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Set Your Alter Ego Free!
by Vicky Nabors
2005-07-01

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Over the years, I've been blessed with a circle of wacky friends and acquaintances, and many topic ideas have come from listening to their strange conversations. A recent Sunday, our conversation shifted to the topic of alter egos. Though this topic wasn't new, it was quite fascinating to listen to their take on it. One maintained that she didn't have an alter ego and was always happy and pleasant ( I wasn't buying that ) , while the other announced that her alter ego was a racist white woman called Megan; this is a Black sistah now. Let's just say that after listening to Megan's fierce racist views, I clearly understood why a few of her friends threatened to 'cut her.'

Fortunately, Megan represents an extremely unique alter ego ( anyone know of a gifted therapist for my friend? ) . In general, alter egos represent the opposite side of our personality. If you're shy or mild tempered, for example, your alter ego might be severely aggressive, bold, and daring. If you're loving and caring, your alter-go might be rude, obnoxious, and selfish. And, if you're afraid to take risks or to step out of your conservative behaviors, your alter ego may be severely outgoing and freaky.

Even though, connotatively, alter egos seem to have a bad rep, they all have one common value; the alter ego will gladly do your dirty work quickly and skillfully. 'Dirty work' isn't always so dirty, often it's those actions required to maintain your comfort ( but you're not comfortable saying or doing it ) . Here are some broad examples, if you have a: need to put your controlling / homophobic mother in check, need to get mooching family or friends off your back, need to tell a disrespectful co-worker or employer where to go, need to tell a lover that she's just not making it happen sexually and you've been faking it, need to tell an irritating stranger to step off, or need to tell a sistah that you want her bad ( but you're too shy} ... wouldn't these be great jobs for the alter ego?

The alter ego isn't that little devil sitting on one shoulder telling you to be bad; it's bigger and more powerful! That little devil is a part of your conscious, which directs your choices at every moment of every day, whereas, the alter ego isn't often seen or heard because we're taught to keep her locked safely away. The alter ego is our raw emotion that focuses on right, wrong, need, and desire.

Unfortunately, too often we deprive ourselves in one of the areas listed above and suffer at the hands of a cruel and uncaring society. The movies, Me, Myself, and Irene, and The Nutty Professor, are great examples of how personal neglect can unleash bizarre yet necessary behaviors from the alter ego. In the end, each character finds a healthy balance between both parts of themselves ( their conscious-self and their alter ego ) to create a more practical and balanced individual.

It's important that you embrace your alter ego and allow her to defend and define you as needed—don't attempt to deal with the complexities of the world alone. There is value in all parts of who you are, especially that which is closeted ( the alter ego ) .

Consider setting her free.

vickynabors@hotmail.com


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