It’s storming. I’m tossing and turning. Vulnerable not being able to wake up I wonder if I’m really dreaming. I must be though, I can see myself laying on the bed and my other self is hovering about me. We make eye contact and as if baffled by the other’s presence we reach out our hand. As we are about to meet the half way mark, dimensions collapse, time whimsically dances and I am brought back to reality with my heart beating in my throat.
I look around me to assess the situation. I’m awake now, all alone in my bed with the wind whispering into my ears. I close the shuddering windows and curtains. The storm must have caused the nightmare or is it something else? Was my alter ego Goldi trying to tell me something? Was she tired of being kept hidden in my consciousness? I got up and googled Alter Ego. Wikipedia, well it’s not the most reliable source but heck it’s too early to get all academic. Wikipedia defines alter ego as such:
An alter ego (Latin, “the other I”) is a second self, which is believed to be distinct from a person’s normal or original personality. A person who has an alter ego is said to lead a double life. The term appeared in common usage in the early 19th century when dissociative identity disorder was first described by psychologists. Cicero was the first to coin the term as part of his philosophical construct in 1st century Rome, but he described it as “a second self, a trusted friend”.
Hmmm, interesting. I skip to the last paragraph:
Alter ego is also used to refer to the different behaviors any person may display in certain situations.
My mind wanders to the exact situation when I first noticed Goldi surface. I was working an office job as a ‘responsible adult’ should be. I was the only black woman in the office besides the tea lady of course. The corporate world is not meant to be easy but for us black girls it is especially so. My experience, education and hard work meant nothing to that company. I remember giving my clueless project manager insight on a task I was researching that contradicted what she wanted me to put into action. You know what she told me in her posh English accent? I don’t care what you think, you are here to do what I tell you to do! My position had been reduced to using my computer skills- type type- type- space- record; and not my mind.
I mean I have heard about this sort of thing happening before where eqaul opportunities within companies for both races were not quite equal. A friend of mine shared her story with me. She interned at an advertising agency along with a white girl at the same time. She found herself always doing the photocopying, fetching deliveries; while Karen received in-depth mentoring and valuable tasks from their supervisor. When Nikiwe asked for mind stimulating tasks she was told Karen was handling it since she took long with the deliveries or some other excuse that kept Nikiwe from excelling as much as Karen was.
I realised that like many young women in my position I was filling a quota, the BEE quota (Broad Based Black Economic Empoyment). I was black, tick, young and skilled, tick, and a woman, tick tick tick. This made for a very good image for the company. All they had to do is employ me, in their minds their not obligated to grow me.
So what happened with this realisation you may ask? Goldi came to rescue me, I was losing control of everything as I knew it. At that point work was my whole life, I was overworked and under paid. I didn’t have time for my friends, family nor did I have time for myself. I decided to give back to myself.
I went looking for a salon that catered for both ethnic and white hair. This was very important for me because I wanted someone who understood my hair and what I wanted to do to it. This was a big step because at this point I decided (or Goldi did) that I was going to colour my locks pale blonde.
I finally found a salon in Rondesbosch. The owner of the salon told me about the dangers of colouring my hair that light as I had virgin black coloured hair.
“Skat, I don’t want to lie I am a professional. Your hair might fall out. I am not prepared to do this if you are not completely sure.”
The plan was never to colour all my hair just a few of the front locks. I had decided I wanted to do it.
“I’ll do it, I’m sure this is what I want.”
“Are you sure? I’ll have to strip the colour with Peroxide which will make you hair weak. Then after that I’ll have to put the dye you chose on the chart for another 2 hours and that will make your hair even more weaker.”
“This is what I want. Do it.”
She shook her head at me and 3 hours later Goldilox was born. To be honest it was the most empowering thing I had done for myself in a long time. My confidence grew back and with it a bold decision, I was leaving that company. I did it through the right channels and left with my dignity still in tact. I realised that when pushed sometimes our true selves emerge and either you will sink or swim. Inside I was a wreck but Goldi or the true me would not let me buckle, I decided to swim. This is the real world and young black girl you need to be tough.
I wondered why Goldi came to me in the nightmare. Was she trying to tell me something? Maybe she or I am feeling stifled in some sense and need to do something about it. Getting the new look made me feel good the last time, maybe I need a little pampering.
Yes this was the answer. I got ready to go buy a few items at the pharmacy. Let’s see, so I need to do my nails, exfoliate my face, and shave my legs. So I bought Cherry coloured nail polish, an exfoliating mask and some shaving sticks. On my way back home, I glanced at a waxing beauty palour. Curious as Goldi is I stepped inside. I was greeted by a young woman about my age.
“Hello. Can assist you with anything?”
“I’m just browsing.”
I grabbed one of their pamphlets that outlined their services
- Eyebrow waxing
- Intimate waxing
“Excuse me, what is Intimate waxing?”
“In short, we groom your naughty bits.”
“We are running a special today especially for that you know.”
I didn’t need to hear the rest Goldi was in need of some grooming.
I would love to say that the procedure was simple and pain-free, but heck it’s crazy to endure so much pain for a part of the body that hardly sees the morning sun or anyone for that matter. Although, my vag did look a lot better I suppose. They say curiousity killed the cat but they also say a cat has 9 lives, meow.
I was feeling sexy and confident as I walked down the street, flicking my hair enjoying the breeze in many ways. Next I had to take care of my face and nails. Whoever said Me-Time is a waste of time had never experienced such pleasure. By the time I was done it was 22:30. I looked all dolled up with nowhere to go. It was too late to call up a girlfriend and honestly I was feeling bold enough to go out on my own. So I got dressed in my black little number and gorgoeus stilletos. I hardly wear heels living in Cape Town and all but tonight I was going to a club that deserved the appearance of these beauties.
The cab picks me up and drops me off in Camps Bay. Dateless I enter like a goddess. I head straight to the bathroom to touch up my lipstick and on my way out I collide into a guy.
“Oh sorry doll face.”
“No it was my fault I couldn’t see where I was going with flashing lights in my eyes.” I apologetically say.
“I lurrrve those shoes. Are they from Nine West?”
“How Splendid, lovey. I must get you a drink for looking so fabulous.”
He said fabulous he must be gay. I did not mind the invite and gay guys know how to compliment a girl so I agreed. We order drinks. I look up and recognise a face in the VIP section. It’s him, the guy I met at 169. I smiled but that quickly changed when I saw him kissing some girl. The music becomes louder in my ears,my heart races, I turn around and downed my drink and ordered shots.
“Ooh girl, slow down the night is still young.”
“What’s your name again?”
“Well Brian, tonight my inner Goldi is out and we’re gonna have fun.”
“I like the sound of that doll.”
We danced hard and drank harder. I was burning plastic and getting intoxicated by the moment. As I was thinking about my mysterious guy, Brian comes in between my tequila and my lips. A stolen kiss by a gay guy? Oh so I thought he was.
“Let’s go home Goldi.”
Do you consider your alter ego troublesome or a hero in some situation in your life?