I’ve been surprised in recent years to find myself fancying a belief in reincarnation.
This is a remarkable admission from a girl who has long been little more than amused by the half-baked ideas of the alternative, new age, occult, and various other pop-cosmologies.
Even my spotty participation in my traditional religion has long had more to do with the comfort of ritual than in an absolute faith in its tenets.
(Separately, I have come to accept in general terms the comforting idea that there is some spiritual dimension to life that transcends the biology of birth and death. And also, incidentally, to believe in my heart-of-hearts in the idea of a supreme being or at least of a collective life force that transcends all those individual spirits.)
But, it is only in recent years, and only through personal experience, that I’ve become increasingly receptive to the idea of reincarnation.
I’ve read almost nothing at all about it. No Edgar Cayce. No Bridey Murphy. None of the Seth books. Little Hindu doctrine. No Kabbalah.
No, it’s all come from my own anecdotal experience.
The most seductive part about it all is how much I like it as an explanation of my transgenderism. It’s sweet. It is a more romantic explanation of my transgenderism than all the other theories, from the most naïve to the most scientific, from the most personally instinctive to the most widely accepted and politically correct in our community.
Unfortunately, my anecdotes are a bit embarrassing to relate. You see, they are very personal, and they unfortunately <blush> have to do with masturbation.
Okay, <blush again> to get on with it.
I, like most readers of this forum I imagine, am long passed the stage of my transgenderism in which the wearing of women’s clothes is in itself erotic. Nevertheless, I still do occasionally well, you know, while en femme. (After all, I remind myself genetic women have been known to do it, too while in their panties or nightgowns.)
Like many women, surely, floating around in my mind’s eye during those times of growing arousal is the image of a man. Occasionally, it is a specific man, a past paramour, a movie star, a good-looking acquaintance (unapproachable in real life, but there at the bidding of my imagination). Most often, though, it has been a disembodied, Aristotelian idea of a man, holding me in his arms, finding me beautiful and desirable, caressing me with slow hands, taking me with firm, gentle passion.
Get ready to cry, now.
Because in recent years, I’ve come to recognize in this disembodied man is someone else, someone who is (or rather was) very real, somebody very specific. There is something overwhelmingly familiar and important about him.
It is as if I am not imagining making love with this man but remembering it. Sometimes, I find myself crying, feeling his loss deeply, mourning his loss terribly as he slips back into my pre-memory.
In the solitary quiet of a warm lonely bed, he comes to me out of my memory. He is so real. He is so familiar. My deep love for him and his for me easily displaces any other fragmentary images of imagination.
He is there with me, the most important person in my life, in another life, an earlier life, a life I think, I likely lived from birth to death, lived as a child, as a girl, as a teen, as a woman, a wife, a mother, perhaps even as a grandmother, that man, that man from that life, in my mind, in my imagination, in my memory, that man in my bed, in my bed holding me, holding me again as he did for so many years.
In some ways, I’m sorry that it is only from this embarrassingly personal place that this recognition comes.
But I am not at all sorry about what it means to me.
I love the way it explains my transgenderism to me. It tells me that my transgenderism is a phenomenon of the power of my memories of a life and of a love in another time.
It isn’t any kind of pathology. It isn’t any kind of helpless fate. It isn’t an unexplainable, unstoppable behavior that I simply must learn to accept and embrace. It isn’t sad. It isn’t pointless.
It is joyous. It is romantic. It is simple. It is, simply, nostalgia.
Nostalgia not just for that lost love, but for that lost being I once was, that woman I once was, that woman that at times, and in many ways, I still am … and still love being.