Updated: Mar 24
Have you ever felt invisible?
In 2005 I was sitting in a class in grad school, having a lofty conversation about ageism in America. My professor, a woman who was probably in her 50s then and a total beauty, commented, "Around when I turned 40, I remember starting to feel like I was becoming invisible."
I remember at the time, thinking, "No way will that ever happen to me!" I was so comfortable with my "pretty girl privilege" that I wasn't even aware that I had it.
Didn't everyone get a free piece of fish on a regular basis from the guys who worked at the seafood counter at Whole Foods? Didn't everyone just get a warning, never a ticket, when they were pulled over for speeding (unless the officer was a woman)? Didn't everyone, when faced with a flat tire, have to wait for 2 minutes, max, before someone pulled over and offered to help them change it?
As it turned out, not really.
I remember the first time I felt it. Sure enough, it was around the time I turned 40, and I was walking through the grocery store. It was after a gig, late at night, a strange time for shopping to be sure, mostly me and a handful of vaguely tipsy college students.
I was so used to people (OK, MEN), looking me in the eye and smiling as they passed me that I didn't even think about it, but that night, I noticed the absence. I clearly remember a guy walking straight toward me, and it was like he was seeing straight through me!
Was it like in the movie "The Sixth Sense?" Was I dead but didn't know it? Was I some kind of ghost with nothing better to do than to haunt King Soopers Grocery in the middle of the night?
Then the words of my professor came rushing back to me: "I remember when I became invisible."
I started noticing it more and more. At first, I admit, I was pissed. It was like a privilege that I didn't even know I had was yanked away from me. What was this new world, where I had to pay speeding tickets and change my own tires? When a smile wasn't payment enough for a lovely piece of salmon?
But then, I started to realize that being invisible has its benefits. No lecherous men at the bank telling me to "Just smile!" No club owners canceling my gig because I wouldn't sleep with them (true story). And with being invisible came this deep, unspoken permission to show up the way I wanted to, dress the way I felt like, just be me. Mascara optional.
But the real gift was that becoming an Invisible Woman meant finally being able to see all the other Invisible Women. And Oh. My. God. These women! More gorgeous then I ever could have imagined, living life on their own terms, doing as they damn well pleased and apologizing to no one for who they are.
If this is being invisible, well then... I wanna be Invisible with You!
Hence the inspiration for my new single, Invisible With You, available on Bandcamp. Listen now!