Will the Real Me Please Stand Up

There was a little girl

Who had a little curl

Right in the middle of her forehead.

When she was good

She was very good indeed.

When she was bad, she was horrid.

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

From Rarasaur and Prompts for the Promptless – Season 2 Episode 1:  The Alter Ego

The Alter Ego, in Latin, literally means “Second I” or “Second Self”.  It can refer to an opposite side to the personality within someone, or a counterpart like a trusted friend.

cheer challengedMy alter ego is such a bitch.  Angry, judgemental, sarcastic.  My exact polar opposite, really.  I am an angel of light, and she is a demon from hell.  For the sake of clarity let’s call her Cheer Challenged, or CC for short. You know, so that nobody gets confused and mixes us up.  Because she is not the real me.  I’m surprised you would think such a thing.

Most of the time I try to keep her bottled and caged, locked in a closet or stuffed under the bed,  because frankly she can be a pain in the ass to have around.  I have learned to keep her sedated and soothed with meditation and deep breathing, and by letting her know point-blank that nobody likes her scowly face and pissy attitude. She rants and complains, stamps her feet, rolls her eyes and sighs excessively.  She can hold a grudge for a very long time.  She is full of angst and ennui.  She is exhausting.

So why do I let CC stick around?  Why are there days when we face the world together, joined at the hip? Why do I apologize for her, time after time, feeling remorseful and guilty after little Miss Mad has been out to play?  A sane person would gag her with duct tape and drop her off a bridge.

Well here’s the thing.  I rather admire how her stubbornness makes her strong.  I want to agree with her when she announces that the world is full of idiots.  (Because holy crap, if that’s true, we fit right in.)  When she tries to curse and the swear words get all muddled and jumbled up and don’t make sense, it makes me laugh.  Her snit fits are usually brief, and always funny.  I think she is pretty smart, and insightful, and talented.  Sometimes her jokes are witty, sometimes they’re unkind, mostly they’re just plain hilarious.

CC will never let me nominate myself for sainthood.  We’re both too smart to think that could ever happen.  CC has mellowed and become less volatile over the years, but I think she will always be around, helping me see both sides of things, making sure I don’t take myself too seriously.

The truth is, there are times when I quite  like my dark side.  I embrace my inner bitch alter ego because she is interesting, a little crazy, and very human .

I’m okay, warts and all.  Just one of this earths idiots, trying to be very very good and a little less horrid every day.

Thrown Away

I wish I had never thrown away my diaries.  And papers and poetry and notebooks and stories and public speeches (I’m not kidding, I used to write speeches!) that I started compiling pretty much from the time I learned how to print.

Of course 99% of it was no doubt insignificant drivel, as evidenced by the few pieces that have survived the years,  but there might have been some hidden gem in there.  Now I’ll never know.

When I met ‘the love of my life’ and knew it was serious I also wanted it to be perfect.  So I had to be perfect.  With no sordid past.  One weekend I came home and gathered up all my diaries that I’d been keeping for the last dozen years of my life.  There wasn’t time to sort through them or even give much thought to what I was doing.  I just lugged all of them down to the wood furnace in the basement, ripped them apart book by book, fed them in small doses to the flames and watched them burn.  Getting rid of all the incriminating evidence.  I’m not kidding, those were the exact words I had in my head.

I suppose it’s some indication of how important the relationship was to me, that I didn’t want anything to put our future happiness in jeopardy.  I thought if he ever found out about even half of the things I did before I met him he’d be completely put off and disillusioned.  So all the damning data went up in smoke.

It was all pretty pointless.  Turns out he is a complete respecter of privacy and not even all that interested in how I got to be me.  I probably couldn’t have forced him to read one of my journals at gun point.  He’d have given up after a couple of pages and reached for the newspaper or a biology textbook, both of which he would have found infinitely more fascinating.

So all that teenage history of angst and passion is gone.  All the names and dates and crushes and mad flings, hopes and dreams.  Although even if they’d survived the years and our various moves over all this time, there’s a very good chance I’d have destroyed them all eventually anyway, if only to save myself from potential embarrassment.

But man, there were a lot of stories in there.  The honest truth, because in a diary you don’t lie to yourself.  Now I have to rely on selective memory and invent the details and I’m probably not getting it right at all.