A year ago, I had this crazy idea of creating an online persona. I was going through one of these phases where I hate myself and wish I was somebody else, when I realised that with the internet I could be someone else. Nobody would know it wasn’t true.
I’d create a character for myself, the person I’d love to be. She’d be beautiful, stylish, elegant, classy, smart, sensitive… I could dye my hair, photoshop my face, use a pen name. There were no limits to whom I could pretend to be. I mean, obviously I couldn’t pretend to be famous or anything, but… I wouldn’t want that anyway.
The name I chose for her was Ida. It’s made up the 3 central letters of my full name. If I was to make it big or get found out as a “fraud”, I could say cool stuff like “Ida is my core self”.
She would be a writer. Not a famous one, just… a surviving one. Ghostwriter, maybe? That would explain why her name couldn’t be found anywhere. She’d be driven, she’d know how to get things done, unlike me. She wouldn’t bother with countless hobbies like I do, either. She’d be writing, reading… maybe just… playing piano in her free time (I do play a little).
She’d be 30 something and have written several books. She wouldn’t let herself get sidetracked. She’d be quite assertive, too. And a businesswoman, out of necessity.
Her beauty routine would be psychotically perfect: she’d exercise 6 days a week, eat healthily, keep a steady weight all year long. She’d take excellent care of her skin, paint her nails, go the beauty parlour every week. Her house would be clean, her garden well-groomed.
Oh, but she’d have to have a few faults, or else she’d look superhuman. So… I guess… uh… well, she’d be a perfectionist like me. And then… wait, I gave her too many qualities, she looks like a freaking Disney princess. She wouldn’t be assertive; she’d be a shyish introvert like myself. And she wouldn’t be so pretty. It’d be a bother to heavily photoshop all of my pictures anyway. There is no need for a writer to be model-pretty.
That’s when I realised the beauty to die for was the only unachievable characteristic – that is without surgery and time-consuming daily routines. Nothing was keeping me from becoming that person. I could take better care of myself. I could give up those hobbies that didn’t make me feel like I was doing anything of value.
Ida became me. I was fine with it; I was good enough. I already was who I wanted to be, all that was missing was a clear path to follow.
Then, gradually, I became more like the original Ida. I became more driven; I wrote two first drafts; I gave up all the extra hobbies I could; I even started going to the beauty parlour every few weeks. I still gain weight in the winter to lose in the spring; my house is still messy most of the time; my lawn is half grass, half dandelions. It’s fine. People gotta have faults, hey?
Becoming a surviving writer might never be possible. It doesn’t matter, being a struggling writer is good enough.
Who would have thought I’d have to create a fake identity to find my true identity?
Just be yourself. Let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful, magical person that your are.
– Mandy Hale