Practicing invisibility


I’m practicing my invisibility.

Working with coyote—who hides objects from me when I need them the most—lets me meddle in indigenous ways.  

Once I asked my friend Ann, who has aged so gracefully that 60 seemed a minor blemish, how getting older has affected her.

I figured she’d talk about freedom and wit and certainty.

Instead she said 60 means being invisible.

Ann is one of those ageless beauties with flawless skin and caramel-colored hair who dresses with the flourish of women in Paris.

She explained she can stand in line at the espresso bar and the cashier looks right through her at the next patron.

You become invisible, she said.

As I ponder my fate, I’ve decided to embrace my invisibility.

And it works.

Yesterday I grabbed my ipad and parked on the bed and began reading.

Soon after my honey lumbered down the stairs to the bedroom, made a quick detour to the bathroom, then returned to the bedroom, walked around the bed, put way some socks, picked up a book from his bedside and stood there, reading.

I stared at him, waiting for some acknowledgment.

After several minutes he flinched. He saw me.

Have you been there the whole time, the muggle asked.

That shows it’s working, I said.

What’s that, he asked.

My invisibility.

Image of Magritte’s Le Blanc Seing from


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in american indian, authenticity, ethics, native american, native press, Native Science, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Practicing invisibility

  1. Women are invisible in many instances, and when we are older, it pretty much guarantees invisibility.


  2. Russ L says:

    C.C. Not just women. Men too. The amusing thing, (for me anyway) is that people are starting to want to help [use italics for help] me when they do see me, and I don’t consider myself “old”.


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