Can You See Me Now

Have you ever been invisible? Looked through. Talked over. Scream and shout but no one hears you. Seriously consider walking through that wall over there because you must be a ghost. 

When my kidneys shut my body followed. My bones became brittle and every step created micro-fractures. My heart doubled in size. The fluid around my brain, cerebral spinal fluid, increased and I started having seizures. 

Walking was extremely painful. My heart ran too fast and then too slow. I had a constant headache and my vision would blackout. I was too sick to walk far so I spent most of my time in a wheelchair. 

Funny thing happens when you sit down in a wheelchair; you disappear. Where’s Waldo? Well, damn, he’s sitting in a wheelchair. How the hell am I supposed to find him?

Sitting on a sofa, office chair, or on the fence didn’t do it. When I was in a “normal” chair I was seen and heard. The wheelchair? Poof. Gone. Magic is real!

Here’s a perfect example. I was in the hospital and a friend of my parents came to visit. I was in my room, sitting on my bed, and we talked. They cracked a few jokes and I laughed when it seemed appropriate. Things were fine. It was a good visit.

Then they decided to go down and get some coffee.

I got into the wheelchair and the second I sat down everything changed. We went down the hall, my dad pushing me, and down the elevator. Through the lobby and the conversation continued over my head. They talked about me but never to me. I wasn’t there. I’d vanished.

A question was asked and I became a pronoun. No name. Just: She.

Eventually, my dad turned to his friend and said, “She can hear you. She can talk. She’s perfectly capable of answering that question. If you want to know just ask her.”

Hi Dad! Love you!

Deer in the headlights. Mouth opened and closed. Eyes wide. He looked down at me as if I’d just rematerialized. Oh, what wizardry is this? Egads!

For him, and a lot of other people, going from one chair to another dulled my ability to speak. As if interacting with me, while I was in that chair, wasn’t a remote possibility. Had my mind had melded with my ass? If one does not walk one must not be able to talk. 

I tried to remind people that I was there but it became too exhausting. Now, I’ve always been shy, quiet, but I became withdrawn. I disappeared into a book or my own imagination. My thoughts kept me company. The stories I read, or the ones I made up, were my friends.

The ghosts in my head became more appealing than the outside world. When I’m with them, I’m seen, heard, respected, safe, and physically whole. Why would I want to live anywhere else?

Yes, the micro-universes my brain creates aren’t real and, sure, it’s not the healthiest coping strategy. But when the real world can’t see us and when it isn’t safe? Living in a reality of our making feels like a warm blanket. 

Then again, there’s a chance the vail could lift. The magic cloak of whatever could get blown off and ta-da! I see you! Sitting right there! Looking spiffy my friend.

It only takes two seconds to say hi, smile, or just nod. Hold the door open for someone because we have a free hand. Small, simple, things that let them know that we’ve seen them too. That’s not too hard, right?

For me, there have been days when something as simple as a smile and a little eye contact made my day. Like, my whole day! It was horrible up until then but they looked me in the eyes and smiled. 

I got out of my head, went outside, and they saw me. They smiled.

I’m not invisible. A Ghost. An entity stuck in the time-space thingy. I’m a nerd, duh, but I’m real. I’m alive. I’m here. I’m right here. You can see me right? Whew! For a second I thought I was stuck in the Timey Whimey… I’ll just stop.

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