Invisible

Invisible (adjective)
not perceptible or discernible by the mind

Multiple sclerosis, for many, falls into the category of an invisible disease. Meaning that you can’t see the symptoms that someone has, though it doesn’t mean they don’t have any.

I have symptoms EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Am I fortunate that they are mostly tolerable after nearly 12.5 years of living with them? Sometimes yes, sometimes I just want to tear my hair out. And other days I literally try to will or blow the symptoms away.

So it’s kind of ironic that I have an invisible disease, because at this point in my life I also FEEL so incredibly invisible. A couple of months ago I noticed that I constantly had to move aside on the sidewalk to let people go by.

The first few times I thought wow those people walking together were really in their own world. A a few more times and I realized, I’ve become a “woman of a certain again.” That age where not only people don’t see you, they don’t even necessarily consider you.

From the start of the pandemic, the phrase “we’re all going through this together,” became really popular. And working in communications I knew that we might all be going through it, but it definitely wasn’t together or nearly in the same way.

I didn’t have responsibilities that would take me to the front lines of any field (healthcare, retail, warehouses, etc.). I was cocooned in my own little (VERY little) space. I wan’t even particularly nervous that I would get it since I didn’t have anyone coming or going who worked on the frontline, no kids to be concerned about either.

While everyone I knew was for sure going through it, it’s been in VERY different ways. I had a few friends say and write that they envied their single friends with no kids who could do video chats for happy hour while not having to worry about virtual school. That said, I also didn’t have anyone touch me for three months.

I realized this when I went to finally have my hair done, and teared up because my hair dresser was the first person in all of that time to put her hands on me. And while I couldn’t have imagined sharing a small space with someone else for all of those months on end, there were some days where I wish I hadn’t felt so invisible.

I also see this with many other women I know. We are single, no children, careers (though not CEOs or curing cancer), financially secure, and yet it’s still not enough to see myself reflected anywhere. Not in print, not on TV, not on expert panel discussions, really nowhere. In the media, etc. you see either women with partners and kids or they’re CEOs, or they’re curing cancer.

Articles are about how women with kids are penalized in their career, which is 100% true, but I have for SURE been at the end of the misogynistic stick and not had the same opportunities as men for different reasons. Which is largely why I created my own nearly five years ago.

While I wouldn’t change some of those things for anything, I would love not to feel invisible just because I don’t have them. And for the love of…pay afuckingttention when you’re walking side-by-side with people and go single file so others can get by.

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