The Precarious Balance Of Self


All of these images came from one of my favorite websites:

Kerry Skarbakka’s amazing photographs really resonated with me. I hope you enjoy them too.

In the artist’s statement he says, ”This unsettling prognosis of life informs my present body of work. I continually return to questions regarding the nature of control and its effects on this perceived responsibility, since beyond the basic laws that govern and maintain our equilibrium, we live in a world that constantly tests our stability in various other forms. War and rumors of war, issues of security, effects of globalization, and the politics of identity are external gravities turned inward, serving to further threaten the precarious balance of self, exaggerating negative feelings of control.”

He also references philosopher Martin Heidegger’s description of human existence as a process of perpetual falling, and the responsibility of each person to catch ourselves from our own uncertainty.

I guess we are all in a continual process of losing and regaining equilibrium. That is how we move forward – by stepping out of the known into the unknown. If there were no challenge to the status quo or discomfort with the way things are, we would not have any reason to change and expand.  Feeling off-balance is simply an indication that you are in the process of finding a new way of being balanced.

See even more images in this series on the artist’s website:

Share This:


  1. Connie Omari says:

    What a great metaphor to many of life’s challenges! It is so true… The world for us is an “unknown” source… And with it, we are apt to fail… But as the belated songstress Aliya professes… “If at first you don’t succeed… Brush yourself off and try again!” Such a timely post! Thank you!

    1. annie kip says:

      I agree – we can’t reasonably expect to avoid all falls and all conflict and all disappointment – but we can decide how we are going to respond. The way we pick ourselves up is the way we define ourselves.

  2. Mark Smith says:

    That any person would enjoy pictures of someone getting hurt or hurting themselves is unconscionable.

    You should be ashamed. Obviously you have some unresloved issues in regards to your failures with men.

    1. annie kip says:

      Hi Mark, that is so interesting that you see a man in the photos – I just saw a person. On the artist’s website, he explains that he uses ropes and climbing equipment to create the circumstances for his self-portraits. I don’t think he could actually do those things and live to take another picture, so I knew he wasn’t actually getting hurt in the pictures.

      Artists often create visual metaphors for the feelings we all have of being out of balance, in danger, and on the verge of peril. I know I can relate to feeling that way and I really appreciate that the artist is able to speak to me through his work. It is how we connect with each other.

  3. Michael says:

    like to read more of your blogs

    1. annie kip says:

      Thanks! Please do! Glad you visited!

  4. Ellen says:

    I am in the middle of a nasty divorce. After about 10 years of feeling unfulfilled and very unhappy, and 4 counselors later, I filed in August 2012 and I hope to have this finalized within the next few months. Having said that, he refuses to leave the house and has been nothing but a pain in my ass every since! He is trying to make me look bad in front of our 3 kids (13,11,9). My nerves are frazzled and I am constantly crying wondering WHY this man whom I once loved and cared for could possibly treat me this way just because I chose to end the marriage. I feel so alone because any friends I had prior to filing are NOT warm and fuzzy towards me. THIS is the very reason you see 70 year olds getting divorced now, because they did not have the balls to do it when their kids were younger and they avoided all the crap that I am headed for. WHY!?!?!?!? Will this get better????

    1. annie kip says:

      I am so sorry to hear about your situation. They say when you are going through hell, keep on going. You have your whole life ahead of you and it will not always feel so hard. I think you must be going through the hardest part.

    2. CherylY says:

      Ellen, I empathize with your pain! My ex fell in love with a woman he met at work in 2008/ we were divorced in 2009. As much as the pain of going through the divorce & starting my life over again has been, I would not go backwards for one minute!! You said he makes you look bad in front of your three kids, I think if you can keep telling yourself that there are legitimate reasons why this awfulness is happening, you will eventually get through it. I never wanted my 13 yr old to shuffle between homes the way she has to now but I would not go back to live the life we were living together either.

      In a way, it can be seen as good that he is hurting from all of this because it shows somehow he cares, as strange as that may sound. My ex had a smirk on his face when he confessed his work affair to me and he seemed to float through the divorce since he was leaving a woman he clearly never wanted (me!). I wish he had shown some signs of hurt or pain, even if it was just being angry. In the Harry Potter movies, the Phoenix bird is reborn from its own ashes, and likewise, when marriages collapse, we can use the sadness to build something new and maybe even something better than what came before.

      Despite my own awful first marriage, I still believe in marriage and am marrying an amazing man on Valetines Day this year. Oddly enough, my ex and his lady will be attending the wedding! I realized recently that its very difficult to be happy AND angry at the same time. I finally let go of the anger I had towards my ex and the woman he left me for. Much to my surprise, this lady is actually nice (I’m sure Leanne Rimes has her nice moments and she essentially did the same thing too!). Right now we want peace for the sake of the kids caught in the middle. My sister’s ex was unable to have children so they used a sperm donor to have their 2 girls. If I step away from the years of hurt in my first marriage, and look at my ex as my daughter’s sperm donor, my fiance is able to at last be the soulmate I have been looking for. Choose happiness, its the right choice for you & your kids….

      1. annie kip says:

        Thanks for sharing your story. I am so happy that you have found happiness after all you have been through! I agree with you that finding ways to be happy is what it is all about, regardless of our circumstances.

      2. Ellen says:

        Wow Cheryl! You went thru a lot girl!! I am very happy for you and your new found happiness!! I have actually rediscovered a lost love of mine in the middle of all this crap as he was suffering from a deeply hurtful relationship. It just came out of nowhere and I am a firm believer in things happening for a reason, and it seems as though the stars aligned and karma has found a new place for my heart to be. He is truly a Godsend and I hope to one day take his hand forever! Thanks for all your encouraging words! It truly sucks at times, but I know there has got to be a silver lining in this!

        Good luck and much happiness on this Valentine’s Day! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.