Once, many years ago, I sat down to write in my diary. Society would have me a child, but physically and mentally I was already on my way to becoming a young woman. It was a day as any other, in a week as any other, and I was home alone.
I started writing, a simple and ordinary diary entry.
Without warning, something changed. I looked down on my hands, and they were no longer mine. Yet they were. It wasn’t my diary beneath the pencil, but another. The handwriting wasn’t my own. I was no longer me.
Still to this day I remember the sensation as clearly as if it happened yesterday. Even though I was still aware of being me, of sitting where I was sitting, of the room around me, of the pencil in my hand, I was also someone else. A young woman whose name I still remember, it lodged in my memory as firmly as my own. She, or I, was also writing. Her now was not mine, her time was long ago.
She was about to get married to a man she didn’t know, but was neither happy nor sad. Through her memory I saw glimpses of a garden, of the letters she wrote, of a borrowed scarf of the softest silk.
A second later I was myself again. I remained sitting, staring down at my hands and wondering what just happened. Not a vague feeling, not a fantasy under my control. For a moment I truly witnessed the world from inside another’s eyes. If she was within me or if I was within her I could never tell. If I was her or merely connected to her on some level I’ll probably never know. But it very, very real and to this day it rests in my memory as one of those moments that defined who I am.