An alter ego might just be what you need

Design: Mrittika Anan Rahman

The process of sculpting a personality is tricky and convoluted since we are taught to permanently instil in ourselves traits such as sociability, charisma and panache that are deemed universally likeable and useful when it comes to standing out from all the seeming lookalikes in life's cortège.

We are all essentially hyper realistic cake versions of ourselves, with layers of self-consciousness, insecurities, doubts and diffidence concealed.

An alter ego is a powerful tool when wielded properly, and can work wonders during anxiety inducing scenarios. It is a deliberately created artificial personality which enables one to be detached from one's original self. The harshness of reality might snub our zeal to do something out of the ordinary, but with a finely groomed alter ego, rebuffs and failures can be faced without feeling too dejected.

When the fear of being judged and the gripping hands of apprehension no longer exist, it becomes easier for us to perform well and muster the courage to step outside our bailiwicks. Peter Parker's powers would have been wasted had he not utilised them through the guise of Spiderman. Where would Bruce Wayne be without his Batman persona?

Apart from these fictional instances, David Bowie must definitely be cited for his repertoire of alter egos: Ziggy Stardust, the androgynous alien rockstar or the swaddled Blind Prophet – these personas immortalised Bowie as one of the most influential artists of all time. Sasha Fierce is the self-confident side that Beyoncé limns on the stage. Shod in stilettos and with an altered posture and speaking style, Sasha possesses Beyoncé whenever she's nervous, making her performances unforgettable.

Rebecca writer Daphne du Maurier's male façade Eric Avon facilitated her to undertake ventures which were prohibited to her owing to her gender. Camille is the album in which Prince introduced us to his female alter ego, Camille. And how can anyone not love Sacha Baron Cohen's sensational Ali G?

A question now lingers mid-air: does this elaborate role playing work? The existence of an alter ego provides a person with the opportunity to practice an extreme form of self-distancing. When sequestered from ourselves, it becomes easier for us to step back and look at circumstances in a more neutral and rational light. We remain unaffected amid uncalled for situations.

The prolonged pretension demanded by an alter ego ultimately affects the person using it. The pseudo ego infuses its traits into the original self and transmutes it. However, it is necessary to remain wary so as not to get too carried away like Bowie with his Thin White Duke, the theatrical Pierrot entity who uttered fascist remarks and abused substances.

So, the next time you feel skittish when life throws curveballs at you, summon your alter ego and face them with your best foot forward.

Reference (August 18, 2020). The 'Batman Effect': How having an alter ego empowers you

Mastura wallows in despair because she can never be friends with River Phoenix. Console her at [email protected]