Brenda Nicholson

Invisibility is My Superpower

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Actually, I don’t know that I would call it a “superpower.” It’s more like having the ability to fade into the background, so no one notices you.

That sounds like a skill that an abused child would develop, but I don’t think I was abused. (Shouldn’t I know?)

I had a narcissistic father who expected perfection from me — the better to make himself look good.

And my mother taught me to disappear — right before your eyes.

Don’t speak unless spoken to.

Don’t cry. Big girls don’t cry.

Be quiet. Don’t disturb your dad.

And despite lifetime allergies and upper respiratory infections, don’t cough. (I got reprimanded for coughing once. It irritated my dad.)

I also learned the art of sneezing without making a sound. I did it once in school and got the weirdest look from the kid across from me.

I can laugh about it now. And to his credit, he didn’t make me feel bad about it.

My invisibility continued into my adulthood.

I got to meet Journey once backstage with a small group of friends. Everyone was greeted except me. The six of us were standing in a circle, yet somehow, I wasn’t there.

And it’s not just famous people.

My family does it too. Or am I doing it?

We go camping every year — the big extended family.

And when we go to the beach at sunset, it seems everyone splits up.

The newlyweds are by themselves; my nephews are off doing who knows what. My brother-in-law is in his car talking to his girlfriend.

My daughter and her little family head down the beach, and my husband joins them.

And I’m left behind.

They left me once in a gift shop. I was looking at something, and when I looked up, they were all gone.

I really am invisible.

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