yours at all, but a leftover of your ex. The fear of being a fraud is quite common for narcissists and they are always accusing others of being frauds.

      It’s a narcissistic variation of something we all do, which is what many narc behaviours are, and which is why we get so confused by them and the way they behave, because they do what we do, but they do it completely differently. So it takes us a while to realise that we are not the ones doing things wrong 🙂


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