Sunday, March 9, 2014

Have You Ever Felt Invisible?

I'm 47 years old, 20 pounds away from my optimal weight (if I were the heavy weight champion of the world), and in dire need of  some kind of a "What Not to Wear" fashion intervention from Stacey and Clinton. A dynamic duo who in a strangely metaphorical way are not unlike me - or at least the way I've been feeling lately - and that is: CANCELLED.

Don't get me wrong because I don't mean that literally - and yes, those who love me will remind me of all the good that exists in the world merely because I'm in it; thank you very much by the way - but what I mean by feeling cancelled isn't so much about me or who I am on the inside, but more about the perception people have about me based completely on what's on the outside and how that perception is shifting as I get older.

I've been blogging about my life in one way or another since my fingers first came into contact with a keyboard. As such, I'm blessed with a chronicle of my son's life from inception to the day he left for university. When he was growing up there was so much to write about - and not just him, my husband, our pets, my parents, even our neighbours - no one was exempt from making an appearance in one of my blogs if they did something funny, or touching, or human because, at heart, that is who I am: a Noticer. I notice things and I like to write about them.

But when my son walked out the door, duffel bag in hand off to conquer the world, something inside me changed. Call it grief, call it loss, call if whatever you like, when he left home that day a tiny door in my heart softly closed and I realized I had just completed something that I could never have back. With that realization, somehow I lost my funny. I stopped noticing. I stopped writing.

That was five years ago. I was 42 years old and could still pass as someone in her 30's. At the time, I didn't see this as something significant and would have argued with anyone that age is just a number. My career was in full swing, and I began to work on chasing new dreams - this time in the cooking world. I gave up blogging about my personal life in exchange for entering cooking contests and coming up with recipes. Where I had once identified myself as being Just. That. Fabulous. I was now exploring the intricacies of souffle and advising others on the best ways to grill meat - all the while feeling good about myself and my place in the world.

But sometime between then and now, a shift began to occur; the odd soreness in a joint, the need to hold a book at arms length just to read the fine print, the first time I noticed the line by the corner of my mouth deepening. I am getting older. And though I still believe that age is a state of mind not a condition, it's becoming increasingly evident the rest of the world might not be on the same page because in many ways, I feel like I'm becoming invisible.

Like who I am on the inside is no longer adequately reflected on the outside. Take my photo for example. Anyone who knows me understands that if you look at that and only see a nice looking middle aged lady, or worse, a respectable one - you have not really seen me at all. And that's what happens. It's not unusual for women when they reach a certain to age to be overlooked regardless of how interesting, intelligent, or kick ass she might be, unless she has successfully managed to cheat time.

What does society view as the ultimate compliment? "You look so young."


As though looking young somehow makes a woman more interesting. You know, in the same way being thin makes people better human beings.

However, I will acknowledge, my smiling demeanor and well coordinated outfit doesn't exactly scream "kick ass woman" either.  And I am, kick ass that is - just ask my husband - I've been kicking his on and off for over 22 years. 

The gist is this: just because I'm closing in on 50 and prefer my jeans come with an elasticized waist band does not mean I don't know what you're talking about when you refer to 4:20, and - for the record - "Talk Dirty to Me" would so be my jam if it was still acceptable for me to go to a club and lay it down. And don't even try to tell me that would be an okay thing anywhere else but at my grandmother's nursing home - the one place where I have it on good authority I am still considered hot.

Stay tuned in the days and months ahead as I share my observations about growing older, kicking ass in stretch jeans, and re-discovering who I am and who I'm going to become in the second half of my life.

If you want to come along for the ride, be sure to subscribe!

And then tell me, have you ever felt invisible?

Okay, now it's time to get dancin!


Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her on her blogs, The Kitchen Witch, and Just. That. Fabulous. or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

Facebook Twitter YouTube


  1. YOU ARE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am SO excited to "hear your voice" once again. Take it from me, getting old is NOT for sissies. It is HARD, and not very rewarding. But ATTITUDE is everything, at least to me. I am absolutely going to go out dancing!!!!! XO

    1. Thanks Pinky :-) I think this is the biggest thing I've been missing - the camaraderie and friendship we get from exploring our lives together. I read your message while I was walking the dog and was contemplating attitude. It's something I want to explore and talk about further. When you say attitude, what is that for you? Have you ever felt invisible?

  2. I will enjoy very much following along on your exciting journey, I thought my blogging had endded in december , my failing vision left me in the dark, through the magic of technology an a program for the visually disable I have started my blog back up and a happy camper,

    1. Hi Laurie :-) I am so HAPPY you are able to continue blogging, I know it's been a struggle for you. I will always remember your descriptions - didn't you write something about a canoe trip once? I remember loving it!

  3. I think we all go through phases in our lives that make us stop and try to picture what the next phase of our life will be. My last "stop" was being diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer in 2004 at age 44. I have had mini stops since then, my parents living with me both having Alzheimers and me being their caregiver, their moves to a long term care facility 10 months apart when I was no longer able to provide the level of care they needed, my fathers death a year after going into long term care, another cancer scare and the death of my beloved chocolate lab, that coming in March of 2013. Each stop forced me to re-evaluate my life and what I was doing with it and what I wanted to do with it.
    I am still not sure LOL and really don't know if I will ever know and the good news is that it doesn't worry me one iota.
    I now work part-time at a job I love, have a plethora of people that I love and who love me in my life, and if I don't have to call 911, its a good day.
    Keep looking Lyndsay, somewhere you will find what you are looking for and if by chance you don't - meh - think of the fun you will have trying.
    I have had more fun in the last 8 moths than should be allowed by law, but it has allowed me to take more items off my bucket list than I had ever dreamed possible!
    Go For It and continue to be Just. That. Fabulous.

    Nancy (my wordpress ID serendopeity is not working...I am Nancy Westacott from FB. LOL)

    1. Nancy, I'm so happy you commented! I feel like I'm getting the opportunity to know a whole new you! Tell me more about what you've been doing these past 8 months - I am inspired!

    2. ARHHHHH I just spent 20 minutes replying to this and then it disappeared.
      So now its the encapsulated version.
      Watched my eldest niece walk down the aisle in June - she took my breath away. She has always been beautiful but that day she was more beautiful than I had ever imagined. It was a tough day - my father would have been so proud to watch her get married. he was missed that day - more than any other day.
      Later that month, met my future husband at a Gala Auction Event - Actually I won him...I havent told him yet he is my future husband, I am waiting for a more opportune time. Our date was hilarious - we joined my bosses Relay For Life team and spent the night acting like fools...well he was probably acting, I was just being myself ;)
      Spent the summer watching the other nieces, nephews and great-nephews learning how to ski, tube, jet ski, canoe, kayak and assorted other lake activities at the cottage.
      September - headed to Toronto to see Burton Cummings at Massey Hall with an "internet friend" meeting her for the first time. We are planning a weekend in the spring this year to hang out. I also went to see Burton and Jann Arden at a Gala Event where I wore a borrowed outfit from one of my BFF's that included a pair of Loubotins. Nice shoes to look at, torture to wear - I'll take my sneakers anyday. I am kinda glad I borrowed them tho - I would have hated to spend $1800 on a pair of shoes that were so uncomfortable LOL. The Gala was awesome. I love Burton Cummings and Jann Arden so seeing them together was amazing. I want to be a groupie the next time Jann goes on tour. I haven't told her yet - don't want her to think i am a stalker or anything. I just think she would be a hoot to hang out with. LOL
      November was Road Tripping time. My partner in crime and other nefarious antics, Sue and I headed to Florida. We took 5 days to get there which included stops at Myrtle Beach where we slept by the beach, ate breakfast on the pier, almost got attacked by a horseshoe crab that looked like it was 100 years old. Next stop was Charleston for 2 nights. Spent Nov 11th on an Aircraft Carrier where there was a service that included a tribute to the women of WW2 where they tossed roses into the ocean to honour the women pilots. They're Nov 11 services are different than ours, but handed out poppies that were so appreciated and brought tears to some eyes.
      Made Florida late on Day 5. Took us a little longer than we thought...I hate it when the signs lie LOL. Spent some time in FL. Went to Boca to have dinner with friends - was going to try to get to the Keys to swim with the dolphins but we didnt have time this trip.
      Walked Daytona Beach in a wind storm...stepped on 2 jelly fish, on purpose - they were dead. LOL. Got addicted to salt water taffy. Took a tour of the Daytona Speedway which I videotaped - or thought I did - apparently you have to open the lens cover to take pictures...DOH!!!!.

    3. Headed north and hit snow in New York, almost had a state trooper as a hood ornament. No boots, no coats, no mitts, no real shoes and 3 feet of snow overnight. That damn lake effect. Luckily the guy a the motel dug the car out for us...20 miles north of there not one snowflake, not one, nada.
      We were 17 days and over 5000 miles - never once fought or had a bad thing to say to each other. No maps, no GPS - and we actually made it back alive...our mantra was "They have guns" to remind ourselves that our sense of humour might not seem so to someone else LOL. We had such a good time that we still laugh about it today. It doesnt seem as funny writing about it, but beleive me it was. many times I had to pull over because I was laughing so hard I was crying or on the verge of peeing my pants.
      Somewhere in all of that there was a new cancer scare. But i had decided that no matter what the results were, I was going to go one with my life. I dont have a lot of parts left they can take, but I have heard that one can live with one kidney and one lung so I am good to go if it appears there. And my lady bits - I dont need them so they can have those ;)

      So that was 2013, 2014 is shaping up to be crazier than 2013 and Im lovin it. I will recap the first part another night...


    4. Nancy, your post has brought me to tears - happy tears! TOWANDA my friend!!! You inspire me to have more adventures in the year ahead. I have so many stories about Burton Cummings and Jann Arden - they are both favourites of mine as well. Thank you for adding such richness to this blog with your amazing story. Much love!

    5. 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year and its only march...
      I have always wanted to fly in an F-18. I have a friend who was once a Snowbird Pilot (he was #11 lol) but has since retired from the military. I asked him if he could sneak me on one for a ride...he said it was almost impossible to "sneak" one on a plane so I had pretty well resigned myself to never flying in one. He also mentioned that I would throw up in my helmet and pass out pulling 9g's in the air...
      I dont know, I pulled 2g's on the BobSled run in Lake Placid - how difficult could 9g's be?
      Any how, my dream sort came true...I didn't get to fly in an F-18, but I did get to fly one. It was a simulator so I didn't get to pull any g's but I did manage to wipe out the CN Tower and most of the Island Airport and a couple of houses. I now have new found respect for pilots - I have no idea how they do it. So I have some issues with the missing jet knowing what I do now about flying...
      The ride home after the F-18 was also an adventure. My car broke down in Toronto and we got to ride home for 150kms in a tow truck. The driver was awesome, stopped at McDonalds so Sue and I could pee and let us get some food.
      I am in the midst of my 3rd annual fundraiser for the local bowling establishment. I belong to a women's league on Thursday night which I love. I am also the fundraising chairperson, elected because in my younger days working on Bay Street I was the one who started the Christmas challenge for brokerage houses, raising $25,000 in 2 days.
      This years road trip will hopefully see Sue and I hit New Orleans in the fall. That is if we survive the one in July to meet up with friends in Virginia.
      The not so fun stuff includes my mother's decent into further hell with Alzheimers. She had another "non-responsive" issue today but was fine in a couple of hours. These spells have become more and more frequent so I have lulled myself into a false sense of security. I know one day she will not bounce back and we will enter the final stage of her journey. I'm not sure if I am ready for it, not that one can ever be ready for something like that but I am lucky. She was diagnosed in 2001 so we have had many years of preparing for the eventuality of what will happen...My grandmother, her mother spent 17 years in a nursing home with Alzheimer's before she passed away. I do not want this for my mother, and I know in my heart she would not have wanted this either, but the laws of Ontario being what they are, we will have to wait until her brain no longer tells her body to function. At that time it will probably be more of a relief than anything else, and thats not being cruel. Sitting at my fathers beside for 9 days, watching him slowly dying is not something I want to repeat with my mother.
      Jann Arden has a new CD out in April which means there should be a tour not long after. I will await that with great anticipation. LOL.

      My biggest "Big Deal" in the past 8 months came in October of 2013. I entered my 10th year of being an Esophageal Cancer survivor. That came on the heels of a cancer scare that turned out to be a non-event. However, thanks to that I now have to be tested every 6 months...the next one will be in April and it is what it is. If it's back, I will fight like I did 9 1/2 years ago. If not then I will have a bottle of champagne. LOL

      Towanda!!!! to life!!!! and to chilled champagne!!!! (with homemade pate on Paris Toasts LOL)

  4. Well Lyndsay you hit the nail on the head for me...that door closed quietly for me too last year with both kids moving away and the relationship with them totally has changed as well. Then menopause started at 52 bringing with it a nice spare tire and joint issues I have never had before. Not to forget the progressive glasses as well! Trying to find something to fill my time and half heartedly trying to lose the pounds that have crept up on me in the last 6 or 7 years mostly since I started my desk job....Will look forward to your blog, maybe it will help me deal as I will see that I am not the only one going thru this crap....;)

    1. Sally, you are so not alone - when I read your post today on Facebook I was like, we are all in this together! I want to figure out how not to be invisible as I get older. How to be fabulous as a woman without having to find that by trying to be younger. I also am back on my quest for self acceptance - it gets tougher as the years go by and my mid section becomes more and more stubborn! Love you.

    2. None of us are alone. Thats just it. We won't be invisible as long as we all stick together. We have an opportunity to still make a mark on the world. It doesn't have to be the cure for the common cold, or finding another planet. Although both would surely leave a mark. We are only invisible if we let ourselves be that. We don't have to be younger to be fabulous - we just have to be ourselves. And being visible doesn't mean that we are to the world.
      Ladies - remember this - when you look in the mirror in the morning - that is the ONLY person you are accountable to. That is the only person you HAVE to love. That is the only person you have to be. I am 53 years old. I know that my chances of cancer coming back are very high - but you know what - if it does, I will not lay down and go gracefully. Bull - I will go kicking and screaming all the way. Whether I am 53 or 83. We only get one life - this isnt a dress rehearsal - this is life - Live it, Be it!!!! Its not easy - I get that, but if this once almost 400 pound woman can find self confidence so can all of you. Ok, so I wouldnt recommend a cancer diet but hey, shit happens.
      I don't have the "kids moving out" syndrome. But I had something along those lines happen - after having mom and dad live with me for 7 years battling Alzheimers, once they had gone to long term care I had no idea who I was. I had always been "someone's" something. My whole career on Bay Street, I was "Ron's daughter", I was "so and so's girlfriend", I was a whole bunch of stuff but never once was I just Nancy. then I was a caregiver. When that was over - holy cow, talk about "what do I do now?"
      but you do do - you do what you have always wanted to - road trips, girls weekends, shopping trips, flying an f-18 (I'll get to that one in my 2014 happenings LOL). Just Do It. you will be surprised at the freedom that comes from saying I CAN. I WILL, I AM.


    3. Nancy, I am making you the official right hand woman of this blog. Speak it my friend! LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

  5. Lindsay I adore your kitchen witch blog! loved your stories (miss them) and the you tube recipe videos with and without the "pool boy" You are such a beautiful person. You are so fun loving, caring and giving. You absolutely shocked me when I read that you were searching for self acceptance. In your videos you portray such self-confidence and self-assurance. I was always wishing I was more like you.
    I totally understand the life change when your last child moves out. My Son (youngest) moved out june 2013. That was very hard for me. I felt as though I needed to build another life. I was not needed by my Son anymore. What was I to do now? Of course my hubby says, "your jobs done, it's time to kick back and relax, your 55 now its time to just enjoy each other." I have always been a caregiver. my younger siblings, my first husband who was battling cancer, parenting, and now my 2nd husband's medical issues. I lost me too. I will enjoy reading and experiencing this new quest you're embarking on in this new blog of yours. .

    1. Hi Merrilee - I'm so happy you're going to join me on this next leg of the journey! Stay tuned for news about my fiction - you haven't seen the last of those stories :-) Your appreciation makes me want to keep writing.

      It's important to me to be honest about everything I feel and who I am. My hope is that if I can say "I feel worried about this, or insecure about that" it might help free others to speak their truth.

      You are such a wonderful person. I value you and am so grateful you will be a part of this experience with me.

  6. So glad to see you try this particular blogging journey with folks who know, Just how fabulous you are. Am looking forward to it. Perhaps I was a tad premature but I already gave you a shout out. Just to make sure you recommit yourself properly. Love how you have it linked to Facebook too.

    1. Hi Adrienne! Thanks for the shout out :-) It's so awesome to see you here - I"m looking forward to seeing where the next leg of this journey takes me too. xoxo

  7. You know, I've noticed over the years that you seem have left your funny behind somewhere. I thought maybe that you felt you were just moving in a different direction and didn't have the desire to tell your 'Maven' type stories anymore. I had no idea that you felt like you lost a part of yourself. I'm sad that you've ever felt that way. We've come a long way since Myspace, you know?

    In the past five years or so, I, too, have felt like I'm much less of a Noticer than I used to be. I used to blog about everything. When I look back at my Myspace blogs (which I have saved to a folder on my external) I see how funny and open and observant I used to be. And when I look at the things I've been writing for years, I feel boring and overlooked. So yes, in a way, I too feel invisible. I rarely get a single comment on any of my blogs when I actually get around to posting - and it's so discouraging to be invisible on the internet. It sucks when you feel like no one is reading, when you feel like you've lost your charm. I guess that's how I feel, too.

    I'm so glad you're going to be posting personal stories again, sharing your journey with us. Those are my favorite ones to read. You really are Just. That. Fabulous. <3