On being seen or not- the glorious invisibility of the 60+

Way back in the dawn of time, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, etc etc etc, I used to be able to grab the world’s attention with a winning smile and a push-up bra. I’ve even got good eyes. And cheekbones.

I felt seen, essential, valuable. I was asked my opinion about things, and I HAD an educated one.

Now, post the asteroids of raising children, divorce, developing MS, I am becoming increasingly invisible.

I feel I am greying out.

My hair has been silver since the youngest kid reached adolescence (and I earned every single grey hair raising the gang), and I’d grown to rock with it- because I was the only wee grey haired lady with a young face around. I was visible. And the push up bra was still an asset.

The other day, though, I found myself in a wee herd of silver-haired women, all of them not tall. We got mushed into a gang. A pack of little old ladies bring a back uncomfortable memories of Monty Pythonish grannies…

That could be fun, as I am waiting for the years when I can say exactly what is on my mind and people will just smile indulgently, but my mojo factor would slip into the pits of despond and I’m not quite ready for that. I remember my mojo. It was fun.

Though… it is sometimes a relief to have a man’s eyes slide right over me like I was a piece of furniture. Less ogling. No need to tart myself up anymore. No risk of inappropriate actions, comments, gestures. It makes me sad that this seems like a benefit, but it is. I can glide around the world and not be commented upon.

It’s good, except when it isn’t. When I go days without being noticed by anyone, when I can feel myself becoming transparent as I walk here and there, or ask for service in a shop, it can feel deadening.

At times I feel the urge to shout at the world– but maybe I need to try that to add some colour to my cheeks? Maybe I need to demand attention just to define my borderlines, make me stand out from all the other grey haired ladies of that certain age.

Because sometimes I want to. Stand out, that is.

And then sometimes I am fiendishly glad to be hidden in the crowd, grey and greying, and of no consequence.