There’s a trite question humanity has mulled over as a form of casual banter. The question: “What superpower would you like to have?” And there’s the trite answer: “I would like to be Invisible.” All along, we hope to become visible to more of the world, and then, wish for invisibility as the superpower. Leaving the paradox of that answer aside, invisibility would be wasteful if everyone else wanted to be invisible too. Wouldn’t a better wish to ask be, “I wish I had the power to see everyone that is invisible”?
Henry David Thoreau made a poignant observation when he said we “lead lives of quiet desperation.” We live with the hope that someone will understand our quietness – feel the same desperation: see the invisibility inside us. We wait for moments for that invisibility to be uncovered and let all the hidden light burst through, leaving the world shiny and bright. But, we are all busy being invisible. So, we sit by the window, Juliet like, and wonder: Where art thou who can understand the invisible desperateness? Who shall speak to my quiet invisibility?
As deep and poignant as the quiet desperation is, it’s hard for us to acknowledge that not everyone is desperate for the same visibility and that some prefer to remain invisible and desperately fall in love with the quietness. To accept that is seeing invisibility in its purest form. The ability to see the invisible is not a smart-arse answer to a dumb-arse question. It’s a realistic answer to an unrealistic question. And its reality lies in the fact that we all need to make an attempt to understand how each other feels because there’s nothing so invisible as the feelings inside us.
We are – after all – a bucketful of feelings, splashing around. There are times we empty the bucket – because it can hold no more – because we can’t carry it any longer – because we are drowning inside of it. With time, we learn to swim in it. We call it struggle. Or hope. But, to everyone else, it’s just another drop of water, invisible. Our only wish is for someone to see the ocean inside the drop of water. It’s all we wish for in moments both happy and sad. For someone to understand how much something means to us, for someone to see that which words cannot tell. For the invisible to be acknowledged with a nod. No words exchanged. No advice given. No crumby anecdotes. Just, “I see you, in all your invisibility.”
We can’t walk the empty spaces of the future without a need to fill it with light. When it’s dark and you find yourself alone, two things can comfort you: Light, which is universally easy or the feeling that people see the same darkness that you do. Things aren’t invisible because it’s dark. Things are invisible because we can’t see them. It’s not light we are after. It’s for someone to see the same darkness we do. The real superpower is not in becoming invisible. It’s in seeing that which is.