Invisibility. I have a love/hate relationship with that word. I’m the second of four children, and the middle sister. My older sister, in the typical oldest child way, ran the show. She was the responsible one, and still is. She’s the one who we all go to for plans, itineraries, and general guidance in what us “kids” need to do. My younger brother is very smart, talented, gregarious, and steals the show when he is around. My little sister, beautiful, sweet, popular, and driven, goes with the flow and is a peacemaker.
And then there’s me. Second born, middle child, invisible yet impossible to ignore. I have constantly lived on the border of wanting to be seen and wanting to be invisible. I wanted to take up less and less space in my home, because it was safer. Eventually I began to starve myself in an attempt to literally take up less space. But in my hiding, I was a rebellious, angry child. If I wasn’t being calm and “good”, I was being a hellion, hitting my siblings, throwing tantrums, and forcing myself on people.
I like invisibility. If I am invisible, no one can see me and I am safe. There’s so much shame in my mind, about me, about who I am, about my life, that I want to hide.
On the flip side, I loathe invisibility. I want to be seen, noticed, treasured. I want people to notice the work I do, hear the words I say, and be aware of my interests. And I think most women want that. We want to be seen when we enter a room, we want our hard work to be acknowledged, we want to be seen.
So, if I know I want to be seen, and I know you want to be seen, why are we not looking at one another? Why does it take a special occasion to say what we appreciate about someone? Why do we have to wait until Valentine’s Day or a Birthday to tell our loved ones how we feel? Why can’t we say it?
I made a commitment to myself a few years ago, I told myself I would tell others what I thought about them. That when the Holy Spirit prompted me to remind someone they are loved or that they are doing a good job, that I would obey. And, I’ve done it. And it’s awkward. Mainly because I make it weird by saying “Um…this might be weird but I wanted you to know that I really like how you…”, but even in the awkwardness, it’s been good. I’ve seen other people come alive and I feel joy knowing that for one second of one day, they were noticed and cherished. It’s easy to do it with acquaintances, but it’s harder with spouses or family members, because it’s vulnerable. When I have to choose to share my heart, it may be seen as foolish or weird, and that’s scary. And this is where the love/hate of invisibility comes in. I’d like to be invisible and not risk my heart or thoughts, but I want others to know they are seen. So, I must abandon my habit of hiding to help my fellow women feel seen, and it’s worth it.
I want you to do that.
Find a woman you love, and let her know she is seen and treasured.
Do it in person, in a text, on the phone, in a card, on Facebook, however you seen fit. Abandon your fears, stop hiding, and help others abandon their fears by realizing beautiful things in them.
Kacy Davis lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband, Collin. She is a special education teacher and advocate of those with special needs and loves her job. She spends her time riding bikes with her husband, running, reading, and enjoying those she loves. Kacy believes in reinventing what it means to be a woman and wife who loves the Lord and longs to help others learn to love the Lord with abandon, freedom, and a greater understanding of grace. She writes here.
Kacy, I, too, am a second child and have struggled with being invisible (and being comfortable and safe there) and wanting to be seen. I have come to believe that God gave me this “gift” so that I can do exactly what you suggest–let other people know I see them, that they matter.
No one is second to none. 💗
I so relate with the battle of invisibility versus the desire to be seen and heard. When asked what superhuman power I desire…invisibility is always the first thought, yet our hearts are made to desire, to be loved. We must keep allowing that vulnerable side to have a voice…to be seen and delighted in, as well as expressing our delight in others.
I, too, am a middle child and there was, and is, that tension to hide and yet the desire to be seen and acknowledged and cherished. Thank you for challenging us to step out and tell others what they mean to us. You are a beautiful person – I can just tell by how you share your heart with us. Your vulnerability, honesty, your desire to courageously step out in love.
A favorite song I’ve been listening to lately is “How He Loves” like a hurricane. He pursues our hearts even when other humans do not. Nothing can stop Him. I want to be more like that!
Looks like there are a lot of us middle children who relate to the tension of wanting to be seen and wanting to be invisible…me too! You put such beautiful words to the desire for us to see each other, and I love your invitation to do it in whatever way works for you. Thank you for blessing us with the gift of your heart for others.