Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Saturday, November 08, 2008

pincushion girl

It's been many years since I was properly single. Ed and I were together for six all together. We started dating when I was only nineteen; we met, in fact, while I was still messily extracting myself from a nearly-three-year relationship. I don't really count the time between the end of that experience and the beginning of my relationship with Ed as being "single," but rather more a mad dash to put myself back together, to sew up all my seams and reattach all the limbs I'd lost in the process. That means, honestly, that in the past nine years I have no experience being single.

I am enjoying it. There is so much time, so much space, a great big world to explore and very few tethers preventing me from spiraling out into orbit. I am responsible only for my cats and friends. I love the ownership that I have over my choices, the sense of being beholden to nothing.

That said, the experience is also terrifying. A dull fear has been building at the back of my mind, but in the first few months of this separation it was easily drowned out by the wailing panic and screaming, searing pain that dominated most of my emotional register. As I got better, the sheer excitement of the move to My City and life with my friends shut it out. But now, as I am starting, just a little, to test my wings and interact with new people a bit, the fear has suddenly picked up a megaphone and started a terrifying monologue.

The thing is, I am afraid I won't find anyone else. This probably sounds incredibly stupid, since I've been single for five months and am still a basketcase and shouldn't even begin to be concerned over it, but there it is. Seeing Ed last weekend at The Wedding only intensified this irrational terror of dying alone and eventually being eaten by the cats. I found myself in the same room with a man who could not only deal with me, but with some cajoling actually agreed to marry me. That marriage was broken. And now, as I pick my way through the wreckage of the relationship, I find myself increasingly terrified that it was a fluke. That I am somehow intrinsically unlovable, and that I blew my one shot at happiness by not being able to make it work with that one person who could do more than tolerate me.

The rational part of my knows I am being utterly ridiculous at best and dangerously emo at worst. The self mockery doesn't seem to be alleviating the fear, however.

So this has been my state of mind of late. Not that peachy. I've been trying to prove myself wrong by actively pursuing interactions with the opposite sex. I am certainly not looking for anything -- quite the contrary -- but it seemed like a good way to show myself how stupid I was being would be to have some positive, mildly flirtatious encounters that would hopefully provide a bit of a confidence boost.

Instead, I have come to the only somewhat startling revelation that people are actually afraid of me.

It started with the little old ladies in Yorkdale and Forst Hill who clutch their purses tighter to their sides when I approach. I do have very short pink hair and dress like Tank Girl, so I wasn't initially shocked by their nervousness. I am probably the weirdest thing they see all day, poor loves. Then, a clerk in a comic book store actually scurried out of my way after I simply stood my ground in an argument about the writer behind a certain run of Constantine. And finally, in a conversation that marked the end of what I had hoped was a fun little flirtation with a co-worker, I had the singular pleasure of making a man several inches taller and a full decade older than me take two full steps back and then flee my presence by merely uttering the phrase "I am not most women." I wasn't even angry at all; just intense.

Forgive the whining; this week's been a bit tough on me, to put it mildly.

Wanted: Someone who is not afraid of a 5'2" gypsy-punk who might just be smarter than you. Handlebar mustache, top hat, and penchant for the circus not mandatory but desirable. Must like cats.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 10:38 p.m.!!