(This article contains paragraphs from my upcoming book Rebelle)
I climbed up the stairs to the apartment of my ex-morphed-into-brother, Florian, a university professor. The architect I had passed on the level below nearly shut the door onto his hand, staring at me. I smirked. I liked the attention. I wore a tight, red two-piece set from Dolce&Gabbana, its mini skirt revealing smooth stocking free legs. My bright red heels matched the outfit perfectly.
It was 1988. My ex-morphed-into-brother told me later that said architect asked him in a secretive manner, "Did you hire a call girl...?"
I laughed. Cute!
I enjoyed the self confidence of being a young entrepreneur, who had just sold a business making a nice profit, lost ten pounds sniffing a little Cocaine here and there instead of lunch or dinner, bought a Beamer and sped at 130 mph over to Paris on the amazing European Autobahn.
Looking back at my red heels on squealing wooden stairs I wondered, did the sexy red suit reveal my soul? My darker desires? Did I have an inner courtesan calling?
If you consider reincarnation or genetic memory a possibility, that we can link to scenes from the past as their energy lingers all around us or if you like the proposal that we live in a virtual reality where everything is possible you won’t flinch when I tell you about my courtesan memories. I connected to a medieval story in which I was a courtesan in 1248. It wasn’t a mental construct or called in by witchcraft, those eerie memories of the past simply happened.
I lived in the magical Aquarian country of Portugal, in a 700-year-old farmhouse, when I looked into the mirror and she looked back at me; bright make up, wild hair, lots of powder and rare pearls on a risky decollete; my furious inner courtesan. People entered my life with strange messages, my closest friends and my lover took on roles from the past and real words about "whores" appeared on white washed walls. I had visions of my home burning and monks praying in the valley. On another day I walked through the fields in front of my house in a white vintage dress, a rifle over my shoulder, Mozart’s Don Giovanni blasting from the speaker on my terrace. I felt heart broken, desperate, threatened by a sin I had committed and fearing revenge. I was defending myself; from whom I didn't know - yet.
I stumbled firing a shot into the air waking me up from my trance. The old farmer and his companion’s heads popped out of the cornfield, ”Now she’s shooting at us.” The scene was morbidly funny but my heart was racing in panic. I ran back into the house, what had a done? I could have killed somebody.
My inner courtesan had winked at me again on the stairs of my ex’s apartment building but like so many foreshadowing moments in my life I chose to ignore it. I wasn’t yet on the level of experience I could cope with it. The story of my courtesan memories revealed itself only years later when I fearlessly looked back at my spooky visions of 1248; I thought writing a screenplay with her as the heroine would get me out of the financial mess my gambling the stock market had caused. She was the force that drove us from the serene beauty of Santa Fe to the harshness of Los Angeles and promised to be the way out of my financial ruin.
It was not fame and fortune that awaited us in LA but a spiritual path; rarely paved by prayer and meditation but an enlightenment that went through the body; the crude, emotional, human experience of my shadows. Like the high priest of my medieval story had prophesied the courtesan Alazais; "I will give you eyes to see and ears to hear."
Locked into a mindset of being unworthy, a decade of martyrdom and redemption had to pass until my rebellious feminist soul dared to show herself again; Justyna Smart, a couturier, felt inspired to draw a high fashion outfit for me; her intuition made her call it "Angie's Inner Courtesan", a blonde femme wearing a red mini skirt suit.
There she was, young me in my Dolce&Gabbana number. You can call it coincidence, I call it the magic of synchronicity.
It doesn't stop there; Justyna offered me to wear her red Christian Lacroix two piece outfit and when I looked into her beautiful mirror my inner courtesan looked back at me, this time with a smile. We both had left the story of abandonment. It doesn't matter if Alazais was me or the memory of the life of a mysterious whore who was murdered by the Catholic inquisition in 1249. She was in my code, part of my life, a reoccurring theme. The outfit by Christian Lacroix was not just red and similar to my D&G; the couturier had fallen in love with courtesans influencing a whole period of his life.
"At the 39th-annual Rencontres d'Arles, France's most famous photography festival, the guest curator, the couturier Christian Lacroix, chose Les Insoumises to feature in a special and very entertaining section, explaining that he has long been fascinated by these colorful transgressors.
They were courtesans whose nickname "insoumises," meaning insubordinate, came from the fact that, unlike common prostitutes, they refused to submit to police licensing or conventional morals. They were glamorous, venal and usually ended up badly but while the going was good they were celebrated, from before the Empire and after its end, by writers from Dumas fils to Maupassant and Zola."
Not all courtesans were consciously or deliberately rebellious women driven by the fierce need of freedom. Not all of them were educated or trained in tantric type magical rituals. But some were; they followed in the tradition of wild women, witches, sorceresses and holy whores.
Remembering Alazais I had promised to finish her story to redeem both of us. I let her see that she was loved when she died, not abandoned as she was forced to believe. Abandonment had provoked many of my rebellions, which made me wonder how far the rabbit hole goes, how old is the story running my life and what do we see when we take the pill that opens our eyes? Are we programmed with beliefs and deep layers of memories structuring our lives? A script? Is our warrior's task is to live through them, win the level, become aware of another puzzle piece, power or treasure and rise to the next more complicated challenge like in a video game?
Why is Alazais, my inner courtesan showing up right now? I am writing about sex and love at midlife after I experienced a rather mind boggling old story of love and betrayal recently, which I thought had been long out of my system. I had given up on men pretty much entirely. My No to the old paradigm of men's dreams of mindless sex entails my Yes to what I want from love, from men or women. The experience woke me up; what was I missing? What can Alazais teach me about other ways of looking at sexuality? At the union of male and female? What did it really matter to her and what does it mean to me?
She had stepped into my life a couple of times but I never really listened deeply, I took it as a tantalizing game, a seduction I had to avoid. I will lend her my hand to restore her diary; I want to know from her if it is true that there is magic in sexual union. "Jesus replies: "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom]."
Life is story, and underneath the stories and beliefs of our childhood are deeper, darker and much more forming ones. The detective game is to find out which ones we are living and which ones we truly want to live with.
Outfits have to power to kick our emotions. They express who we are and what we feel at the moment as much as they can reveal deeper levels of our selves. They can be hideaways, invitations, provocations, wake up calls or embodiments of our ignorance. Outfits are energy and consciously stepping into them or simply giving ourselves permission for "more" can be an eye opener.
I always hated the color or non-color of white. The white "wedding" dress I wore in Portugal to express my guilt, despair and grief about a love forever lost has changed to a white dress in which I feel beautiful, open and loved with everything being possible. White had meant the end and now I feels like the beginning.
Outfits are not just things we buy because they are in fashion or we might fish out from the deepest corners of our closet to make a point against the dependency on trends. Their style, color, how their materials feel and especially the period they came from or remind us of can be storytellers and co creators of our lives.