Back?

I’m back to listening to music from the war, looking at info about the war, even talking about it.

I don’t know what I’m going to achieve by confronting these feelings again. I was afraid that giving it any of my time would make it real again, make it something I couldn’t handwave as eccentricity. Even now, those memories are still there. There’s probably more where they came from.

But it bothers me the way all this lumps together with the general chaos in my life. I want it to be mental illness. What’s the alternative except that I’m either damn good at scaring myself or I’m a legit anomaly.

I don’t want to be a legit anomaly. This whole thing has the stink of some of the darkest recesses of Tumblr. I never bargained to be a special snowflake, or an attention whore. I just want a quiet, normal life like everyone else. But I have to prepare myself for the very real possibility that I’m just a freak and there’s nothing anyone can really do about that.

I do know this: in the last 12 years I have undergone four religious conversions, several noteworthy supernatural experiences, and a gender transition. That doesn’t sound normal. That sounds like someone with TLE or some kind of severe personality disorder. There’s definitely some dissociation but that dissociation could be caused by trauma. On the other hand I’m never sure what exactly the trauma that did it was or if I have any business being traumatized by anything I’ve had happen to me.

I’m going to get to the bottom of this. But for now I’m having a smoke while “Mademoiselle From Armentieres” plays through my hazy thoughts.

Update

I’m going through voc rehab to help with accommodation for some of the conditions I’m known to have (chiefly ADHD which is my biggest barrier to employment right now). They’ve scheduled me with a neuropsychologist who also does forensic psychology.

If anyone can tell me what I’ve got going on it’s this guy. None of my diagnoses fully explain the past life thing. I have long suspected I’m schizotypal or schizoid or some heretofore undocumented combination of the two.

It happened again, by the way. First time since 2016. Last night I had a flash of going to a magic lantern show in Blackpool some time around age 5 (circa 1882). The building had a big sign reading “Phantasmagoria” painted on it. The slides had a supernatural theme (ghosts, seances, spiritism, and the like) and were taken from multiple sets strung together into a sort of early version of a budget horror film with narration by the projectionist, who gave a dramatic spiel. He’d say things like “Behold, the Magus of the East, who from his fiery cauldron, summons spirits!”

I confirmed, at least, the circumstances moments after the flash of “memory” broke. My girlfriend was present. The type of show was bang on for the era; second-hand slides would have been cheap by 1882 simply owing to the volume of production over the previous 20 years or so, and they would have been spoiled for material of a supernatural variety. The time period was correct for a magic lantern show too; 1882 was midway between “The Horse in Motion” and “The Roundhay Garden SceneThe Roundhay Garden Scene” so film wasn’t up to much.

With this came a long-standing fancy that Jack had a taste for the supernatural and the bizarre. I’ve long had images in my head of a sort of arcade (in the old sense of the word) open to the sea breeze through which there was a band organ and any number of things. I seem to remember gravitating toward anything to do with ghosts, the supernatural, wild beasts, oddities, or the trappings of the far east. It would explain another long-standing image in my head, of a very stereotypical “Eastern” space with very little light, wafting incense, and silk all over. That could very well have been a fortune teller.

I talked to my girlfriend about it again today. She doesn’t think I’m crazy. She thinks this belongs firmly in the realm of the supernatural. I’ve had doctors and counselors tell me as much too. And I’ve been told by my father that I’m a magnet for weirdness. He would know. He was there for a lot of it. My husband doesn’t know what to make of it either. If I listen to the people who know me, I’d believe I’m just a haunted person who’s a magnet for spooks.

But can you blame me for not wanting that? I would rather it was schizophrenia or bipolar or something. At least you can fix that, sort of. Make it bearable at least. In some cases if you treat it early it goes into remission. But I’ve checked with several doctors and other providers; everyone’s at a loss. My counselor basically told me I’m a lot like a number of other unexplained reincarnation cases, like the ones Dr. Stevenson documented in Sri Lanka. A rarity in the West.

And still the idea rattles around in my head that I remember Jack’s life because he was receptive to the idea of the supernatural and spent time in a part of the world where belief in reincarnation is as commonplace as belief in the Rapture is in America. It was misguided colonialism and orientalism that brought him there (remember the fortune teller’s booth?) but maybe he did learn something in India.

Maybe. But I’d rather believe I was insane.

Incidentally, here’s a really awesome video I stumbled on when I was tracking down info on magic lantern shows with my girlfriend last night.

Getting Help

Reincarnation is not possible. It is a delusion.

The fact that I try to tell myself that every day while being dogged by persistent feelings and false memories is proof that I am ill.

I’m going to keep trying to get help. My doctors never took this seriously but I will keep trying.

Letting Go

After years of skipping all the WWI era songs on my MP3 player, I simply deleted them. I have them on my computer if I ever really want to hear them but odds are I won’t.

I feel like the memories are losing their sting at last. Maybe I’ll feel it again but I’m in no hurry. Life has changed. I feel alive for once and I’m thankful for it. Life feels less like a prison now as the memories of that far-off time become less and less a feature of my existence.

Maybe one day I’ll still go to Flanders and make one last gesture of farewell. But I can’t put my life on hold for that. I am not John William Harris. Maybe some part of me once was but it’s all just memories and habits.

I’m forging a life now. Hopefully the kind of life Jack could only have dreamed of. I have mountains, forests, and miles upon miles of rivers and oceans to weave a new tapestry of memories. Good memories.

And one day, hopefully when I am very old, I will be buried here in Oregon. And there will be no sobbing over that grave from my future self over a life squandered, only the gentle songs of scrub jays.

Always A Bit Weird

Always a bit worrying when I see a spike in views on a blog that is now half-extinct.

A couple days ago there were 66 views on my blog, almost all of them from the UK.

I immediately wonder, who’s there and why? And what the brief but intense spike in activity actually meant?

Part of the reason I’ve kept this blog going is because this corner of the Internet is quiet. But I know how easy it is to attract too much of the wrong kind of attention. At any rate my need to talk about these things is not so great that I’d press on any further if I were becoming some kind of side show. I said pretty much all I needed to say about the topics involved and the event I wanted to get closure with never materialized, so it’s no big loss to me if I have to call it done. I guess I’m only keeping this alive out of some hope that I will get to Flanders after all.

It’s Official…

I’m in a polyamorous relationship with my husband and now a girlfriend, something I never thought would happen.

It happened quite by accident too. The plan was to have a roommate, not a girlfriend. But we hit it off, things happened, and my husband warmed up to the idea when I made it clear I was not going to sacrifice his love for anything.

I guess it stands to reason, but this proves I’m at least somewhat bisexual. The intimacy she and I share is very different, though, and we both have strong inclinations toward men. Still, I find myself falling for her with little reservation. I see a lot of myself in her and she sees much of herself in me.

It’s funny, I often write books with characters stumbling into polyam relationships but never thought it would happen that way for me. I feel doubly blessed even if I’m still keeping it low-key for now.

Like my husband, I don’t think she and I crossed paths in another life. I strongly suspect (for reasons only she and I know) that her most recent lives were probably in Russia or Germany. If I was ever in Russia it was a very long time ago and I have no clear memory.

Frankly, I don’t care. I’m twice-lovestruck here and now and loving every minute.