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Saturday, January 25, 2014

"Disguise"


I read about American Indians scouting pioneers' camps.  They'd dress like animals and work themselves into some kind of different mentality and become the animals.  The pioneers saw the Indians as animals, the Indians learned about what the pioneers were doing, and the Indians won a lot of battles.

Reading this when I was a kid made me think.  I decided Indians didn't really turn into animals, they just became persuasive in some way to trick the pioneers' thinking.  I was pondering this hard in front of a brick wall at school and decided if Indians could be animals, I could be brick.

People walked past me without seeing me.  A couple of people kind of hitched their step near me and looked confused for a second, but nobody seemed to the skinny kid, even when they barely missed walking right into me.  I was pleased with my success.  I became a tree, greenly translucent as the river, and blended with flowers in the garden. 

I was hiding in the neighbor's blueberry bushes when I really thought I'd get caught by the old Nazi.  He could smell me or something, but he couldn't find me.  He kept pacing in front of me, trying to figure out what was out of place in his world, but he couldn't see me even though I had barely enough time to hide when he came to the blueberry patch.  One of my very white, bare legs was in plain sight, but he couldn't see it while I examined his big, cracked leather shoes which were inches from my face.

Breathe quiet... He did another round of the blueberry bushes and stood in front of me again.  I am grass... I am green leaves... I am an Indian in the enemy camp...  My magic is stronger than yours.

It was a powerful moment for me, and extremely liberating.  I practiced at home in the living room.  One night Dad asked, "Where's Linda?" and I raised my hand in front of him.  "She hasn't been home much lately."  Oh, I forgot to turn off my magic.  I made myself visible again and waved my hand in front of him again.  "Where you there all along?"  "Yes."  Dad kind of shook his head and pondered me for a while.  "I've been practicing being invisible like the Indians."  Dad looked kind of troubled, but he didn't make me explain too much.  "Fey."

Well, yeah, I've always been pretty fey.  Fairy-like and magical.  Sounds kind of cool, but it makes people uncomfortable.

I have to admit I still hide in view, sometimes willing people not to notice me when I'm working in my office because I need quiet time to work.  But really, I think we all do it in one way or another because everybody is putting on false faces to get the responses from people that they want.  We dress the part for work, or a date, or to hang with friends.  This is the face I want you to see, and then that's what people do see.  It's even what we start to see when we look at ourselves because we forgot we're all living in disguise.

17 comments:

  1. We want to become invisible when we need rest or are ashamed. We then de-personalize and try to blend in with the surroundings, may that be a mass, a park or a school yard. But it seems like this tactic is becoming less. With all the social media it seems like the extroverts are winning with their flood of selfies, digital self-actualization and self-indulgence. Although there must be room for everybody, all that self is exactly why I like your magic better. To de-self requires magic and skill and is far more exiting.

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  2. I like the way your brain works...

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  3. Well put about all of us wearing disguises of one sort or another, Linda...and an intriguing idea: being invisible, blending in. I'm definitely going to try this!

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  4. I completely agree that the extroverts are winning, but I think we all lose when the loudest voices are the ones setting the rules and goals. Sometimes the quietest people have the most to say -- when you can get them to talk anyway. We need the extroverts, but we need the introverts too. Somehow I don't think any of this is going to change in the near future :) Thanks for the comments!

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  5. Neat brickwork Linda.....and a thought provoking post as always x

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  6. I wish I'd had that skill when it was time to go to church. I used to hide in the closet.

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  7. Somehow this skill never got me out of church either Sharon :)

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  8. Hmmm...I think you only have to get old to be invisible.

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    1. Oh too true Terri!! At least old people can still be seen by children :)

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  9. I agree with Paul. Nowadays there seems to be too many extroverts. I'd prefer to be the one only a few good friends can see... Your writing is spellbinding, Linda. You create some kind of magic that works on many levels. Both on an imaginative level as well as a physical level. Don't we all want to be able to hide from time to time (maybe with the exception of the very extroverts)?

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  10. Wow, this story could be a really interesting picture book, reassuring to the "quiet" kids. Have you read Susan Cain's book? It's called "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" and it's fascinating.

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    1. Sara Melling: I've heard of this book mentioned before and now you've made me curious. I do believe that introverts have more power than is evident. So Linda, I don't think the extroverts are necessarily winning. :) Your post reminds me of days that I used to sit in my car at the park for lunch. Just needed quiet and to get away from the chaos. One day, I heard a guy whose cubical was close to mine, say that I was a recluse, and that is a time when I experienced power. I had peace and he was disturbed; probably because he could not find peace within himself without depending on others to give it to him. We need people of all personality types. Balance: one of my favorite works.
      Thought provoking post and an excellent image. I like your use of the taupe color that blends in with the reds.

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  11. I have read "Quiet" and would recommend it to anyone -- to the introverts who need to feel understood, and to the extraverts to help them understand and value quiet people. It takes all types to make the world go round.

    I used to escape to the park at lunch time too Anita. I knew we were kindred spirits :)

    Thanks for the kind words Otto. Makes me consider Paula's idea for a children's book. Maybe if I ever find real time to work on something like that? Hmmm...

    Thanks for the comments everybody!

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