I've been at my new job for a month. This week I've had two separate people come up to me and ask me why I'm so quiet.
"When we hired you, we thought you would be the life of the party here! Why so quiet?"
"You are so quiet. I forget you're here."
If you ask any of my former co-workers, "quiet" is not a word they would use to describe me. While I'm definitely an introvert and NEED quiet, generally when I'm around other people, I make a spectacle of myself. Usually not on purpose.
I have no filter.
I voice weird thoughts I have before they eat me.
I may need to try out an idea verbally, before I execute it, and relative strangers are my favorite folks to do that with.
So why so quiet?
I'm not being quiet. So I don't know. But I have a fear.
I keep facetiously referring to 2015 as The Year of the Ann. I do this because 2014 was decidedly NOT the Year of the Ann. It was The Year of Destroy Ann and Everything In Her Life. A life, which by the way, feels long and storied. My very skin seems riddled with the scars of a thousand little destructions.
I know the pain of abuse.
Of playing second fiddle.
Of being replaced.
Of being abandoned.
Of being terrified of losing a child.
Of financial ruin.
Of accidentally tossing what I needed most.
Of self hatred.
Of being alone.
I know the pain of being invisible.
It's like I'm standing in a room full of people and everyone is saying, "Say something, or we're going to give up on you."
But I'm screaming.
So, what if all that pain...a lot of which I brought on myself...what if it has just stretched and scarred me until I'm nothing more than cellophane? Invisible unless the light hits it just right or it gets crumpled?
The 5 year old asked me when I was going to get a boyfriend. I told her when I found someone who would love me, her, and her sister as much as I love her and her sister. She thought about that and then said, "Mommy. He needs to be really kind."
More than anything in 2015, I'd like to find companionship. I don't want a husband or another dad for my kids or anything like that. Just someone who gets me. Who gets butterflies when he thinks about holding my hand. Who tries to say goodnight, but just has to grab my face and kiss me, because he can't stand it anymore.
Someone who SEES me.
But what if...
What if that is over for me? What if just too much has happened? What if I am transparent from being laid bare too many times?
I try. I smile at cute boys. I'm friendly to anyone who bothers to speak to me. I keep my eyes open, just in case he shows up, so I won't miss him.
But what if he misses me?
What if he doesn't see me?
I'm here. I'm an open door. But what if I'm a glass door that looks like it opens to nothing from the outside?
I'm bursting right now. I'm filling my house with art that I love. I'm painting walls. I'm writing. I'm loving work. I'm interested in so many things and have huge plans for the future.
So why do I get the sneaking suspicion that, to others, I am just a ghost, haunting a life that could have been if I had made better decisions?
I'm still here. I'm still the core of a person with good things to offer.