Invisible Girl

I am in a unique position where I can stare directly at someone I’ve known for years, stick my tongue out at them, wave, and make trumpet sounds, and they won’t notice me. Or they’ll notice me, but they won’t register who exactly is staring them down frantically muttering “toot toot.”

Toot toot, motherfucker

There are plenty of reasons why a person might feel disconnected from the people around them. I happened to subscribe to a lot of them. In 2014, I made a full-time job out of exiling myself because genuinely connecting with someone might let them see just how broken I was. I never wanted anyone to know just how much of an involuntary hobby depression had become or that pretty big parts of what people saw as my personality–being tired, drinking too much, joking about suicide–were just reflections of my mental health and not who I was as a person.

Despite how much I do it, crying is not a personality

I’m not quite as depressed anymore. A lot can happen in 4 years, including some miraculous shapeshifting on my part. For a long time, none of my friends saw me except during those lulls when I had the energy to see people for long enough that they wouldn’t worry I’d died in my apartment and was just waiting for the smell to be discovered. I leave the house more. I go on walks around campus, go out for tea when I have money that hasn’t been claimed by bills. And sometimes I see people I haven’t run into in years, the people who may have worried I did become a bubbling puddle on a cold floor. And I wave, and they don’t notice.

In the last 4 years, I dropped 80 pounds and transitioned, so there is a marked difference in appearance. Where once I looked like a sad grocery bag full of yellow pipe cleaner, now I more closely resemble a more shapely trash bag with pink feathers coming out the top. I look different, but that was the idea. However, very few people recognize me unless I send them a very clear email saying I was the person aggressively waving at them from the crosswalk by Dunkin’ Donuts.

But if I don’t send that email, I’m invisible.

I see old students all the time. They’d probably be a little thrown off if their old teacher sat next to them in the hall and said “How’s your semester going and also I’m a girl but nobody knew it while I was teaching you how to avoid comma splices.” I’m not worried about my old students knowing I’m trans. I worry with them about the same thing I worry with everyone: what will they do once they know. I’ve had a mixed set of reactions from friends when I came out. Many were supportive, a few were confused, one was angry because I didn’t tell her the way she thought she deserved to be told, most of my friends from high school stopped talking to me, and one person called me a slur so we aren’t close anymore. Being trans isn’t inherently depressing or painful, but the way we’re treated is.

It would be easy to stop being invisible to the people who don’t recognize me, but there’s always a risk that revealing myself will open me up for disappointment. I delayed coming out online because I didn’t want to learn how many people will hate me. I don’t tell all my old coworkers or students because I don’t want them to hate me for something I love about myself. So, instead, I just stare at them at coffee shops and stick my tongue out when they’re turning away–so they see, but can’t confirm it really happened. I play games with myself because it’s easier than learning that the people I used to consider friends never deserved that friendship if they think I, or people like me, are weird.

Anyway, here’s a selfie.

20 Replies to “Invisible Girl”

  1. If those people don’t like you, they don’t know what they’re missing. You’re such a great human… trash bag… thing? I’m not sure what you are. But I like you. (Like you don’t know that already)

    Also, my stupid brain was wondering 'wait, wasn't she a sofa? Did she morph into a chair?'

    I need more caffeinated beverages. Or more sleep. Or both.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well said. And I think I speak for all of us who knew all along that the drinking, suicide jokes, and chronic fatigue were reflections of your mental health and not personality traits when I say this: It’s awesome that you’re happy.

    I’m sorry you remain invisible. I only half-recognized you the first time I saw you after your transition, and I knew about it. So, I can say the difference is dramatic. In the best possible way. I really hope that the people you decide to become visible to are good people. Because it’s awesome that you’re happy and I’m sure that some of them would like to celebrate with you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad other people realized it because I definitely didn’t. I’m definitely happier, and it’s weird that people can tell but also nice? I don’t know, but I’ve been practicing this mouth thing where you show some teeth–but not all of them, I have been informed not to show all teeth–and that’s pretty nice too.

      So far things are going well, and the people I still have are the people I’d have wanted anyway.

      Also, so weird to have the whole world collide because I’ve seen your face but you’re commenting here. That doesn’t happen much lol

      Like

  3. Hopefully your visibility here will help gain you the confidence to become more visible there. And as you say, for anyone that can’t show their support no longer qualifies then for your support. Life’s too short to spend it with people you don’t want to spend time with. Ironically, I heard that from a close friend who is no longer in my life, because life moves us all on in different directions. Those that are worthy will move with you. As for the others? Fuck ’em. (Not literally. That’s mean game-playing and no good can come from that). 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hmmm, it may have to be aerodynamic to keep from blowing off my head or limiting my speed when I’m trying to get away from unwholesome people. What if it was operating on some kind of spring and switch that would let the hand shoot up whenever I need it and curl back down for a quick getaway

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been in this world much longer than you. It reaches a point where you understand that most of the people in your life are not worth the time of day. I truly believe that in the “friends” department less is definitely more. Work colleagues are no more than those you see each day. Social media is a tool, not a lifestyle. Concentrate on you, see always the best in yourself not the fear. Get out of your mind (in a good way), stop the negative chatter that lives in there, be in the moment, it is all we have. X

        Like

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