Wednesday, March 4, 2020

March 2020 IWSG: Bye-Bye, Balance

I'm not good with balance, literal and otherwise. As a kid, I was the little girl in dance class who flailed then tipped over. I once ate so much fruit cocktail I broke out in hives. (Yes, I know. Not chocolate cake. Not ice cream. Fruit. Cocktail.) I read my Little House on the Prairie books one right after the other then started over again until they literally fell apart in my hands. 

I was actually pretty happy doing my own thing. (Okay, maybe not so much with the hives.) So, as a younger adult, I purposely made life choices that let me do just that. 

But I often found myself doubting, floundering, feeling like I had little to no emotional support or understanding. I craved balance which, in my world, gave me a sense of approval, normalcy, safety. When I achieved it, I was relieved . . . but also deeply disquieted. 

See, I didn't really want balance. I spent so much energy on finding it and trying to hold onto it I had nothing left for the life I truly wanted. The more balanced I became, the less of myself I became.

"I think balance is for people 
who don't know why they're here." 
(Blake Crouch, Recursion)

For me, balance wasn't about stability; it was about fear. I believe balance kept me from being and doing my best. (Of course, everyone is different, and if balance helps you then go for it! You do you!)  

It'll be a process, this "unbalancing" of myself. Some people, like my husband, will cheer me on, while others won't approve. (So what else is new?) I look forward to meeting myself again in my writing and in my life. I just hope I recognize her. 


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62 comments:

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

What an interesting perspective! It's kinda like those rubber exercise bands. (Now, bear with me... HA) If the bands are taut and offer a lot of resistance, the person using them gets the needed exercise. If they're lax and accommodating? Not so much. You obviously need life to "push back" a little to feel like you're accomplishing something and being the real you. We're often more comfortable with the striving than we are with the arriving. Good luck with your new approach. I hope it helps you find your new center of balance.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Susan! I'm thinking being "unbalanced" actually equals being balanced for me. If that makes any sort of sense. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Embrace the unbalance and all that is you!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm trying! :)

Tamara Narayan said...

I have this crazy notion that I should be able to balance writing, home maintenance, and exercise (and in the warmer months, yard work). It never happens. I can do at most two and so something falls to the wayside. I beat myself up about whatever is being neglected. Oh well. But I never give up reading. Or chocolate. Gotta have priorities.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

The beating ourselves up is the part that needs to go by the wayside. We can only do so much!

And yes on the reading and the chocolate. :)

Jacqui Murray said...

Really interesting discussion on this. I will remember it.

David Powers King said...

Balance can be overrated at times. I mean, once you find it you have to step forward again, right? :)

Yolanda Renée said...

If I'd ever had balance in my life I might miss it. Instead I take meclizine and I'm still off balance, in more ways than one!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jacqui.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Exactly! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Once you find your groove, stick with it! You are the only you! And you rock!
On an odd side note with that, I remembered being fit as a kid and started thinking about my way of life then - I only ate PB and J sandwiches for lunch, climbed trees, rode.my bike, and just enjoyed life. So I'm bringing that back. Not the tree climbing ... Yet. Maybe someday. Joy is better than balance.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I hope you find your balance in writing, that would be great wouldn't it?

Chrys Fey said...

Balance can mean something different for everyone. I think we're all unbalanced (not mentally...lol). I always do one thing more than another, no matter how much I try to create balance.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

It was so exhausting for me to stay balanced, like trying to keep my footing on top of a rolling ball.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Tyrean! And I love what you said here - "Joy is better than balance." Works for me!

I ate PBJ pretty much every day, too, as a kid! I still eat it once in awhile. Not quite the same but still yummy. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Rachna! I've been struggling lately with my writing - lots going on IRL - but I'm hoping to throw myself into a project soon.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

True! At the time, balance for me meant safety, what most people thought of as normal. I wish now I hadn't let it throw me off so much.

Loni Townsend said...

I'm glad to hear you're doing you. :) I don't think I've actively sought balance before, except when trying to use my slackline. The rest of my life is a system of controlled chaos.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Loni!

I don't think I would even attempt the slackline. Although, never say never. :)

Patricia said...

Good luck with losing your balance!

Yolanda Renée said...

Moving is a bitch! Sorry for the language, but we did that. Took two years. One to sell, after spending months decluttering, cleaning, repainting, repairing, stressing over each viewing and making changes to fit peoples wants. Etc. Then another year to find a new place, but wait, it didn't end there. Remodeling, every single room. Talk about stress, but whew! It's all done and I am de-stressing. Maybe that's why I'm so exhausted, still haven't caught up with myself. LOL
Good luck! I know it'll all work itself out and you'll be thrilled when you can sit back and enjoy!
Oh, and did I say we have a killer view! Straight out at the ocean and a horizon that goes on forever! I hope your new place gives you peace too!

Lee Lowery said...

Life "balance" is just another way society tries to mold us into insipid clones of mediocrity. And like all methods of control, it is about fear. Good for you to shake it off. You'll be amazed at how little you care about anyone who disapproves of you because of it.

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's great that you found the way to go forward that's right for you.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thank you!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Yolanda. It's not our first move, and ours sounds a lot easier than what you went through - yikes! But your view sounds amazing so hopefully that helps you with your de-stressing.

No ocean view for us but it will be a relatively peaceful one, and we won't be too far from a beach. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Lee, as always, I love your comment. :)

I'm doing my best to shake it off, but it's not as easy as I wish it was. Sigh.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I just hope I'm right. Gulp! :)

emaginette said...

It took me sixty years to learn that no one can meet my needs but me. I'm the one that knows what they are and where my joy lives. No one, no matter how much they want to, can see my heart, mind and soul.

Follow your joy. You can do this.

Anna from elements of emaginette

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks so much, Anna. It amazes me how something that seems like it should be natural/second nature seems to take some of us - me! - such a long time to figure out.

cleemckenzie said...

Being off balance does require some extra energy and thought. I like that idea. I don't want to always be stable and in the middle. Nothing new would ever happen.

Sarah Foster said...

You have to do what feels right for you!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Excellent point about nothing new would ever happen!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm going for it. :)

Jenni said...

Interesting post. I think I usually label the same tendency in myself as "intensity." I'm less intense now and more "balanced," and that's good in many ways as I don't take myself quite so seriously. But I also know that I'll never quite fit with "regular people," because I have such intense interests/passions. But I'm more okay with that now. Glad that your husband understands! Mine does too. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Go for it. Take the risks and find that youthful so what you want plan.

Olga Godim said...

I guess it is different for everyone. I always wanted balance in my life, but I rarely achieved it. I think balance comes and goes. It is a state of the moment, until that moment passes, and you are searching for a new balance. Again. And again. With every situation, the balance must come anew.

Fundy Blue said...

Oh, I so loved fruit cocktail, Madeline! But there were five of us wee MacBeaths, and one can didn't go far. We always squabbled over the cherries. I gave up on balance. I'll never find it. I'm a happy binger and happy in my own company. Just be you!!! You're perfect as you are!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Happy unbalancing, then :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Excellent points about the ideas of intensity and passion, and not fitting in with "regular people."

And yeh for understanding husbands! :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm trying, Susan! And hoping. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I think some of my exhaustion came from trying to keep constantly and consistently balanced, which didn't work for me and, like you pointed out, basically doesn't work at all.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Yes on the cherries! That was my favorite part. :)

Thank you so much for saying that. I hope I can one day be a "happy binger" again, too.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thank you! Hmm, I wonder if there's a holiday or a card for that.... :)

Tonja Drecker said...

I could have eaten cans of fruit cocktail too! (Mom stopped me) There's a lot to be said for unbalance.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I can't remember how I managed to eat so much with no one noticing. Maybe I was being sneaky or something. :o

Juneta key said...

I hate moving. I hope you find your balance.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm not looking forward to all the upheaval, but I hope - know?! - it will all work out in the end.

Thanks!

Debra Renée Byrd said...

I feel like that was me, as well. I'm still happy doing my own thing, but do I want balance?? I'm still not sure lol.

Anstice Brown said...

This is a really interesting perspective. The media is filled with articles saying we need to create a perfect balance between every area of our lives. But I'm definitely more of an "all or nothing" person. I struggle with moderation in most areas. I take on projects, hobbies (obsessions you might say) and work furiously on them for a time, to the exclusion of almost everything else. But that's just how I roll. I have tried many times to be someone who does things "little and often" but it never works out for me.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I wish I hadn't stopped doing my own thing. I wasted a lot of energy and a lot of time. Sigh. But today is a new day! :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Yes! I was - am! - definitely more of an "extreme" person, but I tried to curtail that so much that I haven't recognized myself for a long time. But now, I'm starting to look a little more familiar.... :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I think we may be kindred spirits. All the way down to the fruit cocktail. It's the little half cherries that get you. I never ate so much of it that I got sick, but I once wiped out and entire bottle of Flintstone vitamins.

I am horrible with balance. I prefer to start and finish and when you're a writer, that's bad.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Ha ha ha! I loved those Flintstone vitamins! :)

I used to throw myself into my stories to the point that when I came up from it, it was like I needed air. Somewhere along the line I let myself become convinced that wasn't an okay way to be/live. Sigh.

Lidy said...

Interesting insight. If being balanced is counterproductive to who you are as a person and to your writing, then I say toss the whole balance thing out the door and do you. Go for it and good luck.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Lidy! I'm going for it. :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I love fruit cocktail, but you're right, OD'ing on it does sound strange. LOL. I'm not get at balancing either. Not anymore. Something to do with my hubby retiring, I think. Anyway, I'm blaming him. heehee.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

ps. Being balanced is fine when you're young, but we're on an adventure, and so who's got time for balance!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

My husband always says I should be as unbalanced as I want to be.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

So true! :)

Nick Wilford said...

Great post. I hadn't really thought about it in that way before. I suppose if we sensibly balanced up life's priorities, writing would probably fall right off the scale. Yet, in a weird way, I don't feel "balanced" when I'm not doing it!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Yes! I feel more "off" when I'm not writing.