When Your Grief Makes You Feel Invisible 

As a little girl I wanted to be three things when I grew up. In the order bellow, and with all seriouness and eagerness of my heart. 

  1. A ballerina — Traveling the world’s stages dancing on point shoes with pink tutus and sparkling leotards.  

  2. An actress — Playing the heronine roles in English speaking movies.

  3. A superhero — With super awesome invisibility powers. 

Back then, I didn’t know how to lay out a plan to achieve my dreams, and although I desired them with all my heart , I knew I had some pretty big obstavles to overcome. 

If I was to become a world’s famous ballerina I would have to take ballet classes. I was prepared to work hard and give my best, but ballet classes were expensive, and I was told over and over that besides the fact that we couldn’t afford to pay the bills, ballet classes were a nice hobby for rich girls, and I was most definitely nota rich girl. 

Becoming an actress seemed more achievable, after all, my misfortunes could be an asset from which to drawn on for truthful emotional recall and Oscar winning performances. The biggest problem with that dream, was that I wanted to be in English speaking movies, and once again, expensive English classes were only for rich kids. 

So that left me with becoming a superhero with awesome invisibility powers. Which of course would never happen, for obvious reasons. 

But life has a funny way to give you what you trully want. In my experience, it never happens when you plan it, nor it comes in the package you expected it. 

I could never have predicted I would have indeed danced in several stages around the world as part of an incredible ministry that used dance to promote a message of hope and restoration. There I got trained in ballet and other dance styles, I learn to speak English and had the opportunity to choreograph and teach many other amazing dancers. And it was while working with them that I met my husband.

Then I found myself living in New Zealand with two little girls of my own. Being a mother was not part of my initial grown up plan, it was much harder than dancing eight hours a day but it was also the most rewarding and challenging thing I had ever done. But amidst the challenges and joys of motherhood, I missed dancing, I missed performing and using my creativity. So with the encouragement and support of my husband I turned back to acting and rediscover my passion for storytelling. 

And now, almost forty year later, I find myself becoming invisible. 

I used to think that invisibility was a super power I could use to protect myself, to help others and to fight the bad guys. I used to think invisibility was super cool. I used to think invisibility would make me special. 

But when grief makes you feel invisible, instead of giving you power, it sucks it away. Instead of helping yourself and others, it harms deeply. Instead of encouraging you to fight the bad guys, it turns your own thoughts and feelings into your worse enemies. Instead of making you cool and special, it makes you feel unsafe and lonely.

In the last year I read plenty of books and articles about grief and loss. Many of them said that the first year is the most confronting and painful, but that after that you get used to your grief and it doesn't hurt so bad anymore. 

While I agree that after one year I am used to the constant presence of grief, that the pain is not as intense and the despair is not so potent, the becoming invisible cuts deeply. It’s a daily dying of sorts.

When a whole week passes and there were no phone calls, no messages, no emails, I become a little more invisible.

When I hear that friends with whom we used to have dinners together as couples are still having dinners together as couples but I am no longer included - because I am now no longer a couple - I become a little more invisible.

Tatiana HotereComment