Look At Me!

Lady with colourful hair Illustration: Shutterstock


How can Liz reverse her slide into middle-aged invisibility?

Tears were streaming down my face. Joe’s, too. How had it happened?

It didn’t matter how many creative ideas I launched at the weekly work meetings. My voice was like an echo on the wind. Yet a mere squeak from the young female graduates and everyone’s head would turn. It wasn’t right, and it wasn’t fair.

Doors swung in my face; taxis sailed past. I’d started checking myself in the mirror, just to see if I really did exist.

The likelihood of me securing the creative director promotion, I’d secured an interview for, were diminishing every day – just like I was!

Things weren’t that hot on the marriage front either. Joe hardly noticed me now.

“I feel invisible. I’ve got to find myself,” I said while he was watching the footy.

“Try the cupboard under the stairs,” he said, before shouting “Penalty!”

It seemed he, like everyone else, couldn’t see or hear me any more. I’d slipped beyond the veil of visibility, become some vague misty wraith wandering around – lost.

“Happens to us all, Liz,” said Debbie, my elder sister, when I told her how I was feeling.

It was on the TV. A whole tribe of us, there are – fading and forgotten females over fifty. Bit of a cheek really. We become invisible, lost to the world…

I shivered. It was like some strange dystopian nightmare – older women hurled into invisibility. I felt myself rapidly dissolving and suddenly felt quite faint.

“I’ll have to go,” I said, wondering if she’d even hear me.

I lay on the bed, falling into a troubled sleep, where I was waving and shouting for help but everyone looked right through me. Then I was shaking Joe.

“It’s me, Joe. Liz – your wife,” I cried, while he gazed, glassy-eyed, over my shoulder. I woke, shaking the pillow.

Something had to change. I wouldn’t fade away without a fight.

My interview wasn’t till four-thirty the next day. Given I’d taken the day as a holiday, I begged an emergency appointment with the hairdresser.

“I want something striking – noticeable,” I explained.

Her eyes glinted.

Statement hair?

“Do it,” I said.

I stifled a scream when I saw the ageing punk/time-traveller result!

“Maybe some new make-up,” she offered, hustling me towards a colleague. “We’re wanting dynamic,” she said.

With my peacock hair and a face I didn’t recognise, I paid up and fled to find something to wear to go with the statement hair and face.

Diving into the shop was like walking into the past. Rock tunes filtering through the speakers, posters of all the old bands.

Vintage & Memorabilia declared the ornate sign above the counter, but the gossamer-fine dress with the beading and embroidery stopped me in my tracks.

“Look fabulous with the hairstyle,” said a startlingly young assistant.

My hair! Hair that was going to force me to buy a wig!

“Try it,” she urged, guiding me towards the changing room.

The sensuous softness of the fabric brought back a sense of my youth. I stripped off the old grey suit I’d planned to wear, slipping the gossamer creation over my head. I stared into the mirror.

I was visible – found!

Making it to the office with minutes to spare, I dashed to the ladies to spend a penny and reapply my newly purchased lipstick.

I could hardly believe the effect I was having on my colleagues as I strode through the open plan office to where the interviews were being held. So many surprised faces, smiles and waves, even a few flashes as I was caught on camera phone. My confidence soared.

High as a kite, barely aware of even the chair I was sitting on, I answered all the questions without hesitation, identifying how I could help the company expand. They offered me the job on the spot, the gasps of approval as I left the room making me feel ten foot tall.

It was only when the breeze from an open window made the front of my dress flare that I felt an unmistakable draught on my bum!

The photos of me striding through the office, the back of my dress tucked down my knickers, found their way onto Facebook in minutes. My boss emailed to congratulate me on a fantastic interview and a creative and dramatic exit!

Joe thought I looked fantastic. So fantastic, we’re celebrating in bed with the bubbly he had stashed… still both crying with laughter.

It’ll be hard to slip under the radar into invisibility again. I can’t wait to tell Debbie. I guess all l needed was a bit of cheek!

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Allison Hay

I joined the "My Weekly" team thirteen years ago and, more recently, "The People's Friend". I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazines. I manage the digital content for the brands, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters.