. . . In a castle dark, or a fortress strong,
with chains upon my feet
You know that ghost is me
And I will never be set free
As long as I'm a ghost that you can't see . . .
Lyrics from If You Could Read my Mind by Gordon Lightfoot
A ghost among ghosts.
I’ve written before on the invisibility of the 40+ woman. I wish I could pinpoint what it is about me: my attitude, my facial expression, what?! I feel like screaming ‘it is okay to talk to me, to smile at me, to say hi to me’. I have read books-and actively sought out-strategies to make friends. But I drop like a lead balloon whether it is person-to-person contact or email groups or really, anything. I say it doesn’t matter to me. Obviously it does. A 48 year old nothing. If I can’t make people happy, what contribution am I making? Who is going to care when I’m gone?
For Pete’s sake, I’m a counselor. An adviser now, I guess. I do help people and it makes me happy when I can inspire or guide. I make really yummy cream puff cake, but what else? Nothing. I run. I garden. I hike. My desire is to hike the Appalachian Trail in its entirety. Alone.
My dogs love me. My chickens love me. I’m disposable to my kids. I’m nothing to my husband unless he needs me for something. Yuck. My neighbor calls me when some work needs to be done.
But is that all bad? What is it about ‘other’ people that draws friends to them? I can honestly say that I’m not really drawn to anyone. I prefer not being in crowds. If I’m drawn to anyone, it is usually someone who portrays some type of oddity – probably I see a reflection of myself. But in the grand scheme of things, why do I feel it necessary to be acknowledged by other humans? Some strong narcissistic trait, I suppose. But I could give up smoking, I watch what I eat, I exercise ---why can't I quit this caring of what other people think of me? If they think of me?
I think that by having other people acknowledge me, it gives me some assurance that I do exist. That I am worthy. I know from others to whom I've talked, that it isn't just me. That there is an entire army of us--nobodies--floating around out there. Just wanting to be seen.