Day 280/365: Visible

Another banner day. I really felt visible and acknowledged today. Not that I need it to feel like I matter as a human being. I know I do. It was more like icing on the cake—with a cherry on top.

It began late last night when a pedophile was defeated in an Alabama special election by a civil rights activist. And who swung the vote? Black women voters. #BlackGirlMagic at its best. Renewed my faith in humanity. I know we still have work to do, but this lets me know we know how to move in the right direction. And the fact that Black women voters received credit—in the press, publicly, is honestly, groundbreaking and unheard of. Which in and of itself is sad and harrowing, but again, we still have much progress to make. It’s nice to know that people recognize that Black women exist and are vital to the fabric of this nation—even if only for a moment—as this nation was built on our backs—literally. But I digress.

So my mother-in-law just celebrated her wedding anniversary, 51 years. Phew. And so some of us kids chipped in to send them to a nice dinner out. When we dropped off the gift, she asked us when our anniversary is. She said every year she thinks about it when hers and the rest of the other kids’ come around and it occurs to her that ours isn’t celebrated even though we’re a couple in the family. We were stunned into silence. One, because often people in the family don’t really acknowledge our couple-ness and two, because we actually have a real, live wedding anniversary date that no one in the family knows about—by design.

So we did our best to sidestep the question, by joking and saying, “Well, our anniversary could be any date.” And she agreed, but as we were still evading the question, she said, “Well, when you think of it, let me know.”

Fast forward to tonight. The doorbell rings and it’s my mother-in-law. She has an envelope in her hand. “Look,” she says, “I just made today your anniversary. Next year it could be different, based on what you tell me. But I didn’t want another day to go by without your anniversary being celebrated.” How sweet. It was a lovely card along with a gift card for us to go out for dinner. She saw us and acknowledged us, as a couple. We were being seen.

Later tonight, I got a call from my sister-in-law, my wife’s twin. Her son needed help with his Spanish homework so I sat down for like 45 minutes and helped out. I forgot to mention something to her on the phone so I sent her text about it. After we had completed the exchange she texted me that I did a phenomenal job as an aunt, and again, I felt acknowledged and visible. And honestly, it felt wonderful, and I was grateful that in some small way I meant something to someone else. Again, it wasn’t necessary. It didn’t make me improve my opinion of myself, and that’s the difference. It was just, a nice-to-know, ya know?

Sometimes it just feels wonderful to feel visible.

n

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