Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Alter Ego

When I was a little girl, I had an imaginary friend named Clara. She was no ordinary friend -- besides the fact that no one else can see her -- because she was also my twin. Yes, daft as it may sound, I had an imaginary twin. My creative juices probably ran out just as I conjured her up because I decided afterwards that Clara and I will have the exact same personalities and like the exact same things. And surprise, surprise, I also decided that we looked exactly alike. Then again, we were twins right? For a seven-year-old, any other type of twins except identical ones didn't exist.

Clara only inhabited my imagination for a grand total of four days because I decided that we didn't get along very well. This stems from the fact it was both confusing and frustrating having her around. Knowing that Clara was a direct reflection of who I am, I couldn't just make up stories about her -- unless those stories actually happened to me first. I couldn't make up any of her traits and attributes because I had to possess those first before she had them. And she also had to carry my idiosyncrasies that I didn't really enjoy having to deal with myself -- neither did I particularly like admitting that I had them.

My logic back then was simple. I wanted a friend who was similar to me so that we wouldn't have to argue much. It never occurred to me that I would learn at a very young age that a) I didn't like myself very much, b) it would be helluva lot boring if everyone was the same, and c) dolls are so much more fun to play with.

Up until this day, Clara sometimes still haunts me. She reminds me of the person that I've become -- unconsciously or not. It surprises me though whenever I realize that I don't know myself as well as I think I do. Do you know what I mean? I'd like to think that I have quite a good grasp on the person that I am but then I catch myself doing something that I never thought I'd be capable of doing (and no, I didn't mean that in a sinister way at all). It's like I'm still in the process of getting to know myself. A neverending process, at that. Life is full of surprises... and so am I.

Over the years, I've found out quite a bit about myself. I've grown -- I'd like to think that I did. There were some years wherein I have grown faster than other years, but I've learned something all the same. Getting to know myself, I find, is like getting to know a friend. I discovered good things, and I discovered bad things. And just like getting to know someone else, there were some things that I liked about myself and there were things that I didn't.

I was one of those straight-A students who always made a beeline towards the top percentile of the class. I studied religiously, did my homework all the time, engaged in extra-curricular activities and teachers loved me. I was one of those kids that parents wanted their children to hang out with. I was, in other words, the perfect student. I finished school scraping some honors on the side and managed to form a decent collection of awards. It wasn't until I left the four walls of my last academic institution that I realized... I wasn't as smart as I thought I was. It was a rude awakening and truly a difficult one to come to terms with. I felt cheated in thinking that I had everything I need in my back pocket to survive life.

This realization eventually led to other discoveries such as the degree of my impatience, my low tolerance level for frustrations, my surprising complacency regarding financial achievements, my renewed pride in weak moments, and my right to self-entitlement. I never knew I was any of those -- until I was put in various situations that allowed me to unleash my monsters.

Getting to know myself was like getting to know someone else -- discovering the positives and the negatives. It's still a work in progress for me, though I more or less have an idea on how it's looking. However, there's one main difference about getting to know myself and getting to know a new friend. At least I know that I can do something about those negative traits that I don't like about me. Unlike being with someone else, I can't just abandon myself in pursuit of a new self. Don't we all wish that it were that easy sometimes? I have to live with myself forever -- and forever is a long time. I know I have some hiccups and nicks that I have to cure, but at least I now know which ones.

I do wonder sometimes though... if Clara were real, would she like how I turned out?

Perhaps I have those life lessons to thank for letting me find out more about myself. It's definitely true that you don't learn everything in school -- especially the most important stuff. If there was a "University of Life," I doubt that I would do as well as I did back in school. Then again, who cares? It's not like there would be any grades. It's either we pass or we fail. Seemingly simple -- but not that simple.

56 Comments:

Blogger X. Dell said...

Interesting that Clara's approval would be on your mind at all.

You were lucky in a sense. You found out that you weren't as smart as you thought. Truth is, no one is as smart as she or he thinks.

The realization, of course, comes from the fact that you grew smarter. Ironically, when we get smarter, we then realize how much you don't understand.

Incongruously, however, people are also not as stupid as they think. They have the capacity to learn more, they have talents that they never discovered. Perhaps you have found this to be true as well.

9:54 PM  
Blogger lisa q. said...

life is always a neverending learning and growing process...and thank god! i myself wouldn't have it any other way!

thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! and send your friend my way...sounds like she could use my relationship class! :)

11:41 PM  
Blogger little boxes said...

life is like that...
even i had an imaginary sister as a kid..
dont remember what i called her!
very nice piece of writing...something i greatly identify with...

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had a imaginary pal when I was little too. His name was Joey and he like the crust cut off his PB&j just like me.

Day

12:14 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Oh, this sounds all too familiar~I think everyone had an imaginary fried as a child~I think that comercial that was on tv a few years ago sums it up perfectly...
it showed a teenage girl (wild child and funky) who turned into a "serious adult" who drove an SUV or something...and the teenager self was upset that the adult "conformed"...then she saw ewho she married and she thought to herself..."maybe I didn't turn out too bad"...lol
I think life is just a series of realizations....everything we thought we knew, we found out we were wrong...I'm adding you to my blog roll, my dear...you're such a sweetie!!

12:27 AM  
Anonymous ruby said...

I love this post! I started off laughing b/c it was so cute and then at the end it really got me thinking....I hope you do like yourself and how you have turned out. Clara's approval is probably a good thing to wonder about, it gives you a moment to step back and view yourself critically...

12:37 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

my brother had an imaginary twin too! his name was kurt and he lived in germany but he would come and visit my brother every day(???) oh and kurt was fluent in german and would help my brother with his german homework. one day kurt stopped coming over because he thought that me and my sister saw him.

12:39 AM  
Blogger David Anthony said...

I think we all have imaginary friends inside of us, it's just that we don't acknowledge them. after all, if we didn't, who are we speaking to when we speak inside our heads?

I learnt a long time ago to concentrate on what I can learn from education rather than what grade I can achieve. The two do not necessarily go together at all.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Princess,

smiles... you said a lifetime of unearthing. Sometimes it takes a sudden jolt for us to realize we are not who we have pictured in our minds or even worse not who everyone told we were all our lives.

When I was young, well, it was not fun and I did not make up friends, although come to think of it. Life might have been better if I had. However, Clara seems to be a person that you needed in order to find yourself or at the very least show you who you are and what direction you are going in. Children are quite creative and are more aware than we would like to believe.

After reading several of your posts, it seems to me that you are growing, finding a new path and what a journey you are on. I am envious. It was not until I was 30 until I realized that I my life was not what everyone told me. I had become dependent on a husband and a life that I had very little say in.

Now life is different. I see clearly and am more open than I ever thought I could be. I fly free knowing that when I touch someone whether by words or hand they are left with something positive and because of that I am a better person. I place no judgment, knowing those same eyes are looking right back at me. Perhaps clara was your souls mirror, your echoed path that you found long before most do.

One more thing, perhaps the reason she still haunts you is that she is real because she is part of you, made up or not and therfore slightly nudges you when you need to look backwards in order to go forward.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Electric Bearbearina said...

I found that bit about feeling cheated really intriguing. Growing up, we were always told that we should study hard because good grades were our free ticket to - well, just about anywhere we wanted; doors open for straight-A students. Though that never made me study any harder, I really did believe that you "Pilots" were going to breeze your way through to the top. I mean, it really did make sense. Its quite an awakening to sit back and look around at everyone now. Sure, some of the honor kids are doing very well for themseves now, but not significantly more so than any of us regular kids - in fact, some of the average students and even some of the misfits are doing hell of a lot better than enyone else in the batch. I suppose grades do help, but its not the ace in the hole that we were told it was when we were kids. Hard work, connections, and sheer dumb luck carry just as much weight as a sparkling report card.
So for us, its a relief knowing that we still have a chance to do well in life in spite of our Cs and Ds but I'm sure its terribly frustrating for you guys who were always told that you would have an elevator to the top and suddenly realize that you have to elbow and push your way through all the same.

If its any consolation, the Pilots did have all the fun in high school and I'd still give my left pinky toe to have been in that class. You guys totally broke the mold of geeky nerds. In our school, the honor students were the most fun.

1:12 AM  
Blogger paddy said...

Thought provoking.
I am a little long in the tooth and I don't know myself at all what it actually means to know oneself.
I think you are absolutely enlightened and honest.
I'd like you to come to dinner, invite a few friends and have a few drinks and a good talk and a laugh....Great post
Y;-) Paddy

1:13 AM  
Blogger Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

I'm with x. dell. Do any of us ever really become growdiups? I rather doubt it - I certainly hope not..

1:43 AM  
Blogger Zee said...

stumbled upon ur blog........very nice......i think we all have alter egos......mine turned into a split i think! :)

be happy with whatever u turn out....nobody else ever will! ha! :)

1:59 AM  
Blogger meli said...

hmmmm, I don't think I'd want to live with an identical copy of myself either. It would drive me crazy.

2:36 AM  
Blogger Sinister Sally said...

nothing is ever quite as simple as it seems

3:41 AM  
Blogger Photogirl said...

I think its amazing that you are so aware of yourself and that life is a continuous journey of self-discovery. Its so easy to forget that, when dealing with the everyday ins and outs of life. Thanks for the reminder! :)

3:58 AM  
Blogger foam said...

as we become older hopefully we become wiser about our foibles, our faults, our strengths..

but trust me on this..
there's still hiccups and bumbs that you'll discover in yourself. and probably strenths that you didn't know you possessed.

life would be boring if there weren't surprises.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

I feel that same way many days. Sometimes I do sinister things that i thought I wasn't capable of. Sometimes I do wonderful things that I thought i wasn't capable of. I didn't have an imaginary twin but when I think of little me looking at me now, little me would not have been impressed. The good thing is that big me doesn't care.

5:58 AM  
Blogger Queer Ranter said...

Hmmm interesting. I never had an imaginary friend before. That explains my obsession with stuffed toys being my companions. :P

6:17 AM  
Blogger Princess of the Universe said...

I just stumbled across your blog too- this was a really interesting post.

And you're either the most introspective person I've ever "met" or you have a phenomenal therapist!

Most people don't have the courage or ability to delve that deeply into their own Psyches.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Jennifer McK said...

Most people never figure this stuff out.
I think of my life as a long lesson. Every single thing is one more step towards.......something amazing.
And the destination doesn't matter. Along the way, I've found friends, loved many and failed often.
But I'm so much more than I ever thought I'd be.
It sounds like you're having the same experience.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Lisa Francisco aka AVIANA said...

Hey Chicki!

I'm back!. Thanks for your comment. It was much appreciated!

How are you?

Well this sounds very familiar. I too had imaginary friends as a kid because I"m an only child and did not have many friends.

You will continue to learn and grow. Every so often will discover on something new about yourself you never knew existed. It will be a sweet surprise or it may not be so sweet. But the discovery itself will help you grow and find the new thing around the corner.

you are growing right in front of my eyes and i hope i'll be able to continue to view your growth....:)

P.S. I have good news! I will post tomorrow! :)

8:43 AM  
Blogger exile said...

you know, clara really has no ground to stand on with her opinions.

i mean, sure she's is a creation of yours, but she's not the one living your life. she is a spector of what you viewed your self as, but she is not who you are.

as long as your happy with your self, that's all the approval you need... but if you want someone to look at your naked pics just let us know. hehehe

11:21 AM  
Blogger nel said...

... lol ... me too ... it looks like lots of us having a imaginary friend. The problem with mine is my imaginary friend don't have a name. I never really thought of given him a name, but this copy is unique. It does remind me of the movie "Beautiful Mind -- He Saw The World In A Way No One Could Have Imagined", directed by Ron Howard and casted by Russell Crowe ... me, myself and I.

Another thing about learning, the world changes every second, epecially in technology and science these days. Even in business, people use to only have a long term business plan, but these days short term is very much needed as well. A volatile world and unexpected changes we have to live in today's world. Much faster thesedays comparing to the past.

I have went through phases that I needed to adapt -- Survival.

Again, great post, Princess. Really enjoy coming here. Cheers and have a great day ahead everyone ... :)

11:23 AM  
Blogger lemonade said...

you know..ur one of the only bloggers who actually makes me think..that post was pretty damn eye opening..

but have u noticed that people who have grown up being the best at what they do,find it extremely hard to change..and they try to convince themselves that they are right even when they know deep down that they're probably not...

12:51 PM  
Blogger Aditi said...

perceptions shape a lot of things and its odd and strange yet true that the way we perceive ourselves isnt the way the world perceives us.Quite well written.. and i almost wondered would clara have turned out the same? or would she have been drastically different highlightin the road not taken perhaps?

3:31 PM  
Blogger thisisme said...

Wow - a very thought provoking post. I never had an imaginary friend (although it looks like I'm in the minority there). It is interesting the ways that we can find to judge ourselves.

4:58 PM  
Blogger fifi said...

Wow, what an interesting person you are.

I always wished for a twin, because then all my little weirdnesses would be understood by someone and we could talk about them.

Such a high achiever. There are two of those in our family, and two who sort of aren't.

learning about yourself is never ending. I realised a lifelong habit of mine recently- weird.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

I had an imaginary dog - I dressed her in different coloured collars and we romped imaginatively. I guess I always liked the idea of being adored.

Great blog! :-)

Puss

7:42 PM  
Blogger Crashdummie said...

Wow, that was deep. As you write, it’s a neverending process trying to figure one out, and this has been haunting people for ages. The sign to the oracle of Delphi read “Know thyself” which even they realized, is a quest itself.

Just wondering, how did your family react on Clara’s sudden appearance and fast exit? Freud would have made helluva money from this.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Princess Extraordinaire said...

Life is a never endig process of getting to know our true selves - perhaps Clara was incorporated into your life to serve as a reminder of just how amazing you really are...

8:56 PM  
Blogger Anu said...

hmmm "INTROSPECTION"! somethin thats actually takes a lot of courage...

We judge so many other people every single day but judging ourselves is somethin we seldom do coz according to us we r pretty perfect versions of who we r...

i admire the fact that you have not only tried to look at the person you have become with an impartial view but also come up with shortcomings that none of us acknowledge to posses

Good one!!! inspiring in a way !

9:05 PM  
Blogger Trée said...

PB, wonderful post. You touch upon, I think, a universal experience, or, I suppose I should only speak for myself, but an experience I have had, namely, that others often reflect to me bits and pieces of myself, that they saw clearly, always had, but that until they threw it in my face one day, I never knew to be true about me. I call it the "mirror effect."

All the best,

T

9:20 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Popped over from a comment on Alicia Key's poetry performance and glad I did. I too at times think what my younger self would think of how I have led our life. Continual introspection shows a commitment to keeping it real. I have always "thought" about myself so I am confident I know who I am, the trouble is not getting stuck in a box of my own perceptions.
On Alicia Key's performance I also enjoyed it but found the ending (not the poem, mind you) a bit over the top. Her poem is so personal and she is admitting her vulnerability and perhaps it made her more comfortable to address it strongly. Poetry is so very personal perhaps more so than songwriting and singing. I had never seen that side of Alicia and was glad I did. It was also the first time I've seen her without braids.

I appreciate your visit and taking the time to comment.

Be well and enjoy the day.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Violet said...

i also had an imaginary friend. his name was "jada" and he was a miniature native american that lived under my bed. actually, there was a whole little village that lived under there, but jada was the only one that was my friend. at night, when i was trying to sleep, i could hear them beating their war drums - - i learned later that this was actually just my own pulse in my ears.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Behind Blue Eyes said...

I entertained the idea of an imaginary friend, but decided that I would rather experiment with having multiple personality disorder. I made up all sorts of interesting ones and had a chance to role-play as well. But it didn't last long either. My daughter is a perfectionist like you describe. She gets very good grades and they put her in the honors program. She also has trouble making a decision if she thinks that she could be wrong and gets really bent out of shape when she is. She used to cry though now she is better. I guess that it was such a problem that the teacher consulted with the school psycholigist about it and was told that this is very common with bright children. Somehow some of the things that you said made me think of that.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous clara said...

I feel so guilty sometimes sounding like the harsh teacher or judger but know that it is what I sense or feel like doing-saying. I never meant to hurt you or anyone I hope you didn´t either, yet I think we have both hurt ourselves in the process. You keep on coming to my mind. This is taking me using all of the inner strength I own so that I keep my sanity, my high spirit, my hope and positivity. I don´t know If I was really prepared for something like this or not, neither if anyone ever is or was. This is borderline mad, yet I know deep inside of me it is perhaps more real than my eating cookies for breakfast this morning. I feel you. I forgive you. I love you. I´m here and you can count on me, always, unconditionally, I believe I have already passed that test. When you see all of a person in their nakedness with all thier imperfections and you love that person, with their imperfections and for them, that´s when you know someone has touched your soul and has entered your heart. I am far from perfect myself, we are all here learning to fly. I choose to fly high, then again and again.

11:38 PM  
Blogger ThanKwee said...

In the University of Life, I fail, then try again, then pass, then fail again, then learn a few lessons and then pass, and then fail and on and on and on..

I never had an imaginary friend, but if I did and she was here, what would she think? She'd probably just roll her eyes and laugh.

Another thought-provoking post PrincessB.

** In fact, she'd be rolling her eyes right now! It always takes me about two or three tries to get the word verification thingie right.. Maybe I need to go back and study the alphabet or something!

11:57 PM  
Blogger Lucid Darkness said...

Yes, you have to live with yourself forever. And that can be hard, very hard indeed, if you don't like yourself. Frankly, I actually wonder whether anyone honestly likes herself/himself.

Life is the best teacher. You only discover the true depths of your character (or the lact of it) when you're placed in different situations. Don't you find that you surprise yourself on many occasions?

Tha problem lies is forgiving yourself for 'being flawed' and not living up to your own expectations fo yourself... not those of people around you. When you find that you're not measuring up to that 'perfect' image that you had, you wonder what in the world you are doing with yourself.

"It's definitely true that you don't learn everything in school -- especially the most important stuff."
I can't say that I completely agree with that statement. I suppose you're speaking of the academic lessons at school or the games and sports people usually participate in, right? The thing is, with me, it's been a bit different. It was in school that I realised that being the 'perfect student' and an 'all-rounder' doesn't hold much value unless you know these things:

a. In general, people don't like being told unpleasant truths to their faces. They prefer having things 'sugar-coated'. Brutal honesty will get you nowhere if you have work as a team. Political correctness, however, will.

b. A majority of people in the world are incompetent and they would rather die than admit it to themselves. But when you have a task at hand, you have to make these very people work with you to get the job done.

c. You are not perfect, but you can at least try to be that. Brutal honestly is essential when it comes to dealing with yourself, along with the humilty to admit that you can also be wrong, and taking positive steps towards self-improvement.

I didn't directly learn these things out of textbooks. However, interacting with my peers and my teachers (who also turned out to be flawed beings) shook me out of the cocoon which spelt that 'adults know best' and 'adults are perfect'. I experienced my disillusionment in school itself. While I might sound cynical and bitter, and might have some unpleasant memories, I'm glad that I've understood these things now. Being the naive idiot that I am, I'd have blindly and idealistically trusted the whole world otherwise and have been equally clueless about my own shortcomings.


I love reading your posts! They show a certain clarity of thought that I find interesting and admirable. :)

PS: I liked talking to myself as a kid ... and I still indulge in the habit.

1:04 AM  
Blogger The Black King said...

Wow... simply beautiful post! The way you portray your evolution from being the 'best' girl in the class to the realisation that there are better people around is something that touches a chord in me and I know exactly what you mean. Thanks for the post!

7:40 AM  
Blogger Sling said...

I always felt like an observer of my own life.
I think I'm the imaginary friend of someone who's highly nuerotic.

10:18 AM  
Blogger William said...

Pass or Fail in life? We all have our own standards. As long as we are satisfied with where we are and who we are there'd be a less problems in our lives.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Lucid Darkness said...

By the way, may I please link your blog to mine? :) *stares expectantly*

1:05 PM  
Blogger KAYLEE said...

THIS SOUNDS FAMILAR! I had an imaginary friend like this about 7-8 years ago(im 15 now)LOL!She wasnt my twin but,I am lucky enough to be a twin in real life :D

BY the way,can I link your blog on mine?:)

1:41 PM  
Blogger Smalltown RN said...

First off...thank you for visiting my blog the other day.....just curious as to how you found me?

What a reflective post on who you are and how you got to the place you are in today, Life the continued self discovery of who we are...

Cheers!

6:08 PM  
Blogger falcon116 said...

I never had any imaginary friend when I was little. But I used to imagine my self as Wonder Woman...Imagine climbing up a tree and jumping off about 8 metres high then realising I'm a mere mortal upon hitting the ground...

It's good to imagine things, makes you creative in a way, and makes you realise things aren't always what they seem.

Thanks for dropping by. I like your site and I will be back again.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Clara only inhabited my imagination for a grand total of four days because I decided that we didn't get along very well.

LOL! Sounds like me and my brother! Thanks for visiting my blog this week! Hugs.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Sigma said...

Very interesting post. Introspection does bring out a lot of questions, apart from making us aware of ourselves, and (perhaps) equipping us better to deal with the world around us, isn't it.

And as for the last question - would Clara approve of how you have turned out - now Clara was exactly like you, in terms of physical as well as behavioral attributes, so it would be logical to presume that her reasoning would follow your thought process. So, her answer to question would be same as what you think it is. Voila! QED. :-D

1:52 AM  
Blogger The Exception said...

I wonder if we ever stop learning about ourselves? I wonder if I want to learn everything about myself actually - not because I am afraid of something I might discover but because once everything is known, does the experience of learning and living and trying new things diminish?

I love the adventure of discovering myself through external adventures or challenges - but also the changes that occur in me as I age or gain maturity.

I an a map that continues to evolve in detail and unfold through age and experience.

2:30 AM  
Blogger samrina said...

Discovery of yourself is an on going process that can never be ended everyday we learn new thing...

Thnx for dropping by at my blog :)

Take care

4:41 AM  
Blogger nel said...

Ok, where is Clara?! Princess, does she knows that you are talking behind her back? Bad, bad Princess ... heh, heh ... ;P

2:46 PM  
Blogger phishez_rule said...

I think we are constantly learning about ourselves. About our judgments and limitations. And through all of our experiences we change and develop to suit our new surroundings.

Ultimately, you are Clara. How do you feel about how you've turned out?

6:20 PM  
Blogger mathew said...

terrific write lady..just gets me wondering if a alter ego of mine really exists!!

7:13 PM  
Blogger LADY LUXIE said...

um'...err...why name her Clara?..Why not Claire..or Stephanie?...

My aunt's name was Clara..She had this thing about always having to be disinfected..she took care of a lot of ducks who at one time attacked me all simultaneously...

That name Clara brought the mem'ries back hu! hu!

Ah'...we go through what I would say stages of development...when a crises occurs..when sadness comes in..when melancholy whispers...those are points of beauty where we begin to really know the "me"...

It's a magical moment...

And I think Clara would like you...I do...And its nice that you had an imaginary friends even for just four days...

I remember when I was 7...my best friend Cynthia had an imaginary friend Genie..who rides magic carpets..Well..Cynthia would always tell me about the fun they have
..you know..cruisin' in the carpet..just chillin' in the night...

well one day I told her ( okay beg)to take me for a spin..she goes "ah'..wait for me tonight"...

soooooooo..what does a cute 7 year old Luxie do?..um'...she waits...and waits...and waiiiiiiits...snooks!..

Imagine that!

8:10 PM  
Blogger Living On Video said...

"I do wonder sometimes though... if Clara were real, would she like how I turned out?"

Would you care after a point, and maybe after all, you wouldn't even like the real, her.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Princess Stefania said...

Thought provoking, as all your posts are.

I had an imaginary friend named Robin, when I was five. He was the one who broke the china dishes, scribbled on walls and gave me permission to eat half a chocolate cake.
Wonder what he's up to now.

3:11 PM  

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