A Fear of Fire and Ice Explained?

28 Feb

This might sound strange to some of you but I am fairly convinced that in a past life I died in a fire.

For those of you who have spent a significant amount of time with me, I might have mentioned to you this discomfort I have with extreme temperatures, both hot and cold.  I’m pretty sure the dislike of cold, and more specifically of ice, stems from an experience I had as a young child.  I was 3, maybe 4 years old, and I accompanied my mom to the grocery store, something I still do when I am home.  I love, I mean love, the grocery store.  I was wandering the freezer aisle with my mom while she put whatever it was that she needed into her cart — I imagine it was Welsh Farms Coffee Royal Ice Cream, now discontinued, but I could be wrong — when I decided I wanted something from inside one of the freezers.  I somehow opened the door, reached in to grab the thing that I desired, and promptly got my lower lip stuck to the metal shelf.  I shrieked.  My mom had to quickly pull my mouth off the icy structure.  There was screaming, crying, bleeding.  To this day I can’t eat an ice pop without first washing it in hopes of melting that first sinister layer of ice and I simply cannot sit through A Christmas Story without getting queasy.

The fire thing I cannot explain through past experience.  I remember when I was younger I had this reoccurring dream of being locked in my house, although it wasn’t my actual house and I wasn’t actually me, but I knew that I lived there and even though I didn’t look like myself I was somehow still the same person.  Know what I mean?  I would be locked in this house, at the window, and I would be looking outside as someone got into a car, preparing to drive away and leave me unprotected.  Right as they closed the door to their vehicle I would smell smoke, turn around and see fire entering the room.  I would try as hard as I could to unlock the window but nothing, it was locked.  I would bang on it and bang on it as the fire got closer and the smoke got thicker and then, right as it approached me, I would wake with a start, breathing heavily and sweating.  I had this dream at least once a month, with slight variations, for years.

And then there was this other thing.  You know how sometimes people talk about out-of-body experiences?  I only had one of those once.  I was in the kitchen of the house I lived in from the middle of fourth grade until I went away to college, baking cookies.  They were raisin drop, if memory serves.  We had one of those two-tiered ovens and I was using the one on top.  I had decided, and this is something I would never ever ever do now because it is like playing with fire (no pun intended), to put the cookies in the oven without using oven mitts.  I figured, whatever, the oven is hot but the cookie sheet isn’t.  As I prepared to slide the cookies into the oven I said aloud to myself,

Okay, Rebekah, don’t burn yourself.

It was at exactly that moment that I saw myself from above.  It was like I was floating up by the ceiling but then corporeal me was down by the oven, mittless, holding the cookie sheet.  I saw myself slide the cookies into the oven and then I watched, in horror, as my body panicked, my hands lifted with a jerk to touch the top of the 350 degree oven and the cookie sheet tipped back, all the small blobs of dropped dough sliding back towards me and onto the floor.  As quickly as I left my body I was back inside it, looking at the mess on the floor and feeling a dull throbbing on the tops of my hands. That was literally the only time I really burned myself and the only time I saw myself from the outside.  I honestly don’t think it was a coincidence.  It was if something in me, my soul maybe, knew what was about to happen and was protecting itself, if not its physical manifestation, from the inevitable.

I literally haven’t thought about all that stuff in years.  I also haven’t had one of those fire dreams since I was in grade school.  But New Orleans is a spiritual city and I guess, when you spend enough time around all that unseeable energy you can’t help but engage with your own ideas and experiences with life and death and whatever comes in between.  Anyway, as I said, I am fairly certain that in a past life I died in a fire.  Let’s hope this go around ends slightly less painfully.

2 Responses to “A Fear of Fire and Ice Explained?”

  1. aeroplaneoversea February 28, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    There is a yummy restaurant in Kathmandu called Fire and Ice. I think you should go!

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