Never once did any adult in my life asked me what it was like to be an 12-year-old girl who lived alone with an alcoholic father. After our relatives brought my father and I back from Florida so he could go in to recovery, the focus was on him and his recovery. Not one person every asked me what my life was like in Florida.
I think the best way for me to describe what it was like to live with an alcoholic father who also happen to be a pedophile and the person who sold me into trafficking, was to make myself invisible.
At the time, I didn’t realize I was making myself invisible in order to protect myself from the dangerous adults in my life. I knew I was really good at being invisible because kids and teachers began commenting that they missed me in a class or at lunch. I was there, I just hid inside inside one of my beloved books. Books became my cloak of invisibility. I could get so lost in a book that the outside world disappeared from me and apparently, I from it. This invisibility thing was key to my survival, until it became the cage in which I lived.
As an adult traveling along my own healing journey, I began to realize I no longer had to be invisible. I had something of value to offer to the world and my hiding no longer served me or the people around me. So, I made a point to make eye contact with every person I encountered. I began saying hello to strangers. Making eye contact and offering these simple greetings led to conversations, which led to connections and new friends. I discovered that in some way, most of us feel invisible and all we are looking for is that one person who sees us.
There is nothing more validating than to connect with another human being. That connection can only happen when we offer ourselves out in to the world.