Lately I’ve been thinking about invisibility. Not the superpower that would allow you to sneak into places you shouldn’t frequent, but the more attainable kind I’ve always craved – to take up as little space as possible.

It started when I was very young. I was tall, taller than everyone at school, even some teachers. Being teased for my height, I wanted so desperately to be petite and delicate. Instead of a fern, I was a giant redwood.

I stayed silent, subconsciously believing my lack of voice would shrink my physical size. Perhaps then I would go unnoticed, one of the crowd, no longer teased.

But I always stood out, a solid color against the patterned wallpaper of human interaction.


Later, as I grew older, it became clear to me that invisibility was what society demanded of women – at least, women in the circles in which I ran. Shrink back, let the menfolk do the talking. I silenced my opinions, my intellect, and let life happen to me for many wasted years.

This invisibility of course translated to physical weight as I grew older and carried more baggage, so to speak. I wanted my body to shrink, to take up as little space as possible. Dainty, feminine – to be invisible, this is an ideal in our culture for women. Tiny sparrow-thin arms, fragile collar bones, ribs sticking through silky blouses, this was the definition of ideal femininity enveloping my culture.

However, I am none of these. I take up space. I am weighty, even substantive. My ideas and my body take up space, muscular and fleshy. I am re-training my mind to no longer think of this as a negative trait. My solid legs support me as I do yoga; my strong arms lift heavy items on my own without assistance; my voice gives rise to three-dimensional opinions no longer shaped by others’ expectations of me.

I may never be lithe, but now I see that I’d rather be solid than invisible.

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The Invisible Woman — 33 Comments

  1. Love the line, ‘ I’d rather be solid than invisible.’ This is something I need to work on. I was always bigger than everybody and every other woman around me seemed so tiny and more desirable. Then I met an awesome friend who was even taller and bigger boned than me, and she owned it. I look to her now as inspiration for me owning who I am. Great post! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Punky Coletta recently posted…You want to have sex, don’t you?My Profile

  2. Hello, stranger! Love the new look and ADORE this piece. From one tall, muscular girl to another – I see you. I hear you.

    Favorite line: “I take up space. I am weighty, even substantive. My ideas and my body take up space, muscular and fleshy. ”

    And thank goodness for that. You’re amazing.
    Peach recently posted…The Limit (Part Nine)My Profile

    • Oh man, count yourself lucky. Where I come from, women are ridiculed for voicing their opinions. They are expected to be skinny and silent, shrinking violets – so “invisible” is a bit of a hyperbole.

  3. I love the commentary going on here. I’ve lived both my personal and professional lives with strong women as colleagues and partners. It’s been great!

    And to those who are devastated because they no longer turn heads when they walk into a bar, I say, there’s a lot more to life than that.

    But maybe all that’s because I’m, Canadian, eh?

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting
    Life in the Urban Forest (poetry)
    Rob-bear recently posted…IN WHICH THINGS RETURN TO “NORMAL”My Profile

  4. I love the subject you chose, love the accompanying images which so perfectly suit it and I love that you’re constantly working on improving your relationship with yourself. No, I admire that. I’ve been often thinking about invisibility too, as a recently acquired trait that really bothers me. This was really thought provoking and stirred some unresolved emotions in me. I might write something about invisibility myself.
    Katia recently posted…I am Not Ready to Embrace The Mosquitoes but I’m OK With Nature NowMy Profile

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