The Beauty in the Alter Ego

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I have an alter ego. No. Better yet, I have a few. A few weeks ago, I posted a photo on Instagram that somewhat picked at the heart of my struggle between them all– well, this is the full fledged detailing.

There’s the Dara who’s this supposedly ambitious computer scientist trying to create the next big thing in the tech world, who wakes up to daily Tech Crunch feeds and finds joy in sharing her passion for telling the computer what to do and having it actually do it. Who can spend 30+ straight hours coding given a few espresso shots and who sheds tears when her lines of syntactical rubbish actually work. Who also hides her femininity so she doesn’t appear different from her colleagues. Then there’s the girl who doesn’t believe in day jobs and wants to live life traveling the globe taking pictures of everything and everyone. Who writes down quotes and ideas and random musings in a cliche moleskine notebook. Who’d rather use a series of “and’s” instead of commas and who puts spaces before the last period just for the sake of breaking grammatical rules. Who can imagine life in a minimalistic studio in New York working as a fashion photographer. Who loves creating and art and words. She’s the avid reader, the muse, the creative, the modern day definition of a hipster flower child. Then there’s the other, sometimes jokingly referred to as Darbie, who’s not the hipster, not the nerd, but rather somewhat of a diva. The girl who pours over fashion blogs and can spend hours shopping online on the hunt for the outfit she’d imagined in her mind. Who’d describe her favorite colors as Brink Pink and Mint. Who finds confidence in her strut while she’s wearing a pair of bomb heels. The girl who loves her lipsticks whether purple or deep red, even a little bit of orange from time to time.

I’d always hated the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?

Why the heck do I have to pick?

For the past couple of years I’d always thought that these identities had to be unique and separate. I experienced what it felt like to walk into my Algorithms class all dressed up (hair, nails, everything done) and not be taken seriously by some of my ignorant world of warcraft playing peers. I think that’s what my Instagram post was really getting to the heart of. I’d forever struggled with these different passions and where or how they could or could not overlap. Even my three personal websites each tell a different story. There’s my self-titled site which beckons the tale of a young undergrad techie, then there’s the photography portfolio containing my journey to achieving that Vogue editorial dream. Then there’s this little plot on the web, which is now (finally) in someway interweaving all of them together. That had a large part to play in why this blog is less about style, beauty, and whatever else — those only told part of whole story. And as much as those parts are still significant, I didn’t want to look back on my blog in a few years and only remember what I wore, I also wanted to know how I felt and thought.

I’m going to credit a lot of things over these next few years to the fact that I am now in my twenties. Starting with this: the blurring of those lines. I feel less conflicted over the fact that I have different passions. I realize that I was trying to fit the basic portrait of how I thought people who did this or that were supposed to be. I was fighting the very things that made me unique.

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to my older brother about this and I knew I would eventually quote his wisdom. His words:

“All your alter egos reside together in your heart and your brain. They together encompass you and make you who you are; there’s nothing more harmful than separating them”.

Find the beauty in your alter egos. Your craziness and your sanity. Your unconventional essence that makes you, you. I’m finally finding the beauty in mine.