Prologue: You know your nonexistent love life has become close to extinction territory when your own mother makes you feel as though it’s the most ludicrioous idea in the world that you could possibly be interested in or even have a chance with a romantic beau.
I had another one of those invisibility moments last week. You know the kind, friends…where you’re just standing there and wishing you had a white flag that you could wave wildly in the air and scream, “HELLO, I’m right here, aren’t I? Why can’t you see me?
And yet, even though I was there, I felt completely invisible. And what made me feel even worse was that the person whom I felt invisible toward wasn’t some guy or some guy’s girlfriend or even Mr. Hefner himself. It was my mother.
Here’s how the situation went down: I got a sweet email from Cute Guy Friend on the anniversary of my dad’s death last week. He wrote to say that he was thinking of my family and remembering my dad. How sweet is that?
Well, as my awkward (and awful…) luck would have it, things turned pretty sour, pretty quickly when I casually brought it up to my mother later that day.
“Oh, that’s sweet,” she replied, and then immediately turned to my sister and said, “You should date him…”
My sister? Really? I mean…really? I just sat there floored, and quite a bit deflated.
A few minutes later, during which time my mother had probably forgotten what she’d said in the first place, I said flat-out, “Why didn’t you say that to me?”
“You’ve never expressed an interest in him,” she replied, as if my question was the dumbest thing she’d ever heard.
NEWSFLASH: Neither has my sister.
She’s never expressed an interest in him. Not even once.
So let’s review the facts, shall we, friends?
*He emailed me
*My sister hardly knows him
I suppose it bothered me even more because this isn’t the first time my mother has bypassed me completely, which is why I’ve always looked at my sister as the pretty one. I know, it’s being overly sensitive probably on my part, and my mother probably wasn’t even thinking about my disability when she made that remark. In the last few months, I’ve been feeling increasingly confident as a sexy woman with a disability (OK, gosh, just typing the word sexy to describe myself just made me blush, literally…), and I suppose this harmless comment brought some of those invisibility, wallflower feelings back. Even if just a little bit, you know?
Is it impossible for my mother – or anyone, really – to think that I could be capable of being in a relationship? Has that concept just never even dawned on her? Am I not worthy of that just as much as anyone else?
I know she doesn’t do it consciously, but sometimes, I swear my mother is incapable of seeing me as a woman, and yes, I’m aware that this is a common theme among mothers. But it just seems so much more pronounced in my life, especially when you add the disability factor to it.
Or maybe, at the end of the day, I’m just being overly sensitive. Maybe I’m projecting my own insecurities and using them as a lens by which to judge things. Let’s be honest, friends: It’s not like I haven’t done that sort of thing before.
But you know what, damnit? It bothered me. It hurt me. It eroded just a little of the disability self-esteem that had been slowly growing like a flower. Well, now the flower looks as if it’s beginning to wilt.
What do you think, friends? Am I just being overly neurotic once again? xoxo
[Photos via happythings]