When I started to type this post there was no intention to upset anyone. But upon rereading it I am realizing that this might come off as… offensive to people of certain faiths and religions. That’s the last thing I am intending to do here. People have deeply held beliefs and I don’t mean to trivialize or minimize anyone’s faith here. My point in this long and rambling post is that I don’t know anything for sure when it comes to God or the afterlife… and that I love the mystery.
I love interpretations of creation.
I love stories.
I was raised Catholic and spent every Sunday in church and every school day being taught Bible stories. Even at a young age I didn’t really believe them. When I was six I was obsessed with dinosaurs like a lot of kids were. Learning that they lived like a millions years ago taught me that the Earth was a lot older than what the Bible said.
But I rolled with it. I felt that these stories were metaphors, allegories, fables, and, well, a type of myth.
Again, please understand that I mean no disrespect to any faith or to any believer.
My point is that I didn’t take these stories as literal fact. But I loved these stories all the same. I didn’t really think God caused the Earth to experiences rain for forty days… but I loved that there was a story, a meaning, behind the rainbow. I loved that the story of Adam and Eve was a metaphor for original sin.
I loved the creation story… but I didn’t think that the Earth was created in six days.
Not believing these stories didn’t make me think that Catholicism wasn’t important. I became detached from organized religion in my teen years and was more drawn to faith and having a private relationship and communication with God.
And to be clear, I don’t know who or what God is. I am agnostic and I don’t think that the creator is anything that our hearts and minds can even come close to comprehending. I don’t think that any religion is right and definitive. Christianity is different than Judaism which is different from Shintoism and so on.
For every religion and for every faith there are different stories relating to the creation of the universe, deities, and the afterlife. And I love learning these stories. I love how we as humans have put something so… big and incomprehensible into a context that we can understand.
I think there is too much effort and too much importance on debating which religion is “right”. People try to prove or disprove different faiths and I think that is missing the point. Some people believe the planet and the cosmos was created in six days but geological testing and carbon dating tell us that’s not true.
Faith and science can absolutely coexist. The belief in the Garden of Eden can still be held even if there’s no proof it existed.
Beginnings and endings are fascinating. I was told how the Earth was created in school… at least according to the Bible. When I was older I was taught about different religions and different creation stories. I loved them all and in my fashion I believed in them all.
But I never believed in them in the literal sense. I loved the allegory. When we are children we are taught thunder is the sound of angels bowling. Of course I knew even when I was young this wasn’t true but I loved this idea and I loved myths and folktales and storytelling. I still do.
After creation there is the afterlife. Again, different religions have different perspectives of this. Will I drink with the warriors that reside in Valhalla? Will I go to Fiddler’s Green? Will I spend the rest of eternity in heaven? I don’t know. No one knows. But countless people have their beliefs.
Faith over fact, baby. It can also be faith AND fact, baby.
I am restless and easily bored. I finish something and I am onto the next thing. Even when I was young the concept of being in heaven forever and ever seemed… um, really dull. And yes, that sounds absolutely blasphemous.
Somewhere along the way I learned about different religions believing in reincarnation. And it was like YES. That’s what I hope happens.
Of course any concept of the afterlife is difficult to comprehend but I liked the idea of continuing… albeit as a new person. I don’t want to be… hm, aware of who I was previously but I would like to continue to be ME but with a different life, a different reflection in the mirror.
If reincarnation is, more or less, an endless cycle of rebirth then it goes without saying “I” have lived before.
And before anyone starts to worry about me, no, I don’t seriously think reincarnation actually happens. I just like the idea. It’s comforting in a way. Again, I don’t think anyone is capable of comprehending the afterlife or God or similar concepts and beliefs.
I have a friend who, well, dabbles in channeling one’s past lives. This is fascinating to me. Not that I believe it, but like many hobbies and interests and careers that are out there, it’s fun to get a peek into a world I am not familiar with.
Anyway, a year or so ago she “did” me. Part of this spiritual discovery, according to her, is going into a trance-like state and then writing in an almost unconscious way.
And yes, I know I am almost trivializing this. And I don’t mean to… just like I don’t mean to trivialize anyone’s faith or religious beliefs. There are some things that are very important to others and are very significant to them that I simply am not familiar with. I don’t understand the appeal of golf but I won’t criticize someone’s passion for it. I don’t put much stock in a palm reading but I will not mock someone going to one.
Don’t criticize what you can’t understand, you know?
Anyway it would be hypocritical if I did. I mean, I would hate it if I was made fun of because of my “hobby”.
At any rate, she tapped into my previous lives with such conviction and sincerity and detail that one would think it was factual. If anything, she would be a fantastic fiction or history textbook writer. I don’t recall much of what she wrote but in one of my past lives I was a girl.
I mean, that’s not surprising to hear.
And not because of, well, who I am now. But if you are going to speculate on someone’s past lives and if you look at gender in the binary sense, it’s not a stretch by any means to suppose that person was a gender that is different than the one you present as today. The odds are 50/50, after all.
She wrote what she “saw” and she wrote it in such detail that it was almost… unsettling to read. Not that the content itself was uncomfortable but more like… if this was “the real thing” and maybe, just maybe there was something to this…
I have the several pages of notebook paper tucked away somewhere and besides a cursory glance through it I have never read it.
I want to interject something here that we will circle back on in a moment. And goodness isn’t that the most professional sentence ever??
It’s easy for us to overanalyze ourselves and when we come out to someone it’s natural for that person to want to know the WHY of who we are. Was there something that happened in our childhood that impacted our gender identity? Is this side of us born from trauma or created due to neglect from a parent?
I suppose since many of us realize this side of us at a young age it’s tempting to think that something from our childhood was what influenced who we are today.
And, well, that makes sense to suppose that, but it’s not necessarily true. My dad was… awful. And of course that impacted how I grew up and it took (and still takes) a lot of time and therapy to, well, undo how this shaped me as I grew into an adult.
But my gender/genders were not born from trauma. I love who I am. It’s a gift as far as I am concerned. I’m sure there are some therapists out there who would link my gender identity to wanting to be someone else since my dad hated me. And I suppose that’s… plausible but in my case it’s not true.
If you believe in reincarnation it’s not abnormal to think that who you were in a previous life has shaped who you are today. I mean, that’s part of reincarnation in a few religions. Who you are TODAY, in THIS life will impact who you are in the next one.
This aspect of reincarnation and our development in our adolescence are not dissimilar. We are a result of what happened to us before… whether in another life or when we were ten years old. My therapist suggested my overthinking is stemmed from having a wildly impulsive and furious parent when I was growing up. And it makes sense. But my gender identity was born from a deep love, a place of beauty, a gift I let myself have. Something that made me so happy and still does. The joy I had trying on a dress when I was little comes flooding back to me even now when I go shopping.
Goodness this post is going in a million different directions, isn’t it?
Circling (lol) back to reincarnation…because reincarnation is a cycle. Get it? Um. Moving on…
Was I assigned as a girl at birth in a previous life? Sure. Probably. Again, the odds are 50/50 when it comes to assigning gender and if reincarnation is real then it’s incredibly likely there was a previous, ah, version of me that was swaddled in pink blankets instead of blue.
But is who am I today, in this life (if you will) a result of who I was, who she was, in a previous life? Is Hannah an echo of a previous existence? I mean… who knows? It’s not impossible to think so. It’s not unlike a creation story, I suppose.
What I mean is that it’s fun to consider and impossible to confirm. It’s not a mystery to be solved and not a mystery that can be solved.
Creation stories are not unlike origin stories. And we as people all have our own origin story. What made us who we are? Nature and/or nurture? What shaped our gender identities? What influenced our attitudes? What relationships impacted our own? What experiences led to our perspectives?
You could obsessively trace back every aspect of yourself to what led to who you are. I mean, I do this. I have a wonderful marriage and it took a lot of experiences in previous relationships to understand how to be a partner to someone. Soooo many eggs to make this omelet.
Who I am, and more specifically who Hannah is, was shaped by trying different looks and different experiences. Who is she? What does she like to wear? What is her style? What is her personality? How does she interact with the world?
The only real way to know thyself is to have experiences to see how you respond to them and to see how these experiences make you feel. I created myself, I discovered myself. I saw my origin story, my creation story, in real time.
Buuuut if we step back even further AND if we flirt with the idea of reincarnation, who was I before I was born? Who was Hannah?
I received an email a couple of weeks ago where the sender offered their… hm perspective? the results of their research? of who I was in a past life.
To be clear, I don’t have a habit of sharing personal correspondence on this website, especially if the sender specifically requests that I keep their email private.
Buuuut I am sharing their email here. I hope this is okay.
In your past Life you were born in 1890.
In Paris. As a Girl,,,,,, your Aunt had the biggest Ladies underwear and foundation store in Paris. You had gone to work for her because of a new invention that was introduced to Women’s Stores. It was the Sewing Machine. Your Aunt purchased this new invention. Now there was no more hand sewing of all ladies garments. It was just like the computer today. Now ladies could sew 10 times faster with this new machine. Your Aunt placed you in charge of that department. Your Aunt gave you the run of the store.
The younger girls who lived in France hated the big rear end Bussels and of the heavy fabrics of the Dresses and Gown’s back then. The Garter belt was invented back then to hold ladies silk stockings up. It is this life back then that has cause you to recall all these feelings THAT ARE STILL DEEP IN YOUR MEMORY.
It is absolutely not a stretch by any means to speculate in a previous life I had some sort of connection to lingerie. Five minutes on my website would lead anyone to make the connection I am somewhat obsessed. It’s also not a stretch to suppose I was assigned girl at birth in a past life… not only because of my gender identity but also because the odds of being assigned boy or girl are dead even.
Is this my origin? Sure? Does this contradict the peek into my past life that my friend did? Yes. Do I believe this? No. But it doesn’t matter. I love a good story.
I have no idea what will happen after my heart runs out of beats. No one does. But we all have our faiths or ideas or hopes. Some believe that death is the end and I suppose from a scientific perspective that is absolutely true and likely. But when I think of myself, when I think of others, when I think of YOU and I remember how everyone has thoughts and fears and passions and dreams and how we have worlds inside of us… I can’t imagine that these worlds just stop. Our bodies will wear out, they will age, they will be impacted by disease or injuries. Our souls, our spirits can live forever.
7 thoughts on “Spirit”
For me and my faith I will say this to you Hannah
Jesus is still the only one I know of that actually died and came back.
There are many witnesses to this fact.
No other religion can claim this.
This is why the Christian faith has remained
I truly hope you will find your faith again in what Christ did for you
He died for you and for all who read this.
Trust me my faith has always been a challenge when it comes to my gender variant, but I know who my savior is and he loves me just as I am
God bless Hannah
Loved, loved, loved this post.
It is amazing how closely our experiences align. I too went to Catholic school also. My recovery was a little different. I overthought way to much as a child. In late grade school, early junior high, I absolutely could not wrap my head around one particular aspect of the bible which made me look critically at the whole thing. Eventually it just made me more interested in finding out my own right.
I love the idea of doing a past life analysis. I too am not certain what happens when my heart runs out of beats but I hold hope that reincarnation is one of them. I often think of coming back as a mother.
I too have no idea what made me who I am. It doesn’t really matter much as this is the only me I have so I need to live it in the best way I can.
Once, years ago, one of my older brothers decided to order our family coat of arms from one of those ads in the back of a magazine. A few weeks later, based on their exhaustive research and $50, the company came up with a simple red and black shield, and a narrative explaining all the wonderful family attributes symbolized by these colors in the coat of arms.
Of course, it was a fraud. First off, they didn’t even get the country right. DNA has shown that no, we aren’t from a small town in France. We actually know our family history going back many generations in Norway, and sadly, there isn’t any nobility back there.
I look at stories of past lives in a similar light. The appeal of these stories, shared with the fake-heraldic society and horoscopes, is that suggest to us things we want to believe about ourselves, In my view, religions function in a similar manner.
A long long time ago in the Psalms the writer asked “who is man that you are mindful of him?” Since the dawn of civilization humanity has realized that it is different from any other creature on this planet. Religion is the pursuit of a reason for this. It is the attempt to know the unknowable. Like you I am intrigued by reincarnation, but not willing to believe it with any amount of conviction. But I do believe in a a higher power. And I sincerely hope that Jesus was right and that higher power is a loving God and ready to welcome us on the other side. That, I believe is what we call faith.
How do yo deal with this type of tedious question
God does not make mistakes, you were born a man and man is all you will ever be !
For what its worth, you are what you are, its not up to people like me to my judgements on your choices
Correct our chromosomes cannot change no matter what anyone does to make themselves more feminine or masculine.
We are born male and female just as the scriptures say.
Our gender can vary though I believe it’s a difficult road though anyway you look at it
I agree with Rach’s comment. My faith in God has pulled me from the darkest times in my life. My relationship with God is a choice, just like loving someone is a choice. The key word here is relationship. The discussion on relationship vs. religion can be intricate. The Lord knows what is real and sincere. For me, one of the more difficult aspects of faith is how we are grown/developed through trials and struggles. It took awhile for me to realize most people don’t evolve when life is perfect. God shapes, molds, and strengthens us a lot through hardship and experiences. I do constantly question how being a crossdresser fits into whatever direction i should be following. In my opinion I think a lot of people have a hard time with Christianity is because true faith is submitting to God. Having to follow that uphill and twisty path along with relinquishing our pride that we ultimately need Him turns people off. This is my choice, not to be forced upon others, but to be cultivated upon freewill.
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