Tuesday night at approximately 8:17pm, I stood in my bedroom. I felt compelled to reread my Father's Day cards. I pulled them out of the thick stack of papers and who-knows-what that has amassed at the right side of my sock drawer. I opened and read the one from my son, and felt amazing warmth as a smile crossed my face and my eyes and my whole self. Then I opened and read the one from my wife, and I felt my eyes water.
It was right about then that all of me, the whole me, realized I was visible.
It's been a long road and really really hard to get to this point. It is a marked shift for me, the me that once was satisfied with being invisible and just hoping someone - anyone - would notice me. Not just a part of me, but me. It has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, this desire to not be seen and take a backseat to everyone and everything else.
When asked for my opinions or thoughts I'd often opt out. "I don't care," I'd say, even though I might care a lot . This often manifested when I was asked what I wanted to do on a given evening or weekend, or where I might want to grab a bite to eat. "No preference." "You pick."
Some of my choices gave me this opportunity to be invisible. Photography, as I discussed with my friend Paul this weekend, let me hide behind a camera. Doing work in computers let me hide behind a screen. Hiding. Not showing myself.
It ultimately felt very empty and very restraining. There was a part of myself that was immensely dissatisfied with this, but it was simply the way I operated - the way I chose to be - and that part just didn't get any play.
But that part helped me look at things in an entirely different way at 8:22pm. An impromptu examination of my life... always the best kind. And it came down to people. I saw myself opting to be invisible - delaying scheduling time with people, ignoring emails, avoidance - because it was easy. Because it's what I've done. Because it was and is comfortable.
But no more. Or, I will practice not doing that anymore. I am in others' lives, and I will be present in them as much as I am present in my own.
Here I am.