Balancing Act


in Balancing Act, Dawn Smith

Dawn LOFB BadgeI am, quite literally, out of balance.

I’ve been on two cruises in my life.   The first was almost 10 years ago, and after that cruise, I swore I would not cruise again because I suffered from mal de debarquement syndrome, which causes the sensation of being on a bobbing boat long after one has exited the actual boat.  If it were accompanied by on-demand drinks with rum and little umbrellas, I might be more willing to endure it.  Sadly, no.  As someone with a (formerly) excellent sense of balance and a fondness for dancing and yoga, this constant swaying was a bit of a shock.  It was intense for several months and, although it got better, I never fully regained my balance.  Declaration made: no more cruises.

Until this past August.  When we went on an Alaskan cruise with my parents.

Now, everything in my world moves.  The sensation is always there, to a greater or lesser degree, rocking my world and not in an “oh baby” way.  The motion is made worse by a variety of factors: walking down a hallway, climbing a ladder, working at a computer for long hours, stress.

Stress.  Of which I have plenty at the moment.  All I have to do is turn on a TV or log into a computer and I find something to be stressed about.

I have a long history of vacillating between being informed as to what’s going on in the world and hiding from it with fingers stuck firmly in my ears singing (of late) Pharrell Willliams’ “Happy” at the top of my lungs and out of key.  I’ve become obsessed with a number of current issues: abuse of women and children everywhere from the NFL to Nigeria, the humanitarian crisis caused by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, #GamerGate, the seemingly constant political attacks on women’s rights, and homophobia (we need a new word – it’s not fear, it’s hate).  I’ve never been able to master the art of engaging in a situation without being accosted by the emotions that accompany it, which results in a Battle of the Stars level tug-of-war relationship with everything around me.  I want to affect the world, and when I can’t, I’m miserable.  I want to be informed, but I want to live a happy life.  I feel alllllllllll the feelings, and I feel them deeply, and they build to a cacophonous choir of fury and frustration that drives me to want to huddle in my bed, my rocking, swaying, bobbing bed, until the world comes to an end.  With all the hate in the world right now, that’s where we’re headed, right?


But then… I think of my mom and dad.  My mom and dad, who asked us to join them on an Alaskan cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary. FIFTY YEARS, PEOPLE!  Good goddamn that’s a long time.  They’re still a cute couple, they steal kisses and slap each other on the ass, and I have it on good authority that my dad takes Viagra.  I hope to god that Glenn and I are that close and frisky at 50 years.  If we’re still alive.

So I think of their 50 years.  And their struggles to raise two kids… two imperfect, demanding, frustrating kids who are both broken in our own ways.  I think of their affectionate bickering, and their mutual support, and most of all, their love.  And I think… the world may be spinning out of control, but all hope is not lost, right?


Just a little balance is all I’m asking for.


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