I took a creative class once, and one of our assignments was to draw a self-portrait. I held up a mirror, laying down what I saw, the lines, shades, colors, and their relationships with each other. I had a fun time. When all was done, I couldn’t wait to see my masterpiece. “Is this me?!” I was astonished by what I saw, not because of my semi-Picasso style, but because of the split personalities that emerged from the paper, right in front of my eyes.
The right side of the face was youthful, beautiful and smiling; the left side looked old, tired and sad. “Wow. Is that how I see myself?” I was told that our unconscious speaks in metaphor and imagery, and that creative drawings and writings were often used as ways to get in touch with our unconscious. I couldn’t help but wonder if my self-portrait was speaking to me about the two dominant personalities that I experienced each month.
For the most part, I was a happy girl – calm, loving, optimistic. But during certain days of the month, I felt seized by a completely different personality. Sometimes I felt overpowered by sadness, sometimes by irritation and anger. The intensity sometimes shocked me into deep shame and guilt. Why was I feeling this way? Was there something wrong with me? When the two personalities were at war, usually about 7-10 days before my period arrived, the bad girl often won the battle. The good girl was defeated, and that made her sad and angry. She then gave in to the bad girl, for a while any way.
Do you have similar experiences – an alter ego sometimes at war with your better self? Over the years, I have come to realize that they are not really separate from one another. Resisting and fighting the alter ego is not the solution. It often represents the inner child within us that needs attention, care, and love. And this is the journey within, to shed light onto our inner shadows, bringing them to life and to love.
In many ancient traditions, women came together in menstrual tents, sharing tales and stories, bonding with one another. I am writing a series of blogs to share my experiences and what I have learned. I call it “The Little Red Tent.” I hope you’ll join me, and share your feelings, stories and lessons. Together, we can support one another on our journey to experience more joy, love and peace from within.