I am made of colored glass, heated and blown into life, stretched thin and ready to crack.
Somewhere in the last week I’ve seen fissures and fractures brought about by a personals ad. It scared me to be so exposed, then I was flattered and now I’m frightened-again. It’s one thing to suspect your frailty-it’s another to see it for all it really is.
To the person, everyone I’ve spoken to who has done this has had this experience. It is a vulnerable position in an unsafe container.
Many men who responded were nice, kind and complimentary. It’s not that, it’s me. It’s wondering what made me do it, that has me so rattled.
I’ve been getting notes from Columbia, Dubai, Eastern Europe, Canada and a smattering of remote spots across the US. They speak often of longing and loss. Some are angry, many are sad. A few are working hard to be happy.
Any one of the people behind the notes could be me–are me–in so many ways.
I started this “Angry Onion” to release heart break. But I see now it’s something less grand, but more real: fear. Two things happened in quick succession.
I think that’s how any form of wisdom comes, some kind of back to back experience that gets our attention.
In my case I took a horrible fall. I smashed my face up, bruised my knees and ribs to the bone and broke out a front tooth.
It happened on Christmas Eve.
I laid on the cold pavement as it got dark unable to move for some time. When I crawled my way to a mirror I saw my face, my tooth cracked off, a knot already forming on my chin and felt deep physical pain but more acute even, this whole body and mind ache, “Oh God. Look at my face. I am not okay”.
The knowledge that it is very possible I could be hurt, even die, totally alone kept sinking in with new depth through the long, painful night.
Christmas day was a dull ache. The days that followed left me rattled and afraid.
Then the Onion Guy was gone-again. I waited a year to be re-united with him. At night before sleep I would picture lighting a lantern in the dark for him to find his way back to me. It’s fair to say I loved him. I supported him. I believed he would return.
He did return. He brought poems and joy. We made it to two dates and that was it. Yes, I adored him. No it was not meant to be. But the one two combo is what I see now.
I was a glass vase knocked to the floor. The pieces scattered. I’ve been trying to pick them up ever since.
Since this combination of events I’ve been playing at this matchmaker scenario asking my daughter to find me a match. I became impatient, went against the advice of my love agent and took out a personals ad. She, the matchmaker, advised me to first know myself. She could not be more correct.
I have learned a lot. But sadly, much of it has been the hard way.
The responses to my ad most often start out breezy and kind with humor thrown in the mix. But if I correspond back it takes two or three e-mails in to see the frailty of being human. The mask comes off and I see deep scars, loneliness, fear and even anger.
I experience the results of not saying what’s wanted or expected and being struck with a verbal lashing. One person asked me why I’m asking questions and suggested I’m paranoid. Others still, angrily chastised me for not answering sooner, for not sending more pictures, you name it. I suppose once you step on that stage you are owned in a way. I exited left and kept walking. That seems to be my path right now.
Humans are fragile and frightened and terribly anxious. I am human. I am those things too.
I am starting to think finally this onion is getting peeled down to something meaningful. This searching for love may be more about seeking belonging and safety. It may be that I don’t want to take a horrible fall and have someone find my body because my apartment smells bad from the front door. It may be that life is more like hiking than I realized, a buddy system is advised.
But where does that leave me? Where does it leave anyone who is single?
Life still calls us, does it not?
So if I don’t have a hiking partner I am still getting out there. Up in the mountains with no one but all of life is not negotiable. I go to live. Having a full life without a partner is also not negotiable. If that’s how it plays out. I’m still all in.
I’d rather have hard truth than pretty lies any day.
Besides, who am I kidding? I could never truly die alone. Because I am never really alone. I hear the heartbeat of the Earth, I feel the breeze as its breath and I am covered in the love of friends and family who are always gathered within me.
I am letting go of the Onion Guy and dreams of a new Onion Guy for now. I am taking my matchmaker daughter’s advice and getting to know myself better. I am to make pros and cons lists, gather up what I like about me and others and report back.
Meantime, I am cooking for one and it’s not so bad. I think tomorrow I’ll make a stir fry–and yes–I’ll start by sauteing an onion. Why not?