I remember looking in the mirror probably around age 7 or 8 but was most likely older than this. I was trying on a pair of mirrored sunglasses, those ones you used to see motorcycle cops wear back in the 70’s and 80’s think of the village people construction worker guy, but anyway they were considered cool then or at least I thought them to be.
As I looked at myself in the mirror, I was saddened and frustrated with what I saw. I felt very feminine under the large shades and become overwhelmed with emotion. I believe it was anger and frustration, which for whatever reason sent me into a fit. I removed the glasses and remember walking out onto the back porch of my grandparent’s house announcing to them and my parents that, “I was reincarnated as a girl!” They all laughed and thought it was funny but I was dead serious.
Perhaps it was just my frustration at not looking more grown up and masculine like others I saw wearing those glasses but I realize this is one of my first memories of knowing I was different. I absolutely knew reincarnation was real and I was aware of the feminine energetic aspect of myself which scared me since I was in a male body. Not understanding how to express that, I feel I rejected that feeling and suppressed it for much of my life. Later I would come to see that everyone has a mix of masculine and feminine energies. I did not need to suppress that part of self out of fear, thinking it was weak or embarrassing. I saw other men and women express this energy in empowered ways that wasn’t out of balance or weak. In fact there was great strength in owning that part that is receptive and nurturing if one has the courage to do it. I slowly realized with time that I didn’t have to like and do all the things men are “supposed to”, I didn’t need to follow some sort of stereo type of being aggressive and dominate like all the evolutionary theory stuff that was jammed down my throat here, as if humans cannot continue to evolve consciously beyond animal instincts. I could ride dirt bikes and work on cars which I enjoyed but I didn’t need to pretend I was obsessed with sports and pretend not to feel things and have emotion other than anger.
There is a story I came across recently that I am reminded of while writing this so I will share it here. It explains a bit about my past confusion in how to embrace this energy and some of the fear I had about what would happen if I did.
I was unable to locate an original source of this story but I found this version in the book We’re All Doing Time by Bo Lozoff.
There’s an old story about a cobra who goes to a saint and says “Please give me teachings so that I can be more spiritual.” The saint says, “Well first of all, don’t bite people anymore.” So the cobra goes back down the mountain, happy the saint has accepted him as a student, and he sits by the village path all day long, thinking over the saint’s advice. But after a couple of days, people begin to notice him, and since he’s sitting so still and looks so happy, the people get curious. After a few more days, unafraid of the cobra by now, some of the children have started poking him with sticks and teasing him, throwing pebbles at him, kicking dirt on his head; and a few cruel adults, too, toss garbage on him and kick him when they walk by.
After about a week, the saint walks down the village path and sees the poor cobra sitting there all bruised and bloody and full of mud. The saint says, “My God, what’s happened to you?” The cobra replies, “I was just following your instructions, master; I don’t bite people anymore.” Realizing all that had happened, the saint looks down lovingly at the cobra and says, “But I didn’t tell you not to hiss!”
May you always be able to embrace and balance all aspects and energies of self,