Thursday, 30 August 2012

Now You See Me

I don't want this to be about self-pity.  This is the story of how I became invisible.  I mentioned before that I can go pretty much anywhere untroubled by attentions and this may explain it, in part.

When I was a child, being silent and invisible kept me safe.  There was a period between about 1970 and 1973 when everyone got hit pretty badly.  My eldest brother was thrown down the stairs.  My sister had her jaw broken.  My next brother up from me had his head held down on little brother's highchair and punched.  And my mum was beaten up all the time.  I did not get hit.  Whether this was down to my becoming invisible or because I stood up to my dad and said if he ever laid a finger on me I would call the police, I don't know.  But in my head silence and invisibility were what kept me safe.  It didn't always work in the outside world as I grew older, but most of the time.

And it sort of stuck.  The good part of it is you can go anywhere and do pretty much anything, because nobody notices.  The bad part of it is that nobody notices. 

I've decided to come off the dating websites because the lack of anything approaching anything is causing me physical pain.  In the real world it is likely I'll have no greater success (because of the invisibility) but it will hurt a bit less than putting oneself up for grabs and relentlessly not being grabbed.

The fact that I'm thinking about maybe doing Calendar Girls is connected with the invisibility.  Nobody is going to see me so I can just go ahead and take my clothes off in one of the most prestigious arts venues in the city.  In worse times it has felt as if I'm a ghost haunting my own life.  In better times it just feels like I can do anything I damn well like.

So this isn't self-pity.  It's about how a child learned to survive, but not really live properly.  And I wish I knew how to change that but I think it's hardwired. 


  1. I'm so sorry, Jane. It's difficult to know what to say to someone with such a violent childhood behind them - it is shocking and outrageous.
    You may feel invisible but you have such a strong, clear, individual voice - you deserve to be heard and seen.

  2. You don't sound invisible. You come over as a mighty presence.