When I started writing, I never thought that I would have readers. But Balancing Jane has slowly grown into a place that I'm proud to have crafted. It has helped me tremendously to figure out how to (or, in some cases, how not to) balance the different parts of my identities. I have heard from several of you that are going through the same juggling acts and many of you who are balancing completely different parts of your identities. In the end, though, we all have to learn how to navigate spaces where we are many things at once, and that's what Balancing Jane has been all about.
So, to commemorate this, the start of the third year of Balancing Jane, I have a couple of announcements.
First, I've had a few people who have asked if they can guest post for Balancing Jane. My initial response was, "Of course!" but I also knew that I had to have some sort of policy in place if I was going to start accepting guest posts. I have no illusions that I will be flooded with tons of requests for people to be featured on my humble little corner of the web, but for those of you who would like to write something that fits with the (rather broad) theme of this blog or to cross-post something you've written on your own blog, I now have a Guest Post policy.
Along those lines, I would also like to host a special series to celebrate Balancing Jane's birthday. Since Balancing Jane is all about . . . well. . . balancing, I propose a writing series.
We all wear many labels. Some we wear our whole lives, and some shift as our relationships to those around us change. We are mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, teachers, students, friends, feminists, Democrats, Republicans, daughters, sons, employees, bosses, and a host of other identities that weave together to make us who we are in any particular time and space. Sometimes those identities easily merge together, but often there are excesses in the overlap, spaces that might confuse us, spaces that make it challenging to figure out who we are. Balancing Jane maintains that it is in those spaces that we find out the most about ourselves, that when we are forced to simultaneously own two labels that we might not have placed together we figure out what we stand for. It is also by inhabiting those spaces that we learn to appreciate other people, for if we can be more than one thing, then so can they, and that means that our preconceived notions of them are always--at best--an oversimplification.
Pick any two labels that you wear (by choice or necessity) and reflect on how they intersect. Start with I am _________ and _______. Of course, these are not your only two labels, but these should be two that have, when combined, given you some insight into yourself or the world around you. In no more than
250500 words (Edit: People just have a lot to say. Who am I to hold you back?), share what wearing those two labels has meant to you.
It can be an essay, story, poem, photograph, etc. Send me your submissions at balancingjane [at] gmail (or through the email link in the blog header) or post it on your own blog and send me the link so I can share it here. Be sure to include a short byline about yourself (and linking to your own blog, if you have one) if you want. I look forward to reading your reflections!