In between my west coast travels, I took a quick detour down South. I was in blistering Texas for a few days and then took a weekend trip to Louisiana to visit Jen, a dear old friend. I had heard Louisiana was a creature of its own design, unable to be replicated and a necessary experience for anyone who calls themselves Southern. Or American.
If my heart were a pie chart, the colored sections of my various belongings would continually shift in percentage. Some days I feel mostly Southern, while others I long for the fast-paced, overcast life of the Northeast. For awhile I felt mostly Midwestern and the strangely large amount of time I have spent on the West Coast has carved itself a permanent slice. I have lived on both coasts and in the far North and deep South. I have visited the Northwestern and Southeastern most corners of the country and driven through many a fly-over-state. Bits and pieces of me fit in everywhere and I’m curious to see where my branches will grow and where I will eventually set down new roots.
As a whole I don’t know how much I identified with Louisiana, but I had never seen anything like it and the Southern gal in me loved it. The music, the art, and the architecture in New Orleans are cultural gems that I soaked in best I could in one weekend. What I truly fell in love with, was the food. The gumbo, the beignets, the crayfish, the cheesy corn grits (and grits and more grits), the pralines, the red beans and rice…I could go on and on.
Aside from walking around and eating (arguably the two most important parts of visiting a new place, no?), I had a psychic reading done. Given the choice between a tarot reading and past-life reading, I went with past lives. The woman told me that in one life (circa 15th century), I was a Greek girl who survived a shipwreck off the coast of France. I lived by myself for two years at the age of 15, assuming that the rest of my family had perished in the accident, until my father found me. During my time alone I was a bit ostracized by the community and never quite fit in. I became headstrong and independent, learning how to care for myself and endure hardships alone.
A few centuries before that, the woman sensed, I lived in a small village at the base of a mountain in Eastern Europe, potentially around Ukraine. My village sat in the cross-section of many trading routes and I grew to love learning other languages and about the politics and cultures of other lands.
None of these things ring a bell. Perhaps the characteristics of hard-work, appreciation of solitude, love of other cultures, and desire to live by the mountains have carried over throughout the centuries, but who knows. I understand why people are skeptical of psychics. It would have been pretty easy to make those things up and usually it is easy enough to a) read people or b) talk about something general enough that most people will be able to identify with it. But that doesn’t stop me from believing that I have lived lives prior to this one.
I believe in reincarnation because I think the idea of living multiple lives in different time periods, in different walks of life, on opposite ends of the globe, is fascinating. I like the idea that the people who are important to one another, find each other in each life and come together in different forms. I think it is cooler to explain desires, preferences, and instances of deja vu with a connection to another life than by certain chemical reactions or biological wirings in the brain.
I believe in reincarnation and heaven at the same time. It makes sense to me that people would live multiple lives until they learn some kind of lesson or fulfill some purpose. I don’t believe in hell though. It doesn’t seem very forgiving to me.
I think God looks like Aslan and sounds like Liam Neeson because…how cool would that be?
I believe there is intelligent life in the universe because I like to think that we are not alone. I know there is a basement in a government building somewhere devoted to extraterrestrials and I am determined to find it.
I believe some people can have contact with the spiritual world because I believe there are things about the mind, the soul, and the universe that we will never understand.
Basically my belief system is what I hope is true. What I hope will happen to me when I die. What I hope the world around me is like. The whole point of faith is that you don’t know, right? So I’ll just go with what I think sounds cool.
I got side-tracked. New Orleans and Baton Rouge were marvelous places. Not to say that the South doesn’t have it’s problems (many of which I am critical of and why I sometimes struggled–and still struggle–to call Texas my home), but the people I encountered were kind and happy. And they made real good food. Speaking of which, I am going to have to get me some BBQ and Tex-Mex before I move to D.C.