The Invisible Person

In the past few days, I have heard two different people say that they feel “invisible.” I know that feeling…when I have an opinion that nobody seems to deem worthy of considering or even hearing, or when I am talking and someone interrupts and talks over me, as if no sound was coming out of my mouth, or when I greet someone who is passing right by me and they don’t even make eye contact with me.

There is a song in the musical “Chicago,” titled “Mr. Cellophane.” The words describe the way the character feels when people look right through him and walk right by him, as if he wasn’t even there.  It might be kind of fun to be invisible if you really wanted to be because you could go anywhere you pleased and see things you might not otherwise see.  At least, I used to think that until at eight years of age, I sneaked into my grandmother’s room to raid her hidden candy stash and caught sight of a 92-year-old woman wiggling into a girdle.  It was then that I realized that there are some things that are better left unseen. But, I digress…

The point is that we have become a society that is often insensitive about listening to other people’s concerns and needs. World chaos and economic stress has caused us to sometimes ignore our fellow humans unless they are high profile or we think they can do something for us.  I think what people mean when they say they feel invisible, is that they don’t seem to be important by society’s standards. If you aren’t a celebrity, a politician or the star of a reality TV show, does that mean you deserve less respect than those who are?  One woman recently told me that as she aged, she felt less valuable and almost like she was disappearing. She said, “When I was young and pretty and could afford to buy nice things, people seemed to care more about what I said. Now I feel like I’m turning into a vapor that nobody can see.” Yikes!

Hearing this started me thinking about how often we take our friends and family members for granted because they’re always around, and how many times we walk past someone on the street without smiling or acknowledging that they are even there. Or how we don’t thank the grocery checkout person because we are yakking on our cell phones or don’t listen when a child tries to tell us something because we are too busy talking to “important” adults.

We are all parts of the same puzzle and without each and every one of us who are on this earth, the picture would not be complete… and the pieces aren’t interchangeable!  Each one of us is unique and deserves to be seen and heard, even if we aren’t popular, or attractive, or young, or wealthy, or clever, or any of the things that the world seems to hold so dear.

I think we all should make an effort to really see and listen to each other; not just as Linda (or Joe or Sue or Uncle Albert or whomever) who always is yapping about something and nobody cares, but as a human being who is here for a reason and quite possibly is worth getting to know.




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