How to be Invisible

One woman’s quest to see and be seen

By Heather Jo Flores

(a tangent)

So much of what we talk about these days seems to boil down to issues of visibility and invisibility:

Black people are invisible

Women are invisible

People in wheelchairs

People in dirty clothes

and so on…

Privilege and oppression.

The cycle feels deeply connected to how, when, why, IF we see the world outside of ourselves.

Whether or not other people are invisible is up to me.

Whether or not they see me? It’s up to them.

The other day I was contemplating the idea that, if I could somehow proactively cultivate abilities in myself that I currently scorn because they feel rooted in a patriarchy, then perhaps I could gain a greater mastery over the dismantling of it. Coldness, dismissal, ambivalence, lack of compassion and general douchebaggery. Could acting in these ways actually improve my relationship with myself and the world, and by extension my relationship to others?

“You can’t use the Master’s tools to dismantle the Master’s house.”


Who said that? Some guy?

I don’t want to dismantle his house and he isn’t my Master! I’ll build my own damned house, thank you very much.

But I still won’t have control over whether or not others see it, value it, agree with how it was built.

As for learning how to be play a patriarch on TV, in order to enhance my relationship with myself and the world? Wow, I haven’t come to a conclusion on that one yet, and I doubt I will, but I might wear the idea from time to time, much like I might wear a pair of men’s pants…not super comfortable but functional for heavy lifting.

Generally I prefer dresses. And yoga pants, of course. Cut off at the knee because otherwise they get too muddy from all the compulsive gardening I do. Farm Chic, we call it.

I never said I wasn’t a vagabond, and this piece was meant to ramble.


This train of thought goes here:

As I choose to SEE more and more, as I choose not to let marginalized people be invisible to me, a myriad of unforeseen changes are happening in my overall perspective:

I am seeing MYSELF more clearly, because I have allowed the mirror of the world to marginalize me, and now that mirror is cracked.

I have become acutely aware when tiny lies come out of my mouth. The worst lie I tell, all the time, is when I make excuses for not doing my art/writing/yoga, and pretend like it was because I didn’t have the time or money.

When really, it was because I didn’t trust myself not to fail, and I let that keep me from trying.

Oh well. Now I know. Another crack in the mirror of the world, always telling me I would never amount to much. Crack crack, not listening anymore.

And I’m not gonna beat myself up over any of this crap. I’m going to revel in the sheer visibility or myself, and forgive. It hurts so good.

Don’t judge me.

I’m in metamorphosis.

So are you.

I‘m’ opening.

I’m learning the subtle, powerful difference between “making choices” and “obeying rules I didn’t agree to.”

On the other side of the coin, I can also choose who is invisible to me. I have that option. Is it right or wrong? I don’t know. Are we obliged to always keep our eyes stapled open, seeing seeing seeing all the heinous shit everywhere?

That’s another question. But what I mean right now is, for example, can choose not to see people who cut me down? Can I make invisible those who have abused? Can I choose not to see people who refuse to see me, to accept me for who I am, to respect my boundaries? Can I altogether dismiss people who don’t want me to grow?

A metaphor:

When you make a painting, you might sketch it in with a pencil first. Maybe the drawing is clumsy, ill-proportioned, but you get the basic structure. Next, you go over it with the paint, a quick outline that strengthens the idea. Now you can go in with a nice rubber eraser and rub out all of that sketchy stuff. You clean up the canvas and use a soft brush to dust away the rubber debris so it doesn’t screw up the surface texture.

Now you have space. Space for color and form. Space for layers of light and darkness. Space to manifest your original vision, or to let it change.

And even though you know those penciled-in lines, those old, awkward decisions, would have eventually been covered, there is a sense of ease that comes from having removed them, knowing they wouldn’t be true, or necessary, to the brilliance and contrast of the final image.

And so, let’s spend time erasing sketchy lines. Clearing the space for color and depth. And being impeccably intentional about who we see, and who we don’t.

to be continued…

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