I believe in reincarnation and that we've lived thousands of lives before the one we are living now.
I always thought how interesting it would be to find out what life I had lived before this one I'm living now.
I'm now a broken-down, world-weary, 54-year-old going through midlife crisis.
A LIFE WITHIN A LIFE
Over the last 20 years, I've lived in Los Angeles and Cape Cod, and I've acquired four primary possessions along the way: my car; my cat; my Nikon camera and, lastly, my boxes.
I've since lost my car, my cat and my camera, but my boxes had been kept safe, waiting for me in Seattle storage for the last 20 years.
Reclaiming and re-opening my boxes after all these years was like going inside a time machine. But it was not another lifetime: It was another life within my present lifetime. It was my 34-year-old self preserved from 1984 to 2004.
Opening these boxes was like opening King Tut's tomb!
A lot of the things I found in the boxes were things I did remember, but I had forgotten a lot of the details. It was almost as if I were meeting a stranger!
Then it suddenly occurred to me that if there are details in my present life that I can't remember, just think of how hard it would be to try to remember my other lifetimes in age regression!
When I went through my possessions of my 34-year-old-self - like photos, books, journals, clothes - it was like going through a mini-age regression.
It was also very self-actualizing for me, too, because it allowed me to reconnect with a part of myself that had been as dormant as the boxes sitting in storage for 20 years.
Here are the highlights of what I found inside all these boxes:
❚ My radio tape -I taped my favorite songs off the radio onto an audiocassette. Then I dubbed my voice as a DJ in between the songs on my tape recorder (it took about 12 hours to do this, according to my journal entry at that time).
My voice sounded cheerful, sexy and humorous. And the songs I loved in those days are still playing on the light-jazz station today! Like songs by Spiro Gyra and George Benson.
❚ My "Walking Papers" writing-class journal - A collection of photos and journal entries from my 1983 Walking Papers class, taught by Mike Magee, with three students.
❚ My Journals for 20 years - I kept a day-by-day diary for 20 years, and I finally collated all the journals by year, from 1984 to 2004, and lined up all the separate journals up on a tall bookcase wall, to be read in detail later.
❚ My mother's belongings and 20 of her oil paintings - I finally had the courage to go through all my deceased mother's things (like photos, mementos, her journals, etc.) 12 years after her death.
But most importantly, I am the keeper of all her remaining paintings of landscapes and portraits. She had an Impressionistic style, and she was a very good artist from San Francisco.
❚ Clothing - I kept my wonderful, gauzy, cream-colored, cotton Malibu dress with the pale pink belt that I had bought at Baby & Co. here in Seattle (the store still exists). I had worn that dress on many important events in Los Angeles.
I also kept the high-end, Italian, black cocktail dress that I wore at my high school reunion.
And I kept my black disco skirt that I designed and sewed with gold panels at the hem-split.
❚ Photos of myself - I still have all the photos taken during my modeling shoots - my composite photos. And I, of course, have other photos of myself taken with friends.
Boy, was I gorgeous then!
It's difficult for me to recognize myself now. It does seem like I was an entirely different person.
❚ Musical tapes - I have tapes of my Suzanne Vega and Sinead O'Connor phase and INXS and "Jesus Christ Superstar" and, of course, "Hair."
❚ Books - I still have the poetry books of Yeats and Yevtushenko, and advertising books that my copywriting teacher, Bill Hoke, lent me 25 years ago.
And various other books of interest: Virginia Woolf's "A Room of her Own," Yoko Ono's "Grapefruit" and Joan Baez's autobiography, "Daybreak."
❚ Magazines - I still have a1984 copy of Cosmopolitan, and I compared it to today's version of Cosmo. The 1984 version is more intellectual and woman-oriented, with well-researched and informative articles.
I believe in reincarnation, even within my present lifetime.
Opening these boxes, to rediscover my former 34-year-old-self, was very enlightening and fun.
And now I can reclaim my 34-year-old self and let her expressive, fun-loving self live again inside my world-weary 54-year-old self!
Eydie Eskridge lives in the Lake City neighborhood.