Man, this explains a lot

“You were a man in your past life,” said the psychic as she gently let go of my upturned palms, which she’d lightly traced with her finger, noting how many marriages I’ve had, the length of each one, how many children and what gender. “You chose to be female this time and you enjoy it, but you identify more with your previous form.”

Yes! I knew it!

I sat up straighter and taller in the upholstered chair as I considered her words. I caught myself absent-mindedly smoothing my skirt, twirling the rings on my fingers, touching my hair. Then I folded my hands in my lap, my female wide-hipped and big-thighed lap. And I thought: Do I enjoy this form? I hadn’t thought so, really. Ever since puberty, when hormones stole my boyish body and left me this pear-shaped suit, I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable, self-conscious and not-quite-up-to-standard.  I worked hard for years to minimize the curves, but they would not smooth out. Is it my past-life male body that I miss?

I visited a psychic for the first time last week. One of the moms in my school social circle hosted an afternoon cocktail party/psychic reading/playdate thingie at her house. How could I say no to this? While I’ve never booked a private reading with a psychic, a group setting gave me the perfect excuse to satisfy my curiosity.

Being somewhat skeptical, I sat on the back yard patio and nursed a drink, letting all the other women go before me. Finally, it was my turn. Hesitantly I entered the cool house and found my way to the darkened living room. I realized I was a little tipsy. How would I keep a poker face, keep unnecessary information from spilling out of my mouth?

The woman seated across from me looked like one of my mother’s friends. Absent were any head scarves or crystal balls or other props I imagined. She was a sharply dressed older lady with warm eyes who instantly set me at ease. She waited for me to get comfortable in my chair. We sat in silence for a few moments. Then, she asked for my hands. She held them in hers and closed her eyes. Then she opened then, turned my hands palm side up, and began tracing the lines.

I don’t know how she knew that I was on marriage No. 2 or that I had two daughters. (Good guesses? Twice?) I don’t know how she had Girl from the West pegged to a T. To a T. She also knew things about Husband No. 1 and Husband No. 2 that could be good guesses but were rather specific to each man’s personality. She even predicted that I would be making a big move in two years — to the West. Although she envisioned me standing by an ocean rather than in the mountains.

But the line about me being a man in a past life or two? That floored me.

See, I am not a man trapped in a woman’s body. I’m not a closeted lesbian.  But I’ve always felt …. less than feminine and very reluctant to embrace or flaunt my womanliness. I’ve written before that I don’t have a sister and I’ve only had a few close female friends in my life. On the other hand, since childhood, I’ve always gravitated to boys and men and strike up fast friendships with men. I am infinitely more comfortable around men.

I won’t even go into how one whole summer the neighbor across the street thought I was a boy.

I’m not a women-only group joiner. I don’t go to the ladies room in a pack.  I am not into shopping. I  own less than a dozen shoes.  In many ways, whatever the majority of women are into or like, I’ll be the one or among the few who does not.

On the other hand, I’m not some uber-athlete who didn’t play with dolls when I was a child. I’m not really handy with tools or home repair projects. I’m not a gear head. Plenty of folks have me pegged as super feminine and are surprised to learn I love the outdoors and rough camping. They think because I wear eye makeup and jewelry and heels in the city, that my bare feet haven’t walked on the forest floor, or that I’ve never backpacked in the backcountry of Montana.

I’m not crazy about the belching, farting, spitting on the streets part of men. But I do appreciate the to-the-point way men talk and resolve their problems. Even if it means coming to blows, at least it’s settled. Is there anything worse than the protracted agony of the Mean Girls treatment? Ever since my first Brownie Girl Scouts meeting, I’ve hated girl politics.

The psychic didn’t have much more to say about the life I’m living right now, other than things will improve once I make my big move. Right now I need to focus on what I’m meant to be doing: taking care of Girl from the East.

Do I believe all of this? I don’t know. Did I just write a whole post using gender stereotypes. You bet I did.

But, I can’t help wondering what kind of man I was in a past life.

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