Friday night a girl walks into a bar.
Only she’s not a girl at all, but a middle-aged woman.
That middle-aged woman is me.
The bar is packed with young, enthusiastic, attractive kids who’ve arrived from their jobs and/or flats full of roommates and hope to start their evenings and life journeys. I’m at the end of mine. And in this place, I have never felt more out of place.
I lean against the bar to talk to my friends who urged me to come, even though I’ve got a good 20+ years on most of them, (knocked down to 10 in the dark and flattering bar light) and realize, to my horror, that no one is looking at me.
It’s not that I look bad; I was having an excellent hair day, felt comfortable in my big pair of men’s Levi’s and small Jockey wife-beater that took an hour to settle on and seconds to assemble, not wanting to look too put-together for such a casual, what-the-fuck outing. It’s just that nothing that I did, save from wearing a ghost costume, would turn me 25.
Last month, collapsed across my therapist’s couch, I whined about the many ways getting older sucks, and how it seems that almost overnight I have become, well, old, at least compared to everyone else I work with, walk by, eat across from or downward-dog next to.
“Well,” she says, “Wait until you are my age, when you don’t just look older, but you are so old no one looks. You become invisible.”
I am obviously terrified by this and curl up into a tight ball.
“Oh no,” says my therapist. “It was upsetting at first, but after a while, it becomes liberating.” She went on. “Because I realized I could truly do anything I want, and no one would judge or care because no one would see.”
I continue to be terrified by this. If no one looks, or cares, why get up in the morning? Why get dressed, or care about what dress to wear?
I suppose I will always care. I want to care. And maybe this fact should give us all the courage to really be and do and wear anything and everything and do it for ourselves. And thrive on all of this transparency. The stage is ours alone.
Back to the bar.
If I’m being honest here, I start to feel, well, relieved that this is all well behind me. Those years, as exhilarating as they were, were also exhausting. Would I trade places with those adorable young girls around me, Brazilian blow-outed and Brazilian waxed, desperate to land a promotion and the next Mark Zuckerberg?
No. And while they anxiously check their lipstick and iphones, I quietly go home to my husband and cats. Invisible.
And one thing is clear: it pays to be invisible. This shit is expensive.
1: Karen Walker “Space Bug” sunglasses, KarenWalker.com. 2: Courreges transparent ring, ahalife.com. 3: 202 Factory plastic clutch, OpeningCeremony.com. 4: Maison Michel “Bibi Yoko” rain hat, colettefr.com. 5: MM6 Maison Martin Margiela PVC ankle boots, BergdorfGoodman.com. 6: Simone Rocha plastic skirt, LaGarconne.com. 7: Valentino trench coat, MyTheresa.com.