First, let me apologize for my lack of updates. Between preparing to move, and a nasty bout of the flu, I haven't been able to update as much as I'd like. I hope to remedy this soon.
I grew up invisible.
Not in the Harry Potter Invisiblity Cloak kind of invisible, more like the "no one really noticed I was there" kind.
I grew up in the shadow of my twin brother, born one minute before me. When we were growing up, my mom (like the mother of all twins it seems) wanted to dress us in matching outfits. Me being a "girl" and my brother being a boy didn't deter her. She simply bought his clothes in blue, and mine in red. So it would seem I was a very very young crossdresser. Keeping my hair short didn't help matters any, people would just mistake me for my brother, or thought she had twin boys.
Growing up, I tried very hard to get my parents to notice I was there. I played sports, I won awards, I was in civic and community service organizations. I earned the right to go to fancy dinners with State Representatives and Mayors. I was the stereotypical "good girl" - I never got in trouble, I didn't break rules, I just wanted someone - anyone - to notice I was there, maybe even like me. I remember a time (my teacher actually took a picture of this, I wish I could find it), around fourth or fifth grade, at recess, watching the kids play kickball, and me sitting on the steps by the doors, alone. I did that a lot.
My brother has always been my opposite. I'm left handed, he's right handed. I'm more extroverted, he was very introverted. My parents - and most everyone who came into contact with him - overcompensated for his lack of involvement. He was given everything he could want, toys, musical instruments, video games, electronics, a tv, even his own room. I had my own room for about a year - age 13-14 - until we moved to a smaller apartment and I had to share with my mom.
It's difficult living in someone's shadow. I had nightmares of being in crowds, screaming my lungs out, and no one hearing me. Finally, at age 16, burnt out from going from school to work to civic groups, frustrated because my mother signed for my brother to get his drivers license (but wouldn't sign for me), suffering for months from an ulcer, dealing with the emotional torture of sexual abuse that started when I was 13, I decided I wanted to die.
Why is it that it took an attempt to end my life for people to notice there was something wrong?
I still bear scars, though few people get to see them. Talk to me long enough and I might let one slip. Four suicide attempts and 19 years later, I still struggle to not be invisible. I no longer live in my brother's shadow, we haven't spoken in six years. The rest of my family still doesn't see me, being the youngest of seven children, none of us have really talked to each other since my parents died.
I'm not entirely sure what the message of this post was, but it's something that's been rolling around in my mind the last few days, and I needed to get it off my chest.