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It was unnerving.

The first time it happened my birth mother knew something was wrong. I cried all night, unsettled and disturbed.

I was too young then to hold onto my memories, and even if I could, I didn’t have the language or vocal skills to articulate what I was feeling. It was cold, like an icy dagger sliding into my heart. Once, the pain was so intense it caught my breath. I learned later that it was my father who saw my blue lips and breathed life back into me.

I spent hours as a child staring at my pale skin and slender fingers. I was displaced. My body was not my own, my surroundings were unfamiliar, and my mind was clouded by a thick grief.

As I matured, the memories steadily came back.

One memory remains so vivid it’s as if it happened only moments ago—maybe it did. In it, I strike a match and light a candle. Before me, in the orange glow, a woman’s large brown eyes stare into mine. Her black, scarred face is fierce, but I’m not afraid. Is it my own face I see, or does it belong to my mother or sister? I don’t think I will ever know.

I carry this face with me, through all the lives I live. She is a reminder of who I can be.

The first few lives were lived in torture. I denied my form, my gender, my privilege, my power. In other lives, I surrendered to the ego completely, and I forgot who I’d been and what I’d seen. I lived a numb existence.

There was no order to where or when my next life would be. There was no continuity of time. One life could be spent as CEO, working on the top floor of a skyscraper, the next life could be spent living at the foot of a mountain which disappeared into the sky.

Some lives were peaceful and allowed me to live in harmony with my one constant—nature.

In other lives, my mind was conditioned in such a way that I was unplugged from the source. I was trapped inside cursed lives created by circumstance, culture and repeated cycles of pain. In those forms, I was lost. All I could do was observe and hope I would be realised before their time was up.

Each birth is another chance to observe and be realised. It’s both a gift and a miracle.

So, who am I if I am not one life?

Come closer friend, look a little deeper, for I am formless, I am timeless, I am you.

The End

© Michelle Upton

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