Yet again, tonight I wrote a blog that is not being posted here. It was frivolous. It was a good blog post, and I might post it at some point in the future, but it was a cover-up. It was cheerful, and I don’t feel cheerful. It was lighthearted, and my heart is not light. If I would have posted that entry tonight, it would have been a lie.
I wonder why I was prompted to write the lighthearted post tonight? I think it was to prove that I was OK when I am NOT doing OK. I wrote it, and it sat there like something disagreeable in my stomach. It was heavy. The lighthearted blog post felt heavy like a shroud. It was a lie. No, there were no lies written in the post, but it was still a lie. It was not ME.
As I sat here looking at the words I had written, my phone buzzed. An email had come through, so I stopped staring at my blog post to switch over to look at my email. It was a blog post notification from a fellow blogger. She had not made an entry for a very long time, but tonight something had prompted her to write once again. I clicked through to her entry, and I grew cold as I read. She wrote about an experience she had this evening. It was an experience that I have had in my dreams many times, over and over.
She had attended a function in public and someone she cared about very much ignored her presence. She was invisible in the loudest, most obnoxious way. She was monstrously invisible. She was so horribly invisible that this person who was ignoring her felt the need to shield others from her. Do you understand what I mean? Backs were turned. People positioned themselves in a way to shut her out. She was monstrously invisible. How this made her feel was not important to this person who was once her best friend. Her humanness was not important. She was to be ignored at all costs. Kindness or acknowledgement was not allowed. No, the monstrously invisible are not subject to the same hospitality or kindnesses that may be shown to strangers. Smile at a stranger. Hold the door. Wish them a good morning. But the monstrously invisible are treated as if they are the living dead, a ghost, a horrible specter. Avert your eyes. Shield your loved ones. Go about your business as quickly as possible. Act with determination, be preoccupied. Maybe the monstrously invisible will think you didn’t notice them. Maybe they will slink back into their place of blackness.
I have had this dream over and over. She experienced tonight what I have only lived in nightmares: the gesture of greeting that is ignored, the smile that fades on the lips. As she wrote, her pain was palpable. She was real, right? She isn’t a monster, right? She has feelings, right? She matters, right? Of course she does, but there is no way that I can tell her. I don’t know her. I don’t know where she lives. I don’t even know her real name.
All around people are hurting, and they’re hurting deeply. Last night, I saw a website about (and I may not remember right) a national “Are You OK?” Day. It was an Australian group whose idea in creating the day was to aid in suicide prevention. The premise was to reach out. Ask some one that looks troubled if they are OK. Reach out to someone you may not know well, but who is going through a challenging time. The day was about the power of kindness. A kind word, a kind gesture, a hug, a pat on the back, showing someone that they are valued, that they DO matter, can mean the difference between life and death. Imagine how little effort it takes to make someone’s day. Reach out. Be kind. Please.
Tomorrow that will be my goal. I will reach out where I see a need. I will be kind in her honor. In the honor of the monstrously invisible, I will try my best to make those around me feel valued.