I once had a friend with thick, dark, waist-length hair. Every time we went out, guys went ga-ga over her. About a year after I met her, she cut it to chin length. She was pretty both ways, but the new hair was a drastic difference. I remember asking if she missed the long hair and she shrugged, ‘It was a lifestyle.’ I’ve always remembered what she said and thought of it periodically as I’ve changed my own hair over the years.
I’ve chemically relaxed my hair for eons and am currently growing it out natural. I’m 4 months into the journey and it feels like it’s been a year. I look at my hair a lot. In the morning, the curls initially rise up, defying gravity, then later coil down into one another. No matter what hair products I use, I always get “shrinkage” and dryness as the day goes on. Plus, the longer it grows, the shorter it seems to look. At least to me. The current lifestyle, as it were, is that I don’t feel feminine. And sometimes I worry that I look like a young boy. There’s not much external encouragement to dispute this internal worry because I’m invisible. I became invisible soon after I had Mini G.
A friend & I had a conversation via email about being invisible after a certain age and here is part of what I wrote to her.
A guy I dated who said that aging women are like ice cream cones. Melting. A funny way to say it, but the same thing. Ugh. I’m invisible now and it’s so weird. I’m even invisible to little kids at the playground who just see me in the way of where they’re trying to go. lol When I lived in LA, I lived at the beach. I rollerbladed. Went out almost every night. I weighed about 105. Those were the days. Sometimes I even found myself trying to hide from unwanted attention. Little did I know it would change and how it feels when it does change. I can’t say I feel bad. Just invisible, like I don’t exist. Maybe I don’t feel important, sometimes, is the best way to describe it. I will have to think of that when I’m seeing other women out there and just acknowledge them. I try to do that. If I see a woman and like her shoes, etc, I try to let her know. We all want to be seen. Even shy people. I guess we want validation that we exist.
I’m married. I’m not looking to be hit on. At the bottom of this post I wrote about being hit on the other day. Twice. It caught me off guard. It never happens. After ruminating from time to time on feeling invisible, I realized what’s missing is feeling visually appealing. It’s also nice when people — men and women — simply acknowledge that you exist. It’s nice to have your opinion valued. To have the door opened. For someone to look you in the eyes. For someone to say hi. Manners vary by region and country and seem to be on the decline in many cases. However, I know I’m not imagining the fact that I’ve ceased to exist in the eyes of others.
I always promised myself I wouldn’t be the 60 year old in head-to-toe leopard. I thought the prevention to that was to express my wild side when I was very young. So I wore my share of tight tops, dresses and shorts when they fit attractively. After having Mini G, I adopted a uniform of buttondowns, cardigans, jeans and statement jewelry. The look worked for the time period, but it’s no longer fulfilling. Even if other people don’t notice me like they used to, I want to feel good when I’m out in the world. For me, hair and clothing are a big part of it. I want to dress more appealing and I’m trying to figure out what that looks like for and on me. As far as my hair, I’m just going to have to try to be patient and give it time to grow. Being an actress puts this stuff in the forefront of my mind rather often. My appearance can be the obstacle or the gateway to whether I work or not, so I try to control what I can. But the acting world aside, I’m learning that many women feel invisible in life.
Do you feel invisible? What does that feel like to you? When did you notice the world no longer recognizing you as it had in the past? What do you have to say about it all?