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My Alter Ego

A formal introduction

When I was younger, we spent our Sundays together. After about 7 PM, the little girl would emerge from my room (we lived together, by the way). She would drag her feet into my kitchen- knowing she’d find my parents- tilt her head back, eyes to the ceiling, and take a deep breath. Then came her trademark: she wailed “Emotional Jenna” (many A’s attached to the end), burst into tears, and collapsed into my father’s arms. It was our own sweet, amusing routine.

It sounds odd, but there is a lot about my life that I don’t remember. I’ll put it this way--I know that I spent many (emotional) Sunday nights studying at my childhood desk. I know that I have traveled, played instruments, read, loved, and been loved.

Yet, things often feel like a blur to me--like I was never really there. Maybe it’s a lack of presence- which I am working on, in any case- but I think I simply recognize the familiarity of feelings more than I remember images.

I mention Emotional Jenna because I frequently forget about her, too. Still, on my slower Sundays, I sometimes want nothing more than for my parents to hold me while I cry (for no good reason)-- I then remember Emotional Jenna because I feel her.

The acceptance of my emotions, which took growing into, provides me with her traits all the time--vulnerability is not solely Emotional Jenna’s … It's “regular” Jenna’s, too. I no longer announce her (frankly, because I’m 19 years old and don’t usually refer to myself in the third person, but also) because I am her all the time.

I think about my discomfort with rejection a lot. Maybe I’m lucky, a hopeless over-preparer, or divinely favored, but I am learning that my lack of experience with rejection encourages me to avoid its possibility. And, thus, I find that I’m especially rattled when turned away--in applications, relationships, and intentions.

It strikes me more each day that I am no longer a little girl surrounded by people who embrace everything about me-- all the Emotional, Honest, Naive, Compassionate versions of myself. Competition and complication are now very real parts of my life, and maybe I was the only one who didn’t know that they are expected.

Perhaps an alter ego could compliment my work towards handling rejection. I have yet to come up with a name- and Emotional Jenna is tough to beat- but it’s a start to incorporating her fearlessness and risk-taking into “regular” Jenna.

Like anything else, we’ll never become “good” at rejection unless we practice it. And, the best opportunities are those unthethered from fear. So yes, an alter ego is an unusual concept…but it worked for Superman, didn’t it?

1 Comment

Hana Diaz
Hana Diaz
Sep 29, 2022

emotional jenna>> 🎀 a beautiful and very true message as always!

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