About crushes, and being invisible
I don’t know if you know this about me, but I have the power of invisibility. Quiet as a mouse, I can slip in and out of your sight and mind unnoticed. Even when I want to be.
When I was younger, I always had a habit of having crushes on boys who didn’t notice me. The pretty boys, the popular boys - the boys who didn’t know that I existed. I was the shy little bookworm who was liked by all of the teachers but few of my peers. Especially the boys. Until I was 14 I was super skinny and wore a training bra all through middle school, during a time when boobs were pretty much the only value that girls had. In high school I expanded to a C cup, but also gained more weight than I should have and found myself a poor, dark-skinned Black girl in an upper middle class majority white high school. During a time when girls should be taught that they have value, I was dropped into an environment where I had none.
And to protect myself, I became invisible.
What that means is that aside from answering required questions from teachers, I was silent from the beginning of the school day to the end. I only made a couple of acquaintances in high school and they were rarely in my classes, so this was the case for my first three years high school. In my senior year, I had earned all of my credits except for one required class and was allowed to join a work release program so I could work full-time at Target, where I was forced to interact with people.
Despite the ghost act, I still had crushes on boys. They just didn’t know that I existed, and were way out of my league.
College wasn’t much different, romantically. I gained a few close friends, but I still had crushes on guys who barely knew who I was, and who I was afraid to show myself to.
After I graduated and moved to New Orleans, I resolved to never go without telling a man how I feel about them. I failed at that only once, with someone who was my boss. But my attempts at recognition with men who catch my fancy generally fail. No matter how much mutual flirting has occurred, they never are interested in more.
As an adult, I’ve been searching for my people. Kinda nerdy, weird, goofy people like me who feel like family. Any man who I have a long-term relationship with needs to feel like family. And so I seek those men, regardless of their looks or social status. But when I find them…nothing.
I very recently let a guy that I’ve been crushing on know how I felt in a simple, to-the-point text message. Nearly 24 hours since, he has yet to respond. He’s one of my people. Very much like me - awkward, introverted, highly intelligent, loves to read and write. I like him a lot. But the rejection stings. And I can’t help but wonder if I’m still the girl that I was over ten years ago, completely unaware that the men who I want to pursue will never want me the same way.
And my girlfriends, of course, say he and the other little devastations I’ve had over the years are fools, and that they’d be lucky to have me. And when I’m feeling confident, I agree. But when I’m not, I can’t help but wonder if the more logical answer is that there is something wrong with me.
Because why they wouldn’t they recognize one of their own?