Alter-Egos & The Boxes We Put Them In

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 CarmenCarmen 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.

xoxo E

8 thoughts on “Alter-Egos & The Boxes We Put Them In

  1. This is deep for me, E. I used to hide certain parts of myself but that took to much energy. I can go from teacher, to bitch, to nurturer, to psycho, to warrior, to mediator all in a 5 minute span. :)

    I guess the part of me that wants to come out is that sexy Zumba-dancing girl. I really want to start Zumba AND take a pole-dancing class, yet I’m scared that I will be judged because you know how we sistahs “are.” I will take these steps to heart and let you know how it goes. Thank YOU for the encouragement to let her out.

    1. Yes, Lisa! I know at least three women who have felt really empowered by taking pole-dancing classes… It is always such an affirmation to hear when my writing resonates with folks- especially dope women like you! xoxo

  2. As I enter my 7th decade of life, it feels so good to know that I may keep learning, growing, expanding and enjoying life more, with help of course, of individuals in interpreting all the teachings available to us
    Thanks! :)

  3. Pingback: You | eloiza jorge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s