Who are you? Who are you, really?
That’s a difficult question to answer, isn’t it?
In my work with women the theme of alter-egos unfailingly comes up. Alter-egos are those parts of ourselves that we have some clue exist but we decide to put away in a box, up on a shelf or down in a basement somewhere.
Hidden, denied, or rejected parts start to emerge as you begin to uncover more of who you really are. Because I am walking this path myself, I know both the pain and the joy of the process. When I get to meet other women’s alter-egos they are often bitchy, messy, not so nice and invariably more alive.
You see, many of us tend to operate one way most of the time and only let our alter-egos show themselves in special moments. How have you explored and honored different parts of yourself? What risks are you willing to take to be more authentic?
Alter-egos come in many forms. One woman, Willa, who I coached with for several months, really had no problem telling-it-like-it-is. She was often so quick-witted and sharp that before she knew it, her opinion was shared.
She named this side of her Carmen. Carmen has an intimate and passionate relationship with art and literature. Carmen does not sit the fence. Her superpower is sensing bullshit a mile away. She is bold and brave.
Yet, Willa had a longing for another aspect of her identity to emerge. There is this part of her who sometimes wants Carmen to shut up. There is this part of her who is wise and gentle and knows how to harness her power in more subtle ways. She named this alter-ego’s Ju Goddess. As you can imagine, claiming both Carmen and Ju Goddess, letting them both be fully present, helps Willa feel more alive and connected.
For me, the dance floor is a place where my more bold, sensual, playful alter-ego shows herself. The identity I prefer, and have tended to more often show the world, is more reserved, intellectual, serious. It has taken me a while to claim my Hot Mama alter-ego. I still often tell people that dance is just a hobby– I resist fully claiming it. And yet, this is a part of me. The more I let my alter-ego live as valuable, worthy, even necessary, parts of my world, the more fulfilled and happy I feel.
And still, Hot Mama doesn’t capture all of who I am. Stepping into the persona helps me explore different aspects of who I am now and who I am becoming… Identifying and naming the alter-egos (and others like Teacher Lady, Chubby Adolescent, Wise Elder) have allowed me to claim more of my multidimensional and complex self. Instead of remaining in a box of who I think I am supposed to be, my alter-egos allow me the opportunity to be who I really am.
A new, more full and authentic identity is emerging as I claim more parts of myself. Owning the ugly parts and nurturing the beautiful parts. Being more compassionate with the suffering parts and claiming the powerful parts. Being awake to what is true for me day to day, right now. Dreaming and longing to make a bigger contribution– to be more bold, alive and passionate.
Which one of your alter-egos is dying to step outside the box?
L e t h e r l i v e.