You’re the girl in the back of the room sitting quietly while everyone else laughs and talks. Or maybe you’re the one no one ever saves a seat for at the staff meeting. You’re the girl with her head down, trying to do what you should. You’re the girl walking through the hallways that everyone bumps into because they don’t notice you.
You’re the one who is always on the fringes somehow but never quite left out enough to be noticed for that, either. You ebb and flow on your own between the groups, between the crowds, living your whole time in the in-between.
You’re the girl with the quiet voice, maybe literally, maybe metaphorically. While others shout their accomplishments from the rooftop, you sit back and let your achievements casually float by. You’re not the girl to stand in the spotlight or to move the spotlight to yourself.
You’re the one who people say hi to but never hello. You’re the girl who eats her bagel at the breakfast meeting and has to wonder if something is stuck in her teeth–or if it even matters. You’re the one people know of yet never truly know. Maybe you’re the one who has people you can text but not call.
You’re the one who is never scorned but is always sort of forgotten, which feels worse sometimes.
You’re the one whose quiet murmurs are drowned out by the shouts of the ones who are heard.
Still, you trudge onward, your head down and your work completed. You do all the things you should–or at least you try to. You’re not perfect. You spend a lot of time in the darkness of wondering if you are good enough and examining your flaws. Still, you try. You do your best. You show up, even if no one notices. You do the things you’re supposed to do, even when no one is looking.
To the quiet girl, I know what’s it like to be you. I think a lot of us do. We know what it’s like to struggle sometimes with feeling invisible. You flit about the outskirts but not far enough out to be unique or noteworthy. You just sort of are, and no one seems to notice. You bump shoulders with all sorts of people, but they attribute it to the wind or brush it off and get back to what they’re doing. You’re never quite in and never quite out. You sit in your cloak of invisibility. Sometimes, muddy boots try to walk over you to get to where they’re going.
Sometimes, invisible girl, you wonder if you should try to be seen. To throw off the cloak and shout from the rooftops, “I’m here. I exist. Look at me.” Sometimes you wonder if it would be better to be bad than to be unnoticed. Sometimes you wonder if something’s wrong with you.
Because even if you tell yourself it’s okay to be invisible, that you like it, I know the truth. I know that sometimes it’s lonely. Sometimes it’s downright irritating to be the one trying to do the right things and trying to be humble and trying to sit in the truth of who you are. Being the invisible girl feels like being a figment of the societal imagination. Sometimes, you wonder if your existence matters at all. Often, you wonder if you exist at all.
But to the invisible girl in the back of the room or forgotten in the meeting or shoved aside in the coffee line or unnoticed by all, I want you to know that I see you. We see you, all of the other invisibles. Because you’re not alone. So many of us not only see you but are you. And perhaps there’s some comfort in that.
Most of all, I hope you find comfort, invisible girl and invisible woman, in the fact that you matter. Even when you think no one is looking, no one is seeing, you matter more than you know. So stay strong. Stay you. Don’t be discouraged. Be true to who you really are and keep your chin up, even on the lonely days
Because the world needs the invisible girls, even if they don’t know it yet. They need your gifts and your dedication. They need your quiet resolve to be something, to do something, to change something.
The world sometimes jokes it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for.
I think they’re right. Because I think sometimes it’s the quiet ones, the ones sitting in their truths and observing the world, who have the real power to make a difference.
Own your power. Don’t be afraid to raise your voice, even if you wonder if anyone will listen. And never let the fear of invisibility stop you from understanding that you are a warrior, a gift that the world needs.
I see you. We see you. I hope that you can see you, too, for the amazing female you are.