Retro Tuesday 4-13-2021

The Art of Invisibility – April 2015

There’s a funny thing about being invisible. The Invisible Man, Harry Potter and his Invisibility Cloak, One Ring to Rule Them All, The Tempest and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Being invisible has always been a popular item in literature and movies.  When asked what superpower a person might like to possess, invisibility is usually high up on the list. But what if you were really invisible?  Or what if you’d made yourself as invisible as possible all your life but when you decide you want to toss off the invisibility cloak no one sees you even then.

Growing up, I spend all my time trying to be invisible.  I was horribly shy and inwards, mostly because of things that happened and because I’d never not known the feeling of depression. To protect myself, I became invisible, as skill I perfected over the years.

In college, I lived behind the mask of characters, terrified somebody would talk to me, I would freeze and look like an idiot. I didn’t trust anybody. I was afraid of everything and not just in that ‘I’m afraid of spiders’ way. I was drawn so far inward that I couldn’t make connections with the outer world.

And then I grew up. Don’t get me wrong, I was invisible well into adulthood and I liked it that way. It didn’t help that my ex liked me invisible. So, there I was, invisible until I had kids. I couldn’t be invisible with kids.  I learned to speak up, defend them, because I didn’t have any other choice.  The mother bear will protect her cubs even if she doesn’t want to come out of the den.

It took me years to come to the realization I didn’t have to live the life other people wanted for me.  I could live life my way. Visible. I no longer had to be afraid. I was in charge of who I was and who I became. Not my Ex. Not my family.  Not friends or acquaintances or bosses or TV or ads or anything else in the Universe.

I. Was. In. Charge. Of. Me.

Apparently, no one else got the memo.  I learned quickly that once people lose sight of you, you don’t appear just because you’ve decided to appear again.  I’m not talking about people I knew casually, but family.  When I finally separated from my ex, they were glad.  Why had it taken me so long?  When I became my own person, they weren’t happy.  I was no longer the person they expected me to be and they didn’t want that.  They wanted me to stand on my own two feet but only if I stayed the same person I was before.  But I wasn’t the same person.  How could I stay the same and change?  Not possible.

I’ve had to write the remainder of this post several times.  Each former attempt came out bitchy and childish.  I don’t mean to be.  I like taking the higher road, but sometimes I just need to express myself, bitchy or not.  I know what you are going to say.  ‘Are you sure it’s all them?’ Probably not.  I’ve never claimed I was perfect.  I don’t return phone calls in the time frame they expect. Bad? Yes, but I’m not a phone person and when I get overwhelmed by things, I just ‘turtle’ and do nothing. Could I do better?  Yes. Try harder? Yes. Do I want to do better? I used to say yes, but now, I’m not so sure.

Three examples (yes there are so many more but that’s where the bitchy comes in).  One – I wrote and read a short essay at my mother’s funeral.  Except for my Aunt, no one in my family acknowledged I had even spoken.  No ‘thank you,’ no ‘I know this must have been hard for you’. Nothing.  Friends of the family (and even people I didn’t know) came up to say how touched they had been by my words, wanting a copy. Family. Not a word.

Two – After years of cutting my own hair (not pretty I assure you), I got my hair cut and styled at a salon.  Nobody in my family noticed.

Three- I lost a noticeable amount of weight.  Did my family notice?  Nope. Not a word.

Bitch over (maybe).  Truth is I am hurt and angry.  I am willing to do anything they need.  All they need to do is ask.  Do they?  No, they don’t and then are angry that I ‘never’ help.  To hear them, I am selfish and think of nobody but myself.  So sorry for thinking we are all adults and should not expect mind-reading among us.

Perhaps I should accept that I am, and will be, invisible to them.  The sad part is I am almost at the point I don’t care.  Is it worth fighting invisibility in their eyes when I will never be visible for who I am?  How many times am I expected to try to explain who I am and why? It is hard enough to fight depression every day without living up to somebody else’s expectations.

The sad truth is I no longer feel comfortable at family gatherings.

I am the invisible woman.

Friday Fictioneers 4-2-2021

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

“Chris, your brother has something for you!”

Chris slammed the door. Just what he did not need right now. His mother. Just another fight waiting to happen.

Davies swung around when he entered the kitchen.

“It’s us,” he said in his strangely high voice, his way of responding to the fight.

“Who’s the one without pants or a shirt?”

“Susan.”

He laughed. “Yeah, figures. Which one is me?”

Davies pointed to the cookie with the green sweater and necklace.

“Why?”

“You going to be Rock Star!”

His eyes met his mother’s. She smiled.

JSW 3-22-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“Nay, she just hinted.”

He was sitting across from my desk, in his dirty clothes, smelling like a whiff of sewer.

“I don’t want you to tell her where I am.”

“Look, your mother doesn’t care where you are as long as you are safe,” I said roughly, “And if you do go see her, I’d suggest a bath first.” A little white lie never hurt anybody, and besides, as long as he thought it was his mother who was looking for him, my client was safe. He’d figure it out, but hopefully, not soon enough.

“I smell?”

“Like a sewer.” I was reeking the same scent after tunneling down to find the man, much to my chagrin.

He seemed to be thinking and it looked like a hard task.

“Just call her, let her know you are safe. That’s all I ask and my job is done.”

“I don’t want to.”

I sighed, rubbing a hand over my hair. “And why not?”

“She never gave a damn before so why should she care now.” As he said the words, something came over his face, a thought or a suspicion that he wasn’t yet ready to believe.

“It was my mother, right?”

“Does it matter at this point?”

He slumped in the chair. “I suppose not.”

The look on his face said otherwise. Maybe he wasn’t as dumb as I’d thought. Now the look was on my face, something just on the edge of my mind, something I couldn’t catch for the life of me.

Just then my door opened. A ragged man stepped in, stench preceding him. Behind him were several more men.

On instinct, I turned towards the window behind my desk, kept unlocked for this very reason, but as I did so, a group of men pushed the window open and started climbing inside.

In my client chair, he smiled. “You didn’t think I really believed my mother gave a damn about me did you?”

I was back to the wall, pistol in my hand. Shrugged. “It was a thought.”

The men moved closer.

“You can’t shoot us all,” one of them chuckled, grubby hands reaching out.

I shot him. One down. Two down, but before I managed the third, they were on me. They crushed me to the ground, fingers digging into my skin, hands locking my limbs, arm around my throat, somebody taking the pistol from my fist. Lifting me up, they took me out the back door, to the sewer entrance I’d used just moments before.

He knelt down behind me as I hung, limbs held firmly, between the men. “Welcome to my world.”

“I’ll never tell you,” I spat between clenched teeth.

Somebody wrenched the sewer lid off and they threw me down.

Question Of The Day 3-10-2021

If You Could Trade Lives With Someone, Who Would It Be?

What a hard, but fascinating, question. I think it would be hard to choose. Should I choose a real person – knowing the outcome of their life from history, or should I choose a fictional character, still knowing the outcome of their life from the novel or story. Either way, I would want the trade to be temporary.

For the ‘real’ person from history, I think I would choose somebody from the Court of King Arthur. I am fascinated by that time in history and would love to know if any of the stories are real. Because I’m not a long skirt and passive kind of girl, however, I think I’d have to trade places with one of the knights or even Arthur himself. Just for a little bit; just to see what the world was like back then.

As for a fictional character, there are so many who’s lives I would like to experience and explore. One of my top picks would be Richard Gansey III from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. To be honest, I fell in love with Gansey while reading the books and would love to see the world through his eyes.

Who would you choose?

JSW 3-8-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.