9.25 The Invisible Man

People can tell.

On my way to an appointment, I stepped off the subway and made my way through some tunnels to above ground. An older gentleman stopped me halfway up the stairs and asked if I had some extra change for access to public transportation. I handed him whatever remaining change was in my pocket and we chatted for a few minutes.

Outside on the street, a young woman stopped me, asking for directions. Being in a neighbourhood that was unfamiliar to me, I wasn’t much help. I caught the eye of a young man walking past us, and he stopped. “I’m from around here,” he said. “Need help finding something?” He knew right away the address she was looking for and directed her on the way. The young man and I did some small talking and went on our respective ways.

Usually, I move through the city invisible. I could say that it’s the way I like it. More accurately, it’s where I am most comfortable. I don’t want to cause any trouble. I don’t want any conflict. I have a deep seeded fear of providing the wrong directions to people in need, so I was incredibly thankful when that young man came along.

Also, I don’t necessarily want to talk to people, content with the near constant whirling of thoughts in my own mind. Talking to someone breaks my internal flow, a flow that is often chaotic and tough enough to keep on track without distractions.

This all being said, what exists inside my personality that makes me not only feel invisible but desire it? That can’t be healthy. I realize that the people above just needed change and directions, they could have stopped anyone. People can tell, they seem to know when I’m invisible. Just as they know I am open and available.

In most places I’ve traveled to in the world, except for locations where I was obviously not local (even one or two of those), I got asked for directions. I looked like I belong because I was traveling. I had opened myself up to new experiences and there was an energy coming from me and landing unconsciously on others.

Why can’t I be open all the time? It’s complicated. Is that something I want? On the fence. What is going on in my life that creates this openness? That’s a longer story.

Happiness doesn’t come easily to me. Every once in a while, I have a break in all this. I can see things clearly, cut through the clutter, and get a grip on my chaotic mind. With this clarity, I am able to be the person that can move through the city with ease. People approach me for directions. Usually, I have to fight for this ease, which seems rather counterproductive. A big part of this is being easier on myself, not to take things so personally, and not allow others to affect me so much.

Lately, I have a near constant vision. A vision of me standing on a hill with the sun shining down on my shoulders. Specifically, I’m standing by the shore of Lake Ontario near the west side campus of Humber College. The shore juts out here and there is a lighthouse. I’m standing there and this vision on the hill has his back turned towards me, looking over his shoulder down at me. It is the person I aspire to be, the one that I know deep in my heart I am capable of becoming. Sometimes, when I take positive steps to improve my life, the vision looms large in my mind. Other times, the vision is smaller, and further away. Sometimes I feel as though I am in a near constant state of this vision receding one moment, and coming closer in the next.

I don’t know if other people have this kind of vision, or it manifests in a different way for them. All I know is that people can tell.

Paul Dore