Day 226 “Resistance to Change”

The magician rehearses and I, alone, observe from the front row of the theater. 

Assisted by two women, he plans his piece de resistance:   the illusion of transformation, one woman appearing to give birth to another.  Dark, terrifying, and magnificent.

In the final run through, one woman walks away, and because of my proximity, I am drawn in.  The part is now mine.

“No!” I protest to no one listening.  “I don’t know what to do.  I’m not prepared!”

Everything around me turns to chaos:  the stage manager suddenly falls ill, as does the stage hand.  I am alone and the curtain is about to rise, and I have no choice but to play the role.

“Improvise”, I tell myself.  “You can do it!” 

Concealed beneath the cloak of mystery, my partner and I merge and appear as one   entering the stage.  Strobe lights cut through the dim atmosphere and the magician begins his spell, gesturing and waving cloths, and just at the right moment lifts the cloak and I’m pulled off stage, out of sight, and the new woman emerges: transformation has occurred – suddenly, magically, efficiently – and only those behind the scenes know the fear that led to this moment.

*  *  *  *

The dream repeats itself again and again, and I toss and turn trying to shake it loose.

It makes no sense to me at first consideration, but then I see it:  “All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare penned, “And all the men and women merely players.”  Reluctant players at times, as I am in the dream.  Improvisational players.

No matter how much we prefer to sit in the audience and watch others perform, time comes when we are called to play our part – or as, in this case, the part chooses us.

Is this what this illness is about?  Am I being called to transform myself, give “birth” to a new woman?  Is this an opportunity?  Or am I just participating in a grand illusion?

Change is never easy.  I have certainly been dragged against my will into my current state, and I know I fear that my self is lost.

I do feel as if I am playing someone else’s role; this is not supposed to be happening to me.  And yet it is.  And why not me?

The woman who walked away – whose role I filled – she did so because she felt too vulnerable and didn’t want to be exposed.  I didn’t have that choice.  I had no rehearsal.  I get one shot at getting it right.  What pressure I am putting on myself to succeed at this illusion of transformation.

Thank goodness for the magician’s skills.  I couldn’t do it without him.

Wonder who this magician is that makes change appear as easy as 1, 2, 3.  I could use some of his magic.


Day 213 “Life After Life”

“Scoot up on the step, Rie-Rie, and let Mommy put on your new shoes.” With only weeks to go until my second child was to be born, I found bending over impossible. Obligingly, Marie climbed up the steps and offered me a foot. “Look how shiny they are! Don’t you love them?”

The black patent Mary-Janes fit her tiny feet perfectly. She sat patiently while I adjusted the buckles, chattering away as she often did, but this time I found her words strangely unsettling.

“When you were little you always loved your Baby Dolls the best.”

Baby Dolls! It was a term I hadn’t heard for ages.

“Where did you hear them called Baby Dolls?” I quizzed my two-and-a-half-year-old.

“You called them your Baby Dolls. You had to wear them everywhere.”

Marie often talked of when she was big and I was little; I had just thought that it was a thing that young children did. When you were a baby, I fed you applesauce, she’d say, for example. But repeating a name I’d left behind in my own childhood and forgotten startled me. Who are you? I wondered.

My second daughter was born at the end of October, the same day we moved into our new, unfinished home. Without kitchen cupboards, or a proper countertop, I was forced to bathe my newborn in the bathroom sink. I assigned Marie as helper and stood her on the toilet seat where she would be within reach. On the back of the toilet, I had placed a flower arrangement, made from the silk flowers that had been part of my bridal bouquet. Marie spotted it at once.

“Oh, how pretty!” she exclaimed. “I made one of these once.”

“You did? And when was that?” I couldn’t help but be amused. In her short life, at home with me, I knew for certain she had not.

“Oh a long time ago, before you were born. Only I made it out of yarn.”

Yarn?! Where did she come up with such things. I would say ‘wool’, not ‘yarn’.

“Oh yeah? And where was that?”

“It was when I lived in England. At school.”

“And how old were you then?”

“Sixty months.”

“And how old is that?”

“Five.” Marie said it so matter-of-factly, but I was stunned. How does a not quite three-year-old know that sixty months equate to five years?

“Marie is scaring me with the way she talks,” I told my mother over the phone. “It’s like she has been here before.”

“You were like that too,” was her response. “She is just very bright, that’s all.”

I wasn’t so sure. I called my cousin Lynne. “Could she have been here before, like she says?”

“Some people believe so,” she said. “It’s called reincarnation. There’s a book you should read that might help you out. It’s by Ian Currie – You Cannot Die.”

It was the beginning of a shift in the way I thought about life, and life after life.