I have a superpower. It takes nothing for me to blend into my surroundings if I want to. To fade into the wallpaper is like switching a light switch. I was small when I first realized it. My voice did not have the effect to reach way above the heads of those who were talking around me. To avoid shame,I just stayed quiet. To avoid the embarrassment of not being heard, I chose not to speak. I chose to become invisible. At first it was easy; all I had to do was stay quiet; to have something to take the place of a cloak in emergencies and move to the outskirts of the noise.
But then it became more difficult. The people around me did not see this as a gift but a curse. They tried to take it from me, they tried to make me forget how to turn it on. They tried to tell me that my invisibility was a bad thing and that I shouldn’t use it. It’s so much better to be seen! It’s so much better to have and hold the spotlight! Be loud!
So I did.
I shunned my superpower like a bad habit. I succumbed to the idea that being seen was best. I dropped my self made cloaks. I spoke. I mingled. I schmoozed.
And I was uncomfortable. I felt like I was wearing someone else’s skin. Staying in the spotlight was exhausting.
I picked up one of my cloaks last year. I examined it. I tried to remember why I even needed it in the first place. I wrapped it around me. It felt like Christmas with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. It felt familiar and so strange at the same time. I walked around the house. It wasn’t working. They could still see me. They still looked at me and spoke and listened to what I said back. The next time I wore one, i took it outside. This on came in the form of exhaustion and no makeup and struggling to get from A to B to C in one piece. I think it was working. Usually when I walked through the streets at least one person would look up from their newspaper to tell me to smile. To wonder what I was doing later. Where my boyfriend was. Today I saw them look right through me. They could have sworn they saw the air shift. Heard footsteps on the seemingly empty street. But it couldn’t be. They went back to their lives.
The years I spent perfecting the abolishment of my superpower made me feel ashamed and ugly. But as they day went on I realized that the questioning of my gift was frivolous. The homeless men didn’t ask for the change in my purse, which made me more inclined to give it to them. Imagine his surprise when he found an extra dollar in his hat. I began to pull out my superpower more often; shedding the idea that I needed the spotlight. At parties I was able to disappear easily sometimes not even having to bother to go at all. I didn’t have to engage in the aggressive act of small talk. I could slip out of conversation in a blink of an eye. Of course the spotlight is necessary. I have to work. I need the spotlight to make my money. But it doesn’t feel like treason stepping out of it. It feels like coming home. Like slipping that spot lit skin off like a bra after a long day of work.
Sometimes I forget that I’m invisible. I talk louder than I would when I remember. When no one looks up or acknowledges my sound I remember that I still have my superpower. Then it comes down to whether or not I actually want to shed it again