Fragments."Reincarnation," as such, seems to contradict the faith I was born into, and which I haven't wholly abandoned. I mean, some of my family members have had strange experiences regarding connections with deceased loved ones in the afterlife; if reincarnation is the rule, than how could this be? How could anyone really be "on the other side?" If I could wholly embrace this, does it mean that I have to accept that I will not see any of my loved ones after I die, because they, like me, will be in other bodies, back on earth?
That said, lately for some reason it just seems to "make sense" that I have led lives before this. It suddenly seems obvious, without ever having given it too much thought. I am 35 now, and perhaps I have just lived enough of life to begin to feel like I know something. Not only would it explain so much, but it seems like an ultimate, intuitive knowledge. Part of me wants to dismiss it like a good rational child of the Enlightenment, but then the deeper part of me feels like it knows that to do so would be more ignorant and cowardly than wise.
I am an American who has always been obsessed with Britain. I cannot bring myself to speak these words in "real life," because it is too embarrassing to admit it (I know too many British people, including my ex-husband, for one thing). But there you go. I cannot explain it, but I feel more at home in England than I do anywhere else I have ever lived. I lived there for six years, and they were difficult years--graduate school. I returned to the states, as fate would have it, because of my ex's work, despite that he is British. I have not returned since I moved back three years ago, and sometimes I miss it so much that it becomes a feeling closer to anxiety than melancholy. It is just plain odd. Before I ever moved there, when I was just a frequent visitor, I would always call my Mom from London to let her know that my flight had landed safely: "I'm home," I would say.
But well before then, back in grade school, I remember: studying the American Revolution, and absolutely failing to understand how on earth it was possible that Britain and American were no longer enemies. I could not wrap my mind around it, and decades later, when I think back to the experience, I remember the odd feeling I used to get in my gut, a kind of sick feeling, whenever I used to have to learn about that war.
And I am not a specialist in the 18th century; my PhD is in Victorian studies. My connection with the Victorians is more like a love--a comfort zone, but it is the 18th century that unsettles me (in a deeply attractive way). As a historian, I love to go to re-enactments. I even participate at medieval/Renaissance faires; I used to work at one. But there is a Revolutionary war re-enactment near to where my parents live every year, and though I never attended as a child, as an adult I rarely miss it. Again, it is excruciatingly embarrassing to relate this, but what I love is to watch the British army re-enactors marching on to the field. I'm not that fussed about the battle, as I don't much care for military history. But the sight of the red coats makes my heart flutter. And that does not happen at any other re-enactment, neither here nor in Britain, as I've been to a few in that country, too (all medieval, though). It is as if I want to blur my eyes and remember something...
And talking of which, it is very hot right now where I am. Sweltering. All my life I have had a habit of overdressing in hot weather. Sweatshirts in 90 degrees, etc. I don't know why. I have always figured that I tend to misjudge the weather, or whatever. I've never thought about it much, but I remember once when I was in my early 20s, my mother asked me to change before we went out together, suggesting that it was a little weird, and that people sometimes stared because of it. Really, aside from that, no one has ever mentioned this habit of mine except for the occasional "aren't you hot?" Perhaps I am making too much of it. But the other day, I was in the car with my baby daughter, and we were baking. In the process of trying to evaluate the temperature in the car, and trying to consider the difference in what I was wearing (long jeans over sneakers) with the bubble romper she was wearing, and whether the air conditioner was going to cool things down quickly enough for her, etc., I was kind of forced to think about how overheated I was in my clothes, and how it felt. It was then that it flashed upon me: "I find this comforting, because it reminds me..." As I realized what I was thinking, I felt a chill up my spine, as if someone had told me something very scary and creepy. What does wearing too many clothes in the heat remind me of? The flash is hard to describe, because it was like a memory. I could almost hear the rustle of fabric.
And like other people have mentioned, there is someone I have dreamed about, too. A man--a partner. One? More than one? Two names: one directly from a dream: Abraham. What an awful name! In the dream he was young; the dream was not memorably from a time before this one. But the dream (about ten years ago) made me recall another dream--or rather, a vision, that I had experienced some five years before that. This was a "physical" vision of a man--a vision I had in that moment right between sleeping and waking--he was in period dress, I guess you might call it, but the vision was so brief that I couldn't describe. It has faded from my memory for the most part, but at the time, when I was an undergrad, I thought that he was dressed in 17th century clothes. I didn't think of the 18th century, and I like to consider that I would have known the difference, even at 20 years old. I'm sure that there was more material up around the neck than would have been common in the 18th century. Then, this year, a few months ago, I was contemplating the "memory" of this person. And another name randomly sprung to my mind. Paolo. And a chill. Now, where did THAT name come from? Certainly not from MY life. And it isn't even English. But it reverberates, ever since. Who knows?
Who knows what it all means. i can't help but think that if I had a more "complete" memory, I just wouldn't believe it. Perhaps this is why it doesn't happen.Fra