Saturday we went on a bus trip to see the Christmas light display in Oglebay, WV. I had originally asked a friend to go. She agreed and then ran with the idea...inviting her granddaughter, then suggesting our husbands. I was okay with that. I love her 17 year old granddaughter and our husbands get along well so I thought it would be fun.
Then my friend invited everyone in our Bible study group. I wasn't thrilled with that idea, but went along with it. All but one sweet, gentle, quiet woman said they were unable to go. I was okay with that.
For some reason, my friend twisted the arm of the woman who gets on my nerves the most until she agreed to come. Don't get me wrong, I love this woman as a sister in Christ, but I love her in small doses and I am honest enough to admit that if we did not have Christ between us we would NEVER be friends.
To say I wasn't thrilled is an understatement. The invited woman is that woman who can only talk to one friend at a time. If there are three woman in the group, one will be left out because she cannot include two and there is never a time when she steps back and allows the other two to talk. She monopolizes whomever she has set her sights on...and then she talks. Non-stop. About herself. And she is someone who just dwells on EVERYTHING and talks about the same thing, whatever it is that day, over and over. And over.
Still, I was being "okay" with it. The husbands were going, my friend promised we'd put them together and then we girls could all just chat and have a good time. Uh, huh. The husbands were both not feeling well and not much company at all. Plus, they found the trip a total bore. The quiet, gentle woman had to back out of the trip because her father was in the hospital. And then the talker had her daughter bring along a friend. I knew at that point that I was going to be the odd woman out for the day. I just never dreamed it would be so...complete.
She claimed the seat next to the friend I had invited and monopolized her the entire trip. I tried a couple of times to enter the conversation, but got short answers and then was ignored again. By the time we got home I was tired, miserable, hurt, and absolutely seething with anger. I had started the whole ball rolling and I ended up having a terrible time.
I left giving them the cold shoulder and really bit my tongue when the "talker" came running after me saying I couldn't sneak out without giving her a goodbye hug. Really? After you acted like I wasn't even there all day. I wasn't feeling any more generous toward my friend, either. She could have steered things a bit, but didn't.
My friend called yesterday and I wasn't going to answer, but I finally did. She gushed about what a good time she had. That is when I let her know in no uncertain terms that I did not, that I was hurt and disappointed. She was as clueless as the "talker." Her tune changed when she realized how upset I was and I let her think everything was okay with us. It's not. Not yet.
The thing I kept telling my husband over and over is that I felt completely invisible the whole day. That is such a horrible feeling. It is, unfortunately, one I am very familiar with. People make me feel that way a LOT. The women in my Bible study, co-workers, even my family. I often try to enter into the conversations going on around me, but can't get a word in. Or I will be talking to someone and they will just turn away and talk to someone else like I wasn't even talking. Or I say something to someone and they don't even hear me.
I am the person that no one seeks out....unless they want something from me or they are angry at me and want to let me know it.
I spent some time reading articles online yesterday about women who feel invisible. There are TONS of articles so there must be a lot of us out here feeling this way. One of the ones I read was a list of traits that charismatic people (the popular people everyone wants to be around share) and I had to admit those are not me. These traits are:
- Radiating self-assurance through non-verbals. In other words, they appear confident. They carry themselves with good posture, they don't act unsure of themselves, they are decisive, they appear calm when they don't know something...knowing that life will go on and it will be okay.
- They speak their mind. They don't let worry over what the other person will think of them stop them from speaking up in conversations. They don't over analyze what they say, think, or do. (They definitely don't let everyone think it's okay when they are seething.)
- They appear natural. They are confident, at ease, sure of themselves.
- They are comfortable with discomfort. Everyone feels uncomfortable at times, the popular people just don't show it. They know that people only see what you let them see and they choose a confident persona.
- They are 100 percent present. They know how to make the other person feel wanted and listened to. (The "talker" on my trip? She's a pro at this if she wants the attention of someone. That is how she was able to monopolize my friend. Of course, she takes this to unhealthy levels of sucking up and ego-stroking. My friend ate it up with a spoon!)
That's just a beginning, but in these I see so much I have to work on. There is also another area I absolutely have to work on. My weight. I need to change things for health reasons, but I also need to change for reasons of invisibility. I don't care what anyone says, people treat you differently when you are overweight. They make judgments about the kind of person you are and many automatically decide your worth as a human being is somehow less.
Today is Monday. A new week. A fresh start. I am determined to gain substance, to lose the cloak of invisibility. I am asking the Lord to be my strength, to take away any desire I have for unhealthy foods, and steel my resolve in practicing the above traits. I am asking all of you to encourage me and keep me accountable and honest.