Actual physical gender choice, what if we really did choose? What if before birth, we decided we would be male, female or both? From an existential point of view, the question must be asked. Did I have a reason to be born the sex that I am?
Yes, this question I can answer because I remember dying. The gift to know that ethereal moment when I was lifted out of my earthly body and carried to the heavens above in an embrace of overwhelming love and warmth is among my most cherished treasures. It is the one I most wish I could share.
Looking down upon the ashamed villagers, responsible for my death, I felt nothing but love and compassion. I promised I would return. They killed me out of fear, burned me as a witch. Poor things, they had no way of knowing that I felt no pain. My soul was freed before any flame touched me. I don’t know but I think it was because I had accepted my fate and I was content, even honored to die for love. I might think that all people can die so well if it were not that I remember dying twice.
The second time I was a grown man, a sailor. I died at sea. I don’t know what caused the damage to the ship, was it an attack by pirates or crashing against sharp reefs in a storm? I only remember seeing wood splinters flying and realizing I was impaled, as my spirit floated free of my dying body. I felt no pain but was thrilled by the belief that being free of my corporeal existence, I could now go where I wished.
I had but one thought of where I wished to go. My spirit flew at once to the side of the woman I loved and had left. In an instant I found myself beside a woman who bore only the faintest resemblance to my beloved. This woman was not the noble beautiful lady I had left. She was a hardened bitter husk. From the spirit world though I could at last see clearly what I had been blind to in life. I had thought she didn’t really love me, our marriage had been arranged, I worried she was with me against her will. You see, I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t understand the culture. I had not realized that women of different cultures express love in different ways.
Watching her when she received the news of my death, I saw how wrong I was. She became entirely broken. I followed her for years, she never remarried. She cared for her aging parents in quiet bitterness and sorrow. I waited believing all would be amended when she died. I was wrong.
The day after the ashes of her parents were interred, I found her packing. She walked up a mountain all that day and through the night. The next day she was very high, snow began to fall. I had told her that I came from a place where snow fell often. I could almost see her remembering me.
It happened so fast, I realized too late. She took out a knife, sharp. I could not watch her slit her own throat, but I saw blood on the snow. I will never forget the blood on the snow. She fell so slowly, I thought I had time. I reached out too late. A darkness was there, a demon I think, it ripped her soul from the falling body. I screamed silently and willed with all my being to reach her. The demon saw me but she did not, her eyes looked only down. And then . . . they were gone.
A tugging at my side, an angel pulled me away, where she had gone I could not follow. I had died with a heart full of love but she had died in bitter hate.
Among many reasons I have come to comprehend for my choosing to be born a woman, first was my desire to make amends for not understanding the damage I did in breaking this woman’s heart.