Quite often the sheer act of existing feels downright overwhelming. Sometimes I wake up and before my eyes adjust to the morning light, a never-ending to-do list sidles into my mind and sprints off towards a mirage of a finish line. If you ask me, that’s just too much pressure before breakfast. At that point, I want to do nothing more than drift back into a peaceful sleep where deadlines, bills, emotions or any other concern that’s popular amongst the living mean about as much to me as a crack in a sidewalk.
But life beckons, and I eventually roll out of bed, sometimes sliding down the side of it, other times sitting up with an attitude and a curse word forming on my lips. It is then that I realize how badly I need a stunt double. Since Texas is a day’s drive from Hollywood and my house isn’t a movie set, I’ve decided to settle for the next best thing: an alter ego.
Nicki Minaj has Roman Zolanski. Garth Brooks had Chris Gaines. Eminem has the maniacal Slim Shady. And Lady Gaga has Jo Calderone. Now, I’m not sure what in the hell she needs with an alter ego because she seems to be quite the handful all by herself/selves, but that only confirms that having a little spare personality buddy can’t hurt. And finally, if Beyoncé has an alter ego on her payroll, then goshdarnit, so can I. I’m far from a member of the Beyhive, but there’s no doubting the benefits that the Sasha Fierce transformation hath wrought upon her life.
Imagine her without the presence of Ms. Fierce (Sasha, if you’re nasty). Her performances would probably be less like this:
And more like this:
So in an effort to get my life together and be the best, most fearless me I can be, I created my own alter ego. The only difference is mine isn’t cute or sexy…or human. If I had to describe myself as an animal, a hippo would be the last creature that comes to mind. The only trait we share is the big mouth, only I hardly ever use mine to bite. Lately though, I’ve come to feel that perhaps I should. Being the meek, friendly type often finds me at the intersection of Opportunists Knocking Avenue and Success Don’t Live Here Boulevard. In order to extract myself from a life of passivity, protect my interests and get shit done, I embraced my inner hippo and christened her, HIPPO BITCH.
So what exactly is a hippo bitch, you may ask. And moreover, how has having an alter ego helped me? Read on:
A hippo bitch takes a bold and unapologetic stance. Recently, I summoned my inner hippo bitch when I decided to quit my day job. I got a bunch of suspicious looks and questions from confused managers who legitimately didn’t understand. Working a 9-5 is secure, easy money and comes with benefits, but playing it safe only leaves me feeling bored, unfulfilled and stagnant. After they volunteered me for “an exciting opportunity” that turned out to be nothing more than a terribly disguised call center position, I knew it was time. So far, I’m super nervous about what the future holds (and the funds my bank account no longer holds), but I’m feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
She absolutely does NOT seek trouble but greets it with preparedness, her terrifying mouth agape, ready to swallow challenges and opportunists whole. These qualities can be put to great use when dealing with others, like the time a shady bartender tried to scam me out of $70 (!). For a brief moment, I saw a bar brawl in my near future, but my inner hippo bitch got me what I rightly deserved without causing too big of a scene. I left feeling humiliated and infuriated, but in the end I had my money.
A hippo bitch doesn’t play it safe when maintaining her safety. I used to be so welcoming and friendly to panhandlers–until I started working at the county jail. My shift ended at 11pm and as a young woman walking alone to my car on a Saturday night, I may as well have been wearing a sign that read “Bother me! Catcalls welcome! Ask me for money to catch the bus! Berate and insult me if I refuse!” Eventually the insults and pestering became too much to bear and the right person approached me in the wrong manner. He asked, I declined (friendly tone all but vanished), and he yelled insults. I shocked myself and the jerk who was harassing me by getting the last two words: “Yo mama!” Not my proudest moment, but I’m telling ya’ll, you cannot keep a good alter ego down!
This hefty beast hurdles the jungles of my thoughts, insecurities and self-esteem issues like no other. She gathers them up and sets them aside with brute force, clearing the path to my destination of inner peace, guilt-free self-nurturing and accomplishing longstanding goals. In a nutshell, flipping the on switch to unleash my alter ego helps me glide where I normally stumble, picks me up when I fall down and gives me hope when I feel like I’m not equipped to live my own life.
She’s far from perfect, but I suppose like a muscle, for her to function at maximum capacity, I need to use her more. Plenty of personal tasks await her. So far she’s only been a consultant in my life, as opposed to a full-time staff member with benefits. To me, alter egos are simply the magic inside of us, the blueprint to becoming the best of who we are, no holds barred. They’re who we are when no one’s looking, when we feel our best, when we’re no longer afraid. They’re what surfaces when one’s very essence simply won’t be held back by opinions, self-doubt, fear of judgment or any of the other bullshit that makes us feel the need to shortchange ourselves.
Now that I’ve exposed my inner animal for all to see, how do you feel about alter egos? Don’t be scurred to tell me all about yours. I mean, c’mon–mine’s a hippo.