I’ve been born three times in this lifetime so far. The first was pretty standard. Pink and screaming I entered the world, confused, bald and cross-eyed in Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, London, England. I still have the hospital wristband they wrapped around my tiny wrist when I emerged from my mother’s womb. It fits around two of my fingers. I keep it because it reminds me of where I came from. It says “Whittaker, Girl.”
The only notable difference with my delivery was that my father flirted with the pretty midwife. She slipped her hand under the blankets between contractions, to feel the bump in my mother’s belly. My father saw his opportunity, and his hand went up the other side, meeting hers in the middle at the top of the bump. “We must stop meeting like this,” he said, with a charming smile. My mother laughed.
When I was a child, my parents recounted this story of my birth repeatedly. That might give you a little insight into my upbringing. “Daddy, Daddy, tell me the story again of how you flirted with the midwife when I was born.”
Birth Number One. Polly Whittaker. July 31, 1974.
Polly Whittaker is a Londoner. She says she’s a nihilist, but really she’s just unhappy. She grew up too fast. She gives the impression that she knows what she wants to do with her life. She’s an expert at pretending she’s okay. She knows how to use her sexuality to get what she wants. She knows how to use her sexuality to get in trouble. She knows how to use her sexuality to numb the pain. She dreams about being an artist, a singer, a writer, a poet, but she knows she’s not good enough. She’s pretty sure she’s broken. She had a perfect childhood until it ended. She was a daddy’s girl.
My second birth happened when I moved to San Francisco. I left behind my family name and became Polly Pandemonium. Renaming myself was a rite of passage. It felt empowering to be in charge of my identity, to create a name for myself. I took control of who I wanted to be, and in one bold gesture I wrote my own future and left all the baggage of my past behind. I became a new person.
Birth Number Two. Polly Pandemonium. September 23, 1999.
Polly Pandemonium is a hellion and a rabble-rouser. She loves to dance on tables. She wants to collaborate. She likes to make an entrance. She forgets to listen. She throws fetish parties and makes latex clothes. San Francisco isn’t just her hometown; it’s her religion. She wants to talk about the sexual revolution. She’s quite passionate about it. Sometimes she gets angry about the injustices of culture. She’s a feminist. She writes manifestos. She doesn’t want to talk about her past.
My third birth happened when I got an arc of rainbow stars tattooed on my belly. I readied myself to heal the wounds from my painful history, and I stopped burying them. The stars helped. They marked the beginning of a mythic adventure of self-discovery. A spiritual awakening, I guess. I sought out mystical allies and learned about synchronicity. I met a unicorn and a guru, and I thought I could change the world.
Birth Number Three. Polly Superstar. Sometime in 2005.
Polly Superstar is infinitely optimistic. She’s intensely empathic. She believes in the power of positive thinking. She practices yoga and mindfulness. She loves deeply. She’s got her eye on the big picture. She perceives patterns and meaning in everything. She sends messages back to her previous incarnations, reassuring them that the future is amazing. She loves her life. She believes that humanity is on the edge of an evolutionary leap.