I was born into a family where I was invisible. I learned very early on how to escape into the imagination; it was my way of preserving myself. Being an invisible baby meant never receiving the love that you needed, just the care that was done out of obligation because you were biologically related. Being an invisible kid meant playing alone in a closet to escape the chaos and noise. Being an invisible teenager meant making yourself invisible by not eating.
Somehow you know that you are not meant to be invisible as you quietly move from room to room in the house where you live but which you long to escape. Maybe I escaped into my imagination because only I could see who I was suppose to be. Maybe I escaped into my imagination because I was invisible to the family I was born into.
Being invisible led me down a long path of eating disorders, partying way too much, and seeking love from others to fill my inner void that longed to be loved.
I used to think that I just needed to clean house, throw out everything and everyone who caused any problems. At first, my house was cluttered. I slowly cleaned house, and the people who caused chaos through my choices and theirs slowly left. Everyone landed in the backyard, screen door locked. Door locked. Occasionally looking out the back window, I was reminded where I had come from.
Back door locked, front door open, even when I was sleeping. I was dreaming of a new life, in my house, which is why I wasn't fully aware of the people entering my dreams. Even though I was ready, it didn't mean that everyone was—they were ready to play happily ever after until the happiness ran out.
Somehow my house got cluttered again. Nothing was in order. And even though I owned the house, I was invisible again. The foundation of the house began to crumble, the roof was falling off, and when the wind blew, it came through the cracks in the windowpanes. Everything was falling, I was falling, and the people who were supposed to help me not to fall fell further away from me. The only thing that remained once the dust settled was knowing my own self and knowing that I was worth more than all of this crap!
So I asked everyone to leave—again—and to join those out in the backyard. And this time, take all their personal possessions along with them that are taking up my space.
New people were wanting to enter but were happier outside, across the street in the field climbing trees. They used their imagination to tell stories that created happiness for others. They smiled and boosted you up into the tree because they wanted you to enjoy the same happiness that they received from climbing trees. I joined them for a while picking apples and watching the sky but realized I had to go back and clean house again. Eventually, I cleaned so much that the house was empty. I got lonely. Old was out in the back, and new was in the field.
Knowing I needed to make a choice, knowing the house I was living in wasn't the house I really wanted, I decided to leave and asked everyone in the backyard to come to the house because they were happy living there, it was familiar to them, and they couldn't deal with change.
When I told them that I was leaving and that they needed to stay, they couldn't understand why I would want to leave, and wasn't I afraid about failing?
Fear of failure is hell. Other people are hell. I didn't want to live there any more. I want heaven.
So in the middle of the night, in a single backpack, I packed up my few meaningful belongings and changed the locks so that they could not follow me down my new path, not exactly sure where I was going.
I have a new family waiting for me. A new sense of self.
I have finally learned the missing part of my story. Loving myself. Knowing myself.
Hope is love. Love is essential to humanity’s core. Love and hope transcend through time and generations. Love is vital to humanity. It is what keeps humanity going, but it has to start with an honest love of yourself. We have to be able to say, "I am worth more than this present moment, and I will find a way out of this. I will surround myself with those who love me for me. I am not ashamed of my past, for I use it to help me grow into a better person with more love and compassion for others. I will love everyone but give my love unconditionally to only those who deserve it, who understand the gift of the moment. That gift is a smile, laughter over the phone, a true understanding of what makes you unique. I will stop waiting and make my life happen for me."
When all else falls away, what we can truly grasp for is only knowledge of ourselves. Some people will choose comfort and security, the knowledge that comes from others’ superimposed ideals. But for those of us whose quest for knowledge is a lifelong journey, our path is a little fearful, a little circling back around, a full circle, a perfect circle, a path less taken but one with pure fulfillment. An idealism that is strange to many. This is our personal story that allows us to hold on to hope, love, and endless compassion.
I have a new family waiting for me. I’m not sure where this new family and path in life will take me, but I know for the first time in my life, everything is going to be okay. I know this because I am no longer invisible. I will someday build my home out of bricks and mortar that will never crack, and when the howling wind shakes the windowpane, my house will not break because my foundation is built on love.