Have you ever thought about what super power you would possess if you could have any?
Maybe you would go with the ability to fly, super hero strength, laser beams for eyes could sure come in handy at times. I think if I could possess any power, I would want to be able to manipulate time. I did have a super power once, and I gained so much freedom the day I decided to give it up.
I used to possess the power to be invisible.
Invisible at pool parties. Invisible at dances. Invisible at camping trips. Invisible when we went to the lake for a day of fun.
In fact, I know a lot of invisible women. We are so invisible, most people don’t even realize we are trying to fly under the radar.
We avoid events. Functions. Vacation. Air Travel. Photographs. Life.
We live in fear of being seen. Noticed. Scrutinized. We erase all traces of evidence that we were here. Only allowing a few remnants to remain, if we look thin enough, beautiful enough, sucked in enough.
We have taken a million selfies on our phone, but none ever make the cut.
We take 100 items in the dressing room, but none ever make us look perfect enough.
So we settle for invisibility, checked out of life waiting for that magic “until” that never ends up happening.
I want to show you some photos of some days I decided to show up.
These are all photos that bring me great joy. But there would have been a time I might not have kept them. The time where I was still fearfully clingling to my invisibility, terrified of being seen.
This picture of me with all of my friends in my office I would have second checked with all of them and surely at some point in their lives someone would have said “ugh! Delete that!” I loved sitting in that room with strong and confident women talking about how to change the world. It is a day we discussed wild ideas, brainstormed, laughed, forged dreams, talked about the real deep stuff, and ate delicious Poke bowls.
These other photos are with my kids. There was a time I had no pictures of them with me. Nothing would pass my scrutinizing gaze. This yoga photo I would have immediately seen bumps and lumps and not my fun day with my exuberant little. I would have forgotten about the giggles and the awesome after yoga feeling and focused only on my mom belly.
This one with my two littles I would have deleted it because I have a double chin. I will never forget this morning. They were pretending to be cats and running their noses on me then they started having the cutest argument over who loved me first. I felt loved. I am loved. I want to show up for moments like this, I am so grateful I have blurry documentation despite my flaws. Most everyone has a double chin but not everyone has a morning where they feel that loved!
This final photo is a recent favorite. One of the perks of having a teenager in the home is that my hubs and I can regularly steal away for late dates. Some of our favorite late dates are walks and spending a few hours at our town’s indoor rock gym. Forget the photo, there would have been a time where I would not have felt comfortable enough in my own body to rock climb. I would have made excuses and disappeared into my own world of invisibility. Now we have nights of laughter and bonding. I get to share in something my husband truly enjoys and practice building strength in a new way.
I have a challenge for all of my invisible ladies out there. Show up. Show up for life. Be seen. Do the things that bring you joy, value, and meaning in life. Do them in spite of what you feel and think about your body. In fact, do them BECAUSE of how you feel about your body. The world needs to see you out there, living life. This is a radical act of rebellion.
When I think about women with super powers, my mind immediately goes to Wonder Woman. Spoiler alert. I can’t watch that movie without sobbing. My favorite scene, is the one where she goes into No Man’s Land and basically does all the things. It is epic. She shows up, when everyone else is too terrified to even be seen. I think I always sob because I know so many women hunkered down in the safe-feeling shadows, who are just now feeling brave enough to poke their heads out. Shots are being fired. The war is far from over. But they are showing up.
The reward is great, life and death are on the line. Don’t check out of life. Don’t look at photographs and delete them because of some perceived flaw. Show up, just as you are. Be in this fight. We need you here. Visible. You.
When you look at photographs stop searching for flaws. Look at what you are doing. Think about what that moment represents for you. Remember how you felt in that moment. Ask yourself if all of that needs to be deleted, just because you don’t feel like you look your best. Long after that feeling is gone (and body feelings are always fleeting, coming out of nowhere and leaving just as quickly), you will want documentation of living your life.
Your life is waiting for you. The question is, are you going to show up for it?