I said hello the other day to a new employee in our work break room, calling her by name, and from the look she gave me, I could tell she didn’t remember my name. I wondered as I walked away if she were to ask another employee to refresh her memory as to my name, how would she describe me?
I’d like to think she’d say, ‘the tall blonde with the tattoos’, but I can’t be certain. I did have one of the older partners at the firm call me “Shirley” for a few weeks a while back. Maybe I looked like a Shirley at that time. I suppose it could have been worse. I didn’t have the heart to correct him because he’s such a nice man. He eventually figured it out.
I used to be known as the quiet one because I was painfully self-conscious in social situations. I spent most of my time observing others talking, rehearsing in my head possible comments I could make. I usually ended up saying nothing because by the time I came up with something witty, the topic had changed.
Back in High School, I used to be one of the funny ones. I enjoyed the heck out of a good laugh, and I got in trouble more than once for horsing around with my friends. I hung out with a bunch of girls who were always cracking wise and laughing. Outside of school, my cousin and I spent hours laughing ourselves silly.
For several years I was known as someone’s mother. I’m still someone’s (actually two someone’s) mother, but that’s not my primary function any longer. I would attend school meetings, and I’d hear, ‘this is Matt’s Mom’ or ‘Alex’s Mom’. I was proud to be their mother, but I used to cringe internally sometimes when I heard me introducing myself as, ‘Matt or Alex’s Mom’, as if I didn’t have a name of my own!
I spent several years being the invisible one. I’d go to the grocery store or shopping, and I’d get shoved aside by pushier people. In my younger years, hubby tells me I turned heads so at that point in time I must have been the attractive one. I was only vaguely aware of that sort of reaction.
Within the past few years, I’ve begun to feel a lot better about myself, and I’m becoming the confident one. I walk with more pride. I think that some of it comes with age. I don’t have to apologize or stand meekly by and wait for someone to politely invite me to go first. I go anyway. Let them think I’m a crazy, old lady. I don’t much care any longer. Obviously, I don’t shove people out of the way, but I don’t meekly let others walk all over me any longer.
How do people really see me? I’m no longer invisible. I think I stand out in a crowd. Hard not to when I’m usually a head taller than everyone around me, especially on elevators. Yep, that’s me. The tall blonde with the tattoos. And, don’t call me Shirley.
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