Why am I invisible?

Joey Garcia

I am an attractive, intelligent, kind, honest and funny 28-year-old with a lonely and depressing life. My only family member lives across the country. I have few friends. I’ve only been on two dates, and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I am hardworking and talented, but I live paycheck to paycheck. I screwed up when I dropped out of college, but I can’t return. I’m willing to go places alone, but I don’t have money. So, I’m moving to another state. I’ve wanted this for two years. It’s the only thing I can do to feel better. I know I’ll find a job and a social life (although, secretly, I’m afraid that it won’t be different and that I’ll become a lonely, bitter person). I have so much to offer, but it’s like I’m invisible.

You feel invisible because you believe other people do not see you the way you see yourself: attractive, hardworking, etc. It’s as if you believe that possessing admirable qualities guarantees the admiration of the masses. Instead, you are learning a vital, albeit painful, lesson: Life is not fair or equal. This is always a surprise to children (and to the not-quite-developed parts of ourselves), but it is a fundamental reality of adulthood. Our egos believe they are entitled to love and respect, so we are outraged or devastated when the world does not receive us as we expect. It is particularly hard when our desires seem basic: a circle of good friends, a loving family, a partner who is the twin flame we always imagined, and satisfying employment that affords the items that make modern life comfortable and appealing. But so many people do not have what they deeply desire, so why should you be different? This is not intended to be a harsh question but rather one that bursts the illusion of entitlement that permeates your situation (and American mentality in general).

Shifting your life to another state allows a new beginning if you have cleared these old expectations. Why not take a second job and save for relocation? Or, sell what you don’t need and finance a short trip. If it’s not Oz, revive your life here. Contact a volunteer bureau and share your talents. Attend free events such as poetry readings, lectures at churches and universities, art-gallery openings, street festivals and walking trails. Aim for satisfaction with what you have instead of dissatisfaction with what you think you need.

I’m in a serious relationship with a man whose mother is a devout Buddhist. I’m Christian, but I haven’t gone to church since I was a kid. His mother is pressuring him to date a Buddhist or convert me. I accept his beliefs. I’ve offered to go to temple with them and raise our children Buddhist. I don’t want to convert; I don’t think my mother would allow it. He’s very loyal to his mother. I don’t want to lose him. Which God do I pick?

I believe there is only one God. So, the question is which religion inspires you toward devotion to the divine? Answer this question according to what is in your own heart, not based on a fear that you may lose your boyfriend or anger either of your mothers. It’s possible that this crossroad is an invitation to release your childhood understanding of God and religion so that you can come (as you are now) to God (as God is now). In other words, this problem is not about romance and family dynamics. It’s about your spiritual commitment and growth. One possibility: Study both religions and become a bridge of understanding between both.

Meditation of the week
“It’s daring not to shut anyone out of our hearts, not to make anyone an enemy. If we begin to live like this, we’ll find that we actually can’t define someone as completely wrong anymore. Life is more slippery and playful than that,” wrote Buddhist author Pema Chödrön. Who needs an invitation into your heart?

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