I am beginning to suspect that there are only so many times that you can save your own life.
For straight people, the ones who take well travelled paths, this never really becomes a big problem. They love the idea of a little bit of reinvention in their lives, something to spice up the daily.
Queers, though, who have had to blow up their lives just to try and get breathing room to survive, look at this requirement for reinvention very differently. To us, it’s not about changing your style, it’s about fundamental restructuring, and that takes a lot out of you.
Rebirth requires reconnection. The requirement to start all your relationships from scratch, even the relationships with people you have known all your life, is excruciating, but unless you do it, you will be stuck with their old assumptions about you.
Reconnection requires building links with people in a new way, physical, emotional, mental and creative understandings that transcend simple assumptions.
Every time we are reborn, for reasons from inside ourselves like needing to surface authenticity, or for reasons outside ourselves, like engaging loss, trauma and service, we become deeper, richer and more complex. Fold upon fold creates points of connections, understanding of linkages, more context that leads to a more penetrating, informed and knowing vision.
More rebirths creates more depth. More depth makes it harder for other people to link to us in an intimate way, even if it also makes it easier for us to link to other people, having moved beyond the routine and unconscious to the present and sensitive.
This makes every rebirth harder because it moves you farther and farther away from simple & indulgent, moves you closer & closer to awareness & spirit.
So many people resist rebirth because they resist transformation, letting go of what no longer serves them so they can leap to a higher level. We don’t want to feel the separation, the requirement to forge new relationships, the fact that we have to be willing to fail and fall to achieve a new level of mastery & ownership.
Those of us who commit to rebirth do it to save our own life, but every time we do it, we pay the cost.
I learned very early the requirement to take ownership of my own mind, my own heart and my own soul. There was no comforting network for me, no easy space where I didn’t need to be hypervigilant, always conscious of controlling my choices to stay safe and to try and get what I needed. I learned to protect others, my sister and father, long before I even reached the puberty that would finally betray my heart.
Every rebirth moves you beyond the conventional and towards the exceptional. While people can be there for rebirth they understand, ones that they have experienced, like a child growing up or becoming a mother, transformation past those expectations demands a huge amount of self empowerment, going beyond boundaries to go places beyond the norm.
The limits of our personal reserves are the limit of our rebirths, the constraint on the number of times we can save our own lives.
When we create new relationships with people who can mirror, affirm and empathize with who we have become those reserves are conserved and even extended. When we are unable to find people who can meet us where we are now, who instead try to fit us into their own limited understandings and beliefs, we don’t get the nourishment and feedback that we need to keep going, to keep growing.
I am happy that I have been able to help others blossom, releasing their old habits, assumptions and fears to find new and better ways to be in the world. I am not so happy that I haven’t been able to find others to help me.
Being aware of how far I am from the comfort level of other people is very tough. They, as my life-myth goes, don’t get the joke. Mostly, they suspect that if I can’t pull back and package myself in a pleasant and normative way, a way that they find attractive, then maybe something is deeply wrong with me, because they are sure that they are fine. If I would just take their advice, just make the choices that worked for them, then I wouldn’t be so damn queer.
How queer is too queer, too individual & wild, and how queer is not queer enough, too assimilated & compliant? This is the key question in the LGBT community, based on the primary duality (1994).
No one is an island. To live without touch, without intimacy, without mirroring, without love is to run dry, no matter how early we learned to be self-sufficient, learned to be individual, learned to save our own life. Loneliness, “the loneliness of a long lost tranny” will catch up with you and grind you down, leaving you without the resources for rebirth.
Going backwards, though, is not possible. You cannot unsee that which you have seen, cannot unknow that which you know, no matter how much denial, ignorance and compartmentalization that you invoke, at least in my acute experience. Awareness is a journey that takes you beyond, so any return is of you transformed, bearing gifts that do not fit well into conventional society.
How many lives can one invoke? What happens when rebirth takes you so far beyond the comfort of others that you no longer can get the human touch everyone needs?
I am grateful everyday for the surprises of my life, the learning and the delights that come as gifts. Working to share what I have gained is still important for me, even if that work has very limited rewards.
But I am beginning to suspect that there are only so many times that you can save your own life. Rebirth has always increased my spiritual life, but it has created costs in my earthly life, pushing me away from ego and Eros that might feed the flesh.
There may be another huge divine surprise waiting for me, more rebirths that take me into the bosom of humanity rather than away from it.
But there may also be constraints on how much discipline, mastery and magic any one person can invoke in one cycle.