I can’t remember when it happened exactly, that fear took over my life. Most of my earliest memories are of a girl with no fear. I used to catch my uncle’s horse Mona with my hair ribbons and ride her around the field, I think I was four years old. I would climb ladders with my grandpa on his jobs, go shooting with the boys, and I even stole candy with my neighbor once from a church….I had no fear of God. I don’t remember ever meeting a stranger that I didn’t think a friend, except maybe the preacher from the church I stole from when I got caught. Then one day I was afraid of everything. It’s like I woke up one day from a bad dream that came true.
I no longer liked ladders and high places, when once I thought I was the queen of the world when I was up higher than everyone else. I was afraid of people, and I was suddenly for the first time afraid of God. That’s when I started learning to be invisible. If I was really quiet I thought maybe no one would notice me. Unfortunately that’s not the way that life works. Sooner or later you’re expected to leave the house and have to deal with others, and sooner or later someone’s going to see you. Unfortunately for me I was “seen” way more often than I would have liked. This is why I learned to be the invisible woman. I was invisible in my relationships, invisible in my family, and sometimes so quiet with friends that I might as well have been invisible, or at least I thought I was.
The real problem was I was invisible to myself. I was defined by who was near me at the time, and I had no idea who I was. I always loved the part in the movie Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts’s character tried every kind of egg that you could make so that she could figure out what she liked. It didn’t matter who she was with or how they liked their eggs, she had always adjusted what she liked to what they liked. I could always identify with her character in that movie, always running and not sure why or from what….just running.
Some might say I grew up in a fairytale land, maybe that’s where my fetish for fairytales come from. I wonder sometimes if maybe it was when I peaked around the corner at the rest of the world, if that’s when it happened. The minute I stepped outside of the sheltered little world that I grew up in, I think there was some innocence lost. I spent a lot of years living my life as the Invisible Woman. Not just being unseen, but never really seeing anyone else either. I’d let people see me occasionally, but rarely all of me. Sometimes that’s still a tough one for me. To be able to just let it all out and say “this is me”!
Here’s what I know….
I know that I get better and better all the time. I know that every time I feel like I can’t do something, that’s the thing I know I have to do. I know when I’m most tempted to be invisible is when it’s most important to be seen. I know that the road is long, and windy but if you really want to get somewhere you’ll get there. I know that I’m not ready for skydiving, but I think I’d try a hot air balloon. I know that life is not worth fearing, because time wasted on fear is time missing out on how beautiful the world really is.