Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Balance is a dirty word.

Women's magazines have launched a full-scale assault on today's women. And their ammunition? The ever-elusive and panic-inducing life balance.

All I see are articles promising how to achieve balance in your life. Find balance between home and work. How to balance your time vs. time with your husband. Hell, they even have blurbs about balancing the balance for a better you and a happier family. And here is what I have to say about this concept: fuck balance. (Though, if there were an article about fucking and balance with right kind of illustrations, I might be down).

The only purpose of these articles is to make women feel bad. Make them think if they feel overwhelmed by motherhood, work, marriage and personal goals, then they are simply not doing something right. And nothing is further from the truth. Frankly, to be an adult woman -- and especially a mother -- means that your life will always be in a state of flux. That your priorities will shift not only from day to day, but minute to minute. That at the end of the day, something, perhaps many things, will be left undone. And you know what? That's okay.

When I think of balance, I think of my years as a dancer. I think of myself standing at the barre, poised on the top of my pointe shoe, and taking a deep breath just to get the gumption to start. The seemingly simple adjustment of raising my leg into an arabesque was some of the hardest work I've ever done. My stomach pulled in, my standing leg strong, my mind repeating a breathing mantra -- yes, I could achieve balance. And yes, I could stay that way for quite a while. But the demands on my body would eventually take their toll and I would have to come back down. Sometimes, I would fall and fall hard. It is more than enough stress to stay up like that for a few minutes. It's not something we should be coaching ourselves to continuously do in our daily lives.

Honestly, the balance part is not the key at all. It's that sweet relief in coming down. Letting go and realizing that you don't have to do it all.

So ladies, next time you see a magazine cover advertising some new strategy for achieving balance, walk away from the rack. We don't need it. Instead, let's take some time to recognize how much more applicable the falling down can be.

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