Other people’s words about … being invisible
Sandra is the contrail of light left on the back of the eye by the sun. Like so much of Muriel’s life she is invisible. Muriel thinks that there is some dignity in that, yet it leaves a life so immaterial it may be erased in a blink.From ‘On Swift Horses‘
by Shannon Pufahl
The older we get, the more invisible we feel, or so the story goes — particularly if you are a woman. I think it’s natural to feel some grief in response to this. For so many of us, it can feel as though we are losing something — our sex appeal, perhaps, or our looks, or our matriarchal role in the family, or our authority in the workforce.
Ragged sky, May 2022.
When I was a younger woman I was proud of how articulate I was. I was fluent with words, both spoken and written, and I felt that people were listening to me, hearing me, because of this. As the years pass, though, I feel this less and less. Moving from early to middle age and beyond feels to me like a process of being muted. That’s not the same thing as feeling invisible, I know, but it’s clearly on the same spectrum.
But I like Shannon Pufahl’s perspective on invisibility, particularly invisibility of the female kind. I like the way she weighs up both the dignity and the immateriality of an invisible life, its grace and its insignificance. It seems to me a metaphor for everything that we think of when we talk of a person’s life: the sorrow of it. The joy.
Ragged sea, May 2022.
Lately I’ve been reading …
- More than one-third of us recover fully with no special treatment whatever, and many others with a variety of treatments and approaches: Joanne Greenberg on why she fictionalised her experience of mental illness and why there is more hope for recovery than you might think.
- I think it’s more helpful to say that eating disorders are about coping; they are in effect a survival mechanism we have had to develop ourselves when nobody came to ‘save’ us: Nataliya Deleva, in another piece about recovery from mental illness (this time in the form of an eating disorder), offers a very different perspective on the same theme.