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the story of an invisible girl
Invisible Girl?
My journal is titled the story of an invisible girl. The link attempts to explain why. A few people, upon seeing that title recently, have told me that I'm not invisible. Each time, I have disagreed with them, explaining why I am still invisible. Sure, if you know me you'll notice me. And sure, if I'm the only female in a group I'll be more visible. But really, on a day-to-day basis, I'm still pretty under-noticed.

If you tried living in my shoes, you'd know how often they've been stepped on by people who didn't see me.

That "invisibility" has always been a part of my identity. I'm the girl on the fringes of a social group. I'm the one who is liked, but doesn't quite fit in. I'm everyone's friend, but nobody's best friend. Not the first person anyone thinks of, but if I trail along nobody minds. I'm not complaining here, and I'm not looking for sympathy or disagreement; I'm just stating facts. It's not something I'm proud of, nor something I'm ashamed of. It's just who I am.

This is very deeply ingrained in my sense of self. I don't turn around when someone says "hey", because they're not talking to me. If the pronoun "you" or "she" comes up in a conversation, I assume it's not me. When somebody approaches me with a gift, I restrain myself from feeling happy, because it's probably for somebody else. I'd rather be unexpectedly pleased than frequently disappointed.

This is why, last week, I was very surprised when somebody gave me a flower. I was at a skating exhibition, there to cheer on my ex-teammates. A bunch of us were standing in a cluster afterward, chatting, when W said, "I got a flower!" I looked up (she is very tall), and she was happily sniffing a rose. I saw H standing near her, holding a couple more roses (they were being sold at the rink).

I smiled politely at her pleasure, then H said, "Flowers for my ex-teammates." She handed one flower to a girl to her right, then held one to her left. Near me. I was absolutely certain that she was handing it to somebody right next to or behind me. That's just how it works in my life. I didn't move to touch it or even look too closely, because I didn't want to embarrass myself or her. That is, until the flower was literally shoved into my immobile hands. Then I realized, in shock, that it was actually for me.

I accepted it with my babbled thanks, probably making way too big a deal of the whole incident. It was all just so unexpected. H is one of the more "popular" girls on the team -- with a total of around 24 skaters, a team tends to form a few cliques. I've certainly never been in the inner circle of any "popular" crowd, and I never considered myself especially popular in the synchro world either.

My mind has already made an excuse for the incident: I just happened to be the ex-teammate closest to her. She certainly didn't plan to give one to me, after all. And that may very well be true. But then I remembered: they did elect me co-captain last year (to my complete surprise). Maybe I'm more well-liked on that team, less invisible, than I thought.

Could that be true? And is this an isolated incident, or could my invisibility be wearing thin?

Thinking back on the past year, I was invited to a few events (a wedding, some showers) that I wouldn't have expected to be invited to. Also, and this will probably sound silly -- last year I was given little Christmas presents by some unexpected people as well (much to my embarrassment). I think that maybe more people count me among their friends than, perhaps, I realized.

It may be that today I'm a little bit less invisible, a little less of an outsider, than I used to be. I'm so accustomed to being under-noticed; it feels strange to even contemplate such a concept.

I still don't think I'll ever be part of a group's "inner circle". That's okay: I'm not sure I'd want that anyway -- I'm better one-on-one than in groups. And I'm sure I'll still get bumped into and stepped on a lot. But maybe, just maybe, after 33 years, I'm finally outgrowing my awkward stage.
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anderale From: anderale Date: December 12th, 2004 10:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

me, I'm just the group weirdo...:)

One good thing to being on the fringes is that you are still well liked and can be seen as the person who is fair. Everyone likes you. More importantly, no one dislikes you and every group needs that person.

I bet you could throw together an impromtu party and have a fantastic turnout, too. :)
atdt1991 From: atdt1991 Date: December 12th, 2004 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: me, I'm just the group weirdo...:)

Oh and yeah, I'd come to a rennie party. :)
atdt1991 From: atdt1991 Date: December 12th, 2004 11:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know you weren't looking for any back patting. That said, don't be surprised if you get it anyway. (I've been there myself)

I dig ya. :) Though it's only happened a few times, I actively enjoy your presence, and I'd be all about hitting the National for some tea sometime. *nods*

I myself have gone from the total outsider to the "jack of all cliques, master of none." I can definitely relate to that feeling of being invisible; it seems my post-adolescent solution was to become extroverted. *smirk* Some people are annoyed, and even some of my best friends have occsionally mentioned that I talk too much.

But I get noticed.
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: December 13th, 2004 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)
lady, you may not even realize/feel it, but you're *always* noticed. actually until fairly recently i used to be incredibly jealous of that very fact. sometimes i think it comes down to our perceptions of where we fit into our various social circles... and sometimes we're dead on, and other times, we're so very wrong.
bob_the_mighty From: bob_the_mighty Date: December 13th, 2004 06:17 am (UTC) (Link)


A person once told me right after I had finished an anecdote that they had considered me very quiet and easy to overlook UNTIL I started telling the story. They were quite simply amazed and astonished. I simply shrugged and made some flippant comment about how it's easier to observe from the shadowy fringes than from the spotlight.

It's something I chose to do long ago...possibly subconsciously.

But enough about me.. I'm endangering my shadowy status by revealing THIS much. *grin*

Simply put is that I've never thought of you as invisible. You (and your posts) are a delightfully bright spot in many groups. Sounds like you're finally starting seeing yourself as such.

lahabiel From: lahabiel Date: December 13th, 2004 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)

"Circle of Light," Ani DiFranco

standing just outside
the circle of light
avoiding the pool cues
watching the game
waiting for you
hanging in the doorway
like smoke
like mistletoe
this is where I'll be
whenever you come or go

I'm gonna roll you over
gonna peel you back
expose your tender center
watch the juices flow from the crack
gonna peel you out
of your protective shell
or I might have to break right in there
and raise some hell

I don't have no grand plan
for you and me
just nothing is impossible
nothing is unlikely
I'm just riding the tide
nothing more
and it's bound to take me out some
before it brings me back to shore

when you look in the mirror
do you see visions of your past
I ain't got time for halfway
I ain't got time for halfassed
when I look in the mirror
I see my days to come
and my face is just a trace
of where I'm coming from

just outside the circle of light
is where you've been living
your whole life
you've got to jump into the center
and launch your attack
and then you've got to crawl back
in the corners
where it's really black
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: December 13th, 2004 07:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Not the first person anyone thinks of...

It's weird only knowing someone on-line. You get a skewed view of their personality. Or maybe you get a better view of their personality. I dunno.

(Digression about myself: While at A&M I met most of my friends through the 'net. I remember talking to one guy, called "I-3", though I seem to recall that his name was Bill, who told me I was an asshole. But not really. "I though you were an asshole based on your posts," he said, "but in real life you're a nice guy. You should post like that, instead of being an asshole.")

Anyway, Rennie, according to the people I've asked you are a little on the invisible side in real life. "Quiet," was the term that was used, but I'm guessing that's kind of what you're talking about.

In LiveJournal, though, you're anything but. You're cheery, thoughful, and verbose without being boring. Your entries get more replies on a regular basis than anyone else I know/link to.

So, will the real Rennie please stand up?

But seriously, are you going to be in town during December? I'd like to meet you in person at some point. How are you at motorcycle repair? (I still have to help elizilla get the Shiny Sabre running.)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 14th, 2004 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guess it's all the "real" rennie, and there are even more layers as well. That's the fun of our being 3-dimensional people!

I'm not planning on traveling this december, so yes I will be around. I have some out-of-town family who will be visiting in the days right before and after Christmas.

I have never attempted motorcycle repair. So while it's possible that it could turn out to be a hidden skill, it's not likely -- especially given my inability to recognize more than my battery in my car. (:
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: December 13th, 2004 08:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey Rennie you are my best single MI friend under 40!

What about the whole co-captain of the skating team thing?

I think we all feel that we are on the periphery of our social groups sometimes. I know I do most of the time having most of your friends live a long ways a way will do that.

Want to exchange Xmas presents this year?

I could buy one of those orange flags on a stick and you could wear it so people would see you or maybe an orange safety vest of maybe a flashing light .....
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 14th, 2004 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
haha! I don't think I want to stand out that much...scary!
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: December 15th, 2004 06:31 am (UTC) (Link)
How about a nice bright colourfull sweater?
the_leewit From: the_leewit Date: December 13th, 2004 10:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Oddly enough and apropos of nothing, right around the time you were added to my friends list, I wrote one of the few actual songs I've ever written, and I'm sure you have something to do with it. It's pretty awful, but was part of a bunch of stuff I'd written about hidden relationships and superhero/villian secret identities, three-chord punk roughly reminscent of Blondie's "Rip Her to Shreds." All about how there are certain people you can't envision as fitting into the stereotype and some honesty is so clear some people just can't see it as truth. ("Invisible Girl/ with the cellophane smile," it went, "Invisible Girl/ Are you an audiophile?" Told you it was awful, not really any reason to share beyond the first impression you leave, but whatever [shrugs]).

I do hope to meet you in person someday.

So, now that we've shared sleepover secrets, I think it's your turn to have your toenails painted... "Days of Wine and Roses" would be appropriate, but my fave is "I'm Not Really a Waitress Red." Colour?

renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 14th, 2004 08:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
A cellophane song... actually that's really neat! Especially if I may have influenced it.

I'm fond of purple! Purpley-red (reddish-purple?)is nice too... is that what wine and roses looks like?

I'm certain that we will meet someday.
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: December 13th, 2004 11:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like you are just a little shy.
_goodintentions From: _goodintentions Date: December 13th, 2004 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Cliques happen in teams with even only 11 people (like my team lolol).

You look very pretty in your icon <3.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 14th, 2004 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guess cliques are everywhere. Thank you! *hug*
nishar From: nishar Date: December 13th, 2004 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think anyone who is so beautiful, inside an out, could ever be invisible. I think others are just starting to see it... and you.
retepsnave From: retepsnave Date: December 14th, 2004 08:31 am (UTC) (Link)

... everyone should feel like an outsider, it keeps us human and humble

But maybe, just maybe, after 33 years, I'm finally outgrowing my awkward stage

... poignant and I'd venture very nicely turning true!
thatguychuck From: thatguychuck Date: December 14th, 2004 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm the one who is liked, but doesn't quite fit in. I'm everyone's friend, but nobody's best friend. Not the first person anyone thinks of, but if I trail along nobody minds. I'm not complaining here, and I'm not looking for sympathy or disagreement; I'm just stating facts.

You aren't asking for disagreement on the above statements, but I must offer my thoughts on the last one. I disagree with it quite a bit.

You may be stating your facts, but they are as you see them. You cannot see yourself as others see you, nobody can. I have been very surprised at how people view me, often I'm the last one to know.

You may believe these things to be true, but they cannot be called facts. These are your beliefs, and beliefs and opinions are valid. But often we see ourselves differently than we actually are, even if we think of ourselves a certain way.

That said, it seems I have different opinions of you than you have of yourself.

(See? I didn't disagree, I simply stated my facts. Er, um, my opinions. < grin > )

renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 14th, 2004 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
That is a very good point. I suppose they aren't actual facts, just my perceptions. I was mostly just trying to be clear that I wasn't writing this just looking for affirmation -- like when somebody says "oh my hair looks awful!" just so that their friend will say "no no, your hair looks great."

Thanks for stating your facts opinions, and making me see things more clearly. *smile*
From: djinnlurker Date: December 20th, 2004 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I know you aren't looking for affirmation, but I'm going to second Chuck on this. My perception of your social position is quite different from yours. I've seen you as the central focus of activity at several parties over at S&D's, and often at cons. You've always struck me as being in the middle of things, and being popular. I suspect many people see you that way.

Once you learn to view yourself as an outsider, though, it's very hard to unlearn that. My SO has the same problem.

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