From the ages of 10-22, at any moment and without even trying, usually in social situations, she could make herself completely invisible.
I know this to be true, because I know many people that were witnesses to her powers during that time. Some of them don’t even remember her name for how advanced her skills were.
She could say something funny or meaningful in a group of people only to be met with silence. Then 10 seconds later someone in the group would say the exact same thing and get met with laughter and cheers.
She found herself only visible to certain people when they wanted information about her pretty best friend or her older brother. The girl grew quite used to this, comfortable even, and she let her power of invisibility become an integral part of who she was as a person.
Although her confidence was often lacking, her spirit of adventure was not.
And one day she found herself traveling in a foreign land, attempting to learn their language, when she accidentally did something she rarely ever let herself do. For just a few small hours on a big weekend excursion… she was completely herself!
To this day she doesn’t know how she let it slip, maybe she liked helping her peers practice their English or maybe it was the warm air and the music. Whatever the reason, she came out of her shell and discovered something amazing.
The next day, people she had just met from all over the world remembered her name. Was this real? They knew where she was from and she could’ve sworn she only told them once. Was this really happening? Their warm, smiling faces and direct eye contact could only mean one thing: she was no longer invisible.
That girl was me.
When I look back on the person I was before travel changed my life, I couldn’t be more grateful for that girl. Not only did she come out of her shell, she took it and smashed it to the ground.
That moment during that weekend was a turning point for me. It helped me see that the things you believe about yourself will be true for you for as long as you believe them, good and bad.
I felt and truly believed I was invisible, that others around me were truly more important to everyone else than I was. And I allowed people to treat me exactly as I saw myself.
I had turned myself into someone I wasn’t meant to be. But in some cases, it only takes one time of accidentally being yourself around other people for you to realize that you are in fact a real person and valuable for who you are.
That realization grows into a belief the more you practice it. I gained powerful skills in my confidence on that trip (to Peru) through making decisions based on what I wanted out of the experience and not what would make everyone around me, or at home, happy.