Straddling the Shadow of Life

It’s weird: I meet plenty of people who show romantic and sexual interest in me…but they’re all already married! It becomes downright bizarre when I realize everyone who shows platonic interest in me is already married (or were previously); indeed, every one of my friends and the vast majority of even my close acquaintances are married! And despite not even finding the idea of taking someone already taken to be a turn-on in the least, everyone I personally know who I find actually attractive in both body and soul (which is a rare thing for me) is already married, as is everyone who seems to find me attractive in the same way! Uh oh.

Segueing from the bizarre to the creepy, as soon as I discovered her I found myself drawn to and crushing on Emma, Lady Hamilton like no other historical figure…years before I met any of the people I know now and experienced any of this. Lovely Emma of course was married when she seduced her one true love Lord Nelson…who was also married to someone else.

My idol might be Lady Hamilton, but I really don’t want to go there. I’m not following in her footsteps! Though it has struck me that when it comes to sex and romance I strongly prefer the discreet to the domestic, to the extent I’d probably fit into the high-class escort scene perfectly; the same skill set and disposition, of course, helps with affairs.

The creepy overlap with Emma doesn’t even stop there. Although her appearance was quite different from (and substantially prettier than!) mine, I’ve been told out of the blue by people I’ve shared her portraits with that I bear a slight physical resemblance to her. We even have a lot of the same mannerisms and expressions; languid eyes betraying an active mind, the default expression being the mouth held slightly open in adorable fashion. We’re both hopelessly drawn to the performing arts; I’ve been told, again rather out of the blue, that if I got myself together I’d be a great model or actor. As it is I’m into ballroom dance, and love and (relatively speaking) excel at the artsy, performing, theatrical side of it. Emma Hamilton, of course, did all of it with her “attitudes”, when she basically invented fashion modeling as we know it. I’m heavily interested in fashion too, of course; I even feel drawn to the classical, or perhaps more properly “neoclassical”, aesthetic and mentality, same as her.

Even the reactions of other people are eerily similar. Most everybody is impressed with me but the general vibe is everybody low-key hates me for seemingly no discernible reason whatsoever. Well, that’s the vibe among my fellow countrymen, anyway. Foreigners like me a lot more. Lady Hamilton? Her very existence seemed to outrage her fellow Britons, but she spent most of her life, or rather the prime of it, in southern Italy, where everyone seemed to love and adore her.

Am I a reincarnation of Lady Hamilton? Eh, maybe, but even aside from the statistical unlikelihood I honestly don’t feel like I’m reborn from anybody famous or important; if I’m a reincarnation of anybody with any relation to her I think it more likely I was some minor member of the gentry who admired her or had a crush on Lady Hamilton from a distance (Lord Nelson himself fell in love with her just by seeing a picture of her, and where there’s one there were likely others…).

If I were a financially-independent Englishman of the late 18th century I could honestly picture myself copying everything she said, did, wore, et cetera, which is rare for me. It’s worth noting that as far back as I could remember in childhood I could never quite picture myself having a normal career and working a normal job for a living…and it turned out I’ve never had to. My intuition steered me right time and again. I’m going to go into business, and the extra money will be great, but I’m well off the normal workaday track. Just like an 18th century gentleman of rather limited means might have! It seems that’s my default expectation for how life should be; if reincarnation of the sort New Agers envision is real, then maybe that was informed by prior experience.

My “wow” reaction at her visage might also be informed by prior experience. Indeed, it’s possible lovely Emma made quite an impression on my soul, because I’ve never really had anyone in my life I could describe as a “role model”, nobody I really admired or looked up to, nobody I went “I want to be them! I want to have their life!”. Well…except for Billie Eilish; of all living people I’m aware of she’s the only one who jumps out in my mind as “aww…I wish I could have been her!”. Yes, I know she has her own problems, more than her fair share to be honest, but it probably means something that she’s the only person who inspires that sort of reaction in me. What that something is I have only the foggiest idea.

Especially considering the rather weird aspect of admiring and looking up to a person who’s a decade younger than I am! Though all of the people I could remotely describe as mentors in my life are at best only a few years older than me, so it at least fits that trend.

That might be related to how, although I’ve grown from a newborn baby into an adult who’s starting to experience the very earliest signs of ageing, I’ve never really felt like I’ve had life stages like normal people do. When I was a child I was much more adult-like than normal children, and in adulthood I feel much more child-like than normal adults. When I was a teenager I was mellow, stable, and content, yet now that I’m approaching 30 I’m moody, unstable, and hate my life, much like a stereotypical teenager would be!

Undergoing the reverse development as normal people, effectively aging into a teenager, is not unheard of — Kate Wagner, of McMansion Hell fame, has described exactly this phenomenon in her experience of (slowly) embracing womanhood — but it still strikes me as kinda odd.

It doesn’t help either that I easily pass as being around 20 and have always looked younger than I actually am; I see friends and comrades age years over the course of the lockdown era, as my own visage (along that of my best friend) barely even changes.

The way I go through life, jumbling aspects of childhood, youth, age, and elderhood together as if the boundaries between them don’t really exist, has its advantages, but it feels like I never had and never will have a real youth. That gnaws at me more and more with each passing year, but before long I’ll be in my thirties, staring down the conundrum and the challenge of snatching the passions of youth from a cruel world determined to let them pass me by, forever lost. My only consolation is that if there were anyone on this earth who could pull off such a thing, I’m it! I have all the tools, talents, and resources I need.

Am I a reincarnation of anybody, least of all what I imagine here? Who knows? I do know that life in this world is a weirder and more wonderful thing than is often appreciated, a path I’m fated to walk very much alone, achieving…what? That is the question. I wish I had the answer…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *