I don't know why I'm finding this week's prompt such a challenge; I've had secret identities all my life. Just this morning I mentioned to my mom that when I was much younger, I used to be convinced that I was adopted--and what pre-adolescent girl hasn't, especially ones who, like me, looked nothing like any of their immediate family at that point--and actually used to hope that this was true. Not only because it was somehow romantic, like something I would read in a library book, but also because, frankly, it would have explained a hell of a lot about the first 20 years or so of my life. Now, of course, I know better, because it's becoming more and more obvious that I am simultaneously turning into the weirdest parts of each of my parents, not to mention that as I age, more and more people tell me I look just like my dad. Which, come to think of it, is a little disconcerting, since the most common assessment of my mother is "stunning" (or, as one of my hipper friends put it several years ago, "Kid, you're all right....but your mom is smokin'...")
Anyway, in addition to planting the theme song from "Secret.....Aaaaaa-gent Man!" in my cranium in a continuous loop (thanks a lot, Meg and Laini), this week's topic has got me going in circles. In case you can't tell. I remember one journal entry from about eight years ago, my first attempt at navigating the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, in which I explored all the possible alternatives to my current life. The journal itself is presently in storage (along with just about everything else I own), but I remember several lines, that echo through my head at odd moments:
...rock star, lesbian, firefighter, I would swim with dolphins. Artist, explorer, missionary, monk. Small white flower. I would climb mountains. I would come back as a writer again and again...
That's pretty telling, that last line. Maybe that's the secret to my secret identity. Look at anything I've ever written, and you'll find me there. From the first novel I ever finished to the one I'm currently thrashing around lost in, somewhere around page 140 (and don't get me started on that). Each one of those characters is me. Annie, her dead sons, lost David, even lonely wolf-pup Durango--they're all me. Even Tilly (remember Tilly?) She's me too. The freight train always off in the distance: me. And yet, each of them is their own distinct selves by now, too. Some of them do things I would never dream of....except I did.
My therapist, too, has uncovered many secret identities of me, some of which I was startled to find out I even had. (And I'm not talking about the rose dewy knickers kind, either, exactly.) And it's stunning, when I'm in therapy, stretched out on the couch with my eyes closed, in my "safe room", trotting out all the different aspects of my personality, because some of them are nearly identical to some of the characters I've created. And some of them are just.....well, weird. I mean, that three-inch long electric lime-greem glow worm? Ash and the Naked Lady? Frog Baby?? Far out.
And she tells me this is normal, and that they're all supposed to be in there. But sometimes it seems awful crowded.