A couple of posts ago, I mentioned in my ramblings that I felt invisable a lot of the time. Since then I received some emails, comments and messages from concerned friends and others so I thought I needed to come back here and clarify.
First, let me say, I'm OK. I'm completely fine.
I grew up in a large family. There were five of us birth children of which I was 5th. When I was 5 years old, my parents became foster parents and our door was a revolving door for babies and toddlers who were in need of a safe place to live while their future was being determined. Two of those foster children became permanent in our house - Rick who is 7 years younger and has Downs Syndrome and Mike who is a year younger than I am.
I loved growing up in our house. It was always full of love and activity. My parents were great parents. That being said, I was number 5. I was quiet and shy and stayed away from any attention (and still do.) Without going into a lot of the nitty gritty of what it's like being #5, it's easy to see how I could feel invisable during those years (which was good for a shy, quiet girl who stayed away from the limelight.)
My childhood made me into the caring adult that I am. I love to care for others and to make sure that everyone around me is happy ... whether it's my own family, or friends. I love taking care of people. I feel it's my gift.
In doing so, and being a person who prefers living in the background, I find it difficult to demand attention when I need it. Fortunately I have a husband who loves to shower me with attention and makes me feel like the centre of his universe.
I'm a stay-at-home mom who has spent the last 21 years seeing to all the needs of my family. My whole life has been defined in that way, and now that they are older, and they don't need me in the same way I'm struggling with my changing identity. When I'm out meeting other adults, I cringe when the converstion turns to "what do you do?" because as soon as I say that I'm a stay-at-home mom I'm almost immediately dismissed from that point forward.
Over the past couple of weeks I've been having a conversation with a very wise friend who totally understood what I meant when I said that I felt invisable a lot of the time. She has felt it too. She told me "it was just assumed that I didn't have any needs, cause I was so good at looking after everyone else's. (I had to) learn how to get my voice, and speak my truth."
...so that's where I am ... trying to learn how to get my voice ... and trying to learn how to share my needs with those around me (and not just waiting for them to see it for themselves) ... but more importantly, allowing them to actually take care of me for a change.