For a long time, I had felt invisible but in the last few years it had become even more noticeable how I had become invisible to others.
A few years ago, I read an article about Sinead Keane, a marathon runner, who happens to have impaired vision. In 2015 the organisers of the Women’s Mini Marathon, which is held annually in Dublin, would not let her running guide take part as he was male. She challenged that decision and won. A sentence in the interview with her kept reverberating in my head “It’s about making invisible visible”
This led me to remembering three Dunne’s stores workers who went on strike in 1984 in Dublin after refusing to handle south African produce due to Apartheid. When I spoke to them at the time, they talked about supporting women in South Africa who were invisible.
While researching further into the whole idea on invisibility I came across many organisations who work for those who are invisible in our societies. From those who are homeless, to those who use the law to secure equality and justice for people with mental disabilities worldwide.
Initially I was going to call this blog Dear Invisible but after my research I found I couldn’t. There are many who are truly invisible.
However, that doesn’t take away the fact that many a person feels invisible. I initially believed that it was only as one got older that one felt invisible. With the onset of wrinkles, grey hair, sagging chins, and other parts of the body, that then the sense of being invisible really manifests itself.
However, is this really so? Or is it perhaps that one learns to feel invisible? Perhaps we allow ourselves and give ourselves permission to be invisible? I don’t believe this. I think the feeling of being invisible is linked to confidence or the lack of it.
It is amazing how over a number of years on one can loose self confidence or the feeling of self worth for whatever reason. Regaining self-confidence is difficult and requires courage. It is an ongoing process but once one starts it is an intoxicating feeling.
Taking on board Sinead Keane’s quote “it’s about making invisible visible” moving from a lack of self confidence to gaining in confidence enables the feeling of being invisible gradually disappear. Like anything which is important it requires work and it needs constant help but it is so worth it.
It takes courage to stop feeling invisible. In order to regain self-confidence, one has to move outside one’s comfort zone. Even if it only baby steps one takes it taking that first step is that is important.
“Feel empowered. If you start to feel it, then your voice will be heard and you will never go back” Mary Robinson. This quote is so true and so inspiring. Finding and feeling good about oneself is a very powerful feeling. i keep this quote with me where ever I go. I put it on the first page of each journal.
Taking those first steps and rewarding oneself is essential. Recently I attended a course knowing absolutely no one. A year ago, I would not have even contemplated attending. But by preparing in advance I did attend. What gave me the confidence was that I went to the venue in advance and knew exactly where I was going. I googled the key note speaker. I emailed the organiser with questions I had. On the morning of the course I was able to walk in with confidence and attend. It was still difficult especially when it came to coffee breaks but I made myself talk with two other attendees.
By putting into place things which helped me to feel confiden, allowed me to attend the conference and enabled me to speak. I was visible and although at times the feeling of being invisible started to creap in. However, I stopped the feeling from developing. It was exhausting day but so worth it.
I found a saying recently “I am currently under construction” and that is me at the moment.