“You got to be IN the world, but you don’t got to be OF the world.”
---my Gamussa

 

I am an invisible woman. Not like a ghost in an urban legend , or a plot twist in a Syhmalan movie. I am a woman with a body- breasts, flesh, blood, breathe. And I might even be said to possess a mind. 
I am invisible,understand? Because people refuse to see me.
Like a bodiless head floating on a green screen, erased by Hollywood magic. When folks approach me they see only my context, or themselves or narratives grafittied on my flesh—indeed, they see everything and anything except me.

 

The whitefolks always ask for your name. They say it like it’s the most normal thing

 “I’d like to order a $6 cup of coffee……and what’s your name?”
They put their money on the counter so they don’t have to touch you, 

                                    but then they ask your name. 

inside you might rage at the constant microagressions

the imbalance of power in these interactions

But outside ………….you smile. And say “Barbara!”. 

“Barb” if someone’s being annoying cuz it feels good to throw a “Barb!” at an asshole. 

 

I’ve used Barbara as my name at every restaurant I’ve ever worked at. It’s easier to ignore someone snapping their fingers at you like you’re a dog if they’re calling the wrong name. 

And it gives you time to compose yourself. 

                                                                 To fix your face. 

 

To hang a pleasant smile and patiently say “How can I help ya?” 

(white people LOVE a southern accent on a black woman, 

                                                                          epigenetic memories of mammies, I suppose)

White people love Barb! Barb smiles on command! Barb can do 6 tasks at once! Barb works for minimum wage and no benefits! Barb is invisible, but also LOOK AT OUR BLACK EMPLOYEE! Barb can lift, Barb can carry, Barb works hard so you don’t have to! Barb is disposable. Barb doesn’t seem happy here. Barb isn’t a good fit. Barb is really angry, huh?


Barb is really angry

 

Barb is