Shadow Selves

The term “shadow self” often brings to mind the darker aspects of one’s personality, but the other day, I was introduced to a new perspective on this. As I was walking in the park on a brilliant sunny afternoon, I saw a little girl dancing with her shadow. Watching her own silhouette the entire time, she pirouetted down the macadam path, flung her arms open wide, spun around once more, dropped to one knee in a grand flourish, then quickly popped up for a curtsey – truly a grand performance.

As quickly as her dance routine was over, she began to create another persona for her shadow; her dancer quickly metamorphosed into a broad-winged butterfly, arms fluttering like delicate wings. Within seconds, the graceful butterfly became a fierce lion, hands and fingers transformed into a gaping jaw replete with ten ominous fangs. A quick shift of the hands, and the shadow lion was now a regal queen with an impressive crown.

I marveled at how effortlessly the girl’s shadow shifted into different identities, limited only by imagination and sunshine. Could it be that our shadow selves are not necessarily our less desirable personas, but simply varied aspects of our personalities? Or are they apparitions of our aspirations – prima ballerina, graceful butterfly, courageous lion, the royal class? Who would we be if we were unencumbered by our biological, dimensional, and obligatory parameters?

Who are your shadow selves?

Article by LYDIA GNAU 
Illustration courtesy of ROSALIE STREET
Rosalie Street has been working as a freelance illustrator and artist since 1998, mainly focusing on children’s books and editorial illustrations. Her background training was in Fashion Design at RMIT and Theatre Design at NIDA. She currently works from her home studio on the Mornington Peninsula, Australia, where she resides with her husband, young children and a dog named Marlo.

You can view her folio at www.rosaliestreet.com


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