Home of the Bellingwood Series – Nammynools

Right brain vs. left brain

A few weeks ago a friend posted a ‘quiz‘ that measured which side of the brain you predominantly used. Not surprisingly, I was told that I use both sides equally. Well … rats. That probably sounds like a good thing to most of you and fortunately for me, I wasn’t told that I am predominantly left-brained, though that wouldn’t necessarily have surprised me either. (That would have been incredibly disappointing.)

Another necessary picture of my cat ... helping me edit.
Another necessary picture of my cat … helping me edit.

Do you know those amazing people who focus on one thing and do it to the exclusion of anything else and are highly successful because of the amount of time and energy they pour into whatever it is they do? Yeah. That’s not me. I’m not Diana Nyad, who swims long distances better than others. I’m not Picasso or Van Gogh or any other artist who pours their entire being into their art. I’m not a mathematician or physicist whose linear thinking drives them to see solutions to extensive problems. I’m not a creative genius who knew from the earliest moments of their lives that music or art or … whatever … would consume them to the point of setting everything else aside.

No, I’m fairly average. Both sides of my brain tend to keep up with each other. I love making music, I love writing stories, I love dreaming about crazy and wild things that exist nowhere but inside my head. But then, I also love organizing things and solving puzzles, making sense of systems and putting things into order. Sometimes my desire for order makes others around me nuts. Yes, I create patterns with my M&Ms before I eat them … but, not all the time, just some of the time.

This behavior frustrates me. I think I would like to be one or the other. It would have been much easier when I was younger if I knew that there was one focus in my life … one thing that drove me more than anything else. All of the inspirational, motivational literature has told me that I should find that one, singular thing and then go after it. That’s what will bring success.

Okay, that might explain why I’m still working so hard to find success at this age (I’m not telling …).

The other issue with this ‘equal brain hemisphere’ thing is that they seem to compete with each other for my attention. If I’m in marketing and organizing mode, it is difficult for me to drop into creativity mode. I clean and organize … and fritter time away while waiting for the right side of my brain to check in. If I’m in the middle of writing, I can’t escape from it and everything around me goes to hell. I know enough to stock up on easy-to-fix snacks and paper plates, because when this happens I won’t cook or clean. Sometimes I’m lucky to get a shower taken before it’s bedtime again.

So, the other day I talked about how writing is my job now, I have to tell you that there are days it is a struggle for me to get anything written. I force myself to put words on paper, but those are the days I’d rather be working on the Excel document that holds my stats, re-shuffling the pantry shelves, or entering my Kindle books into my library database.

I’ll never be a singular person, even though I’d love to focus on one thing for my entire life. While that’s frustrating on one level, it makes me who I am and I have enough self-confidence to think that is perfectly fine. Now, if I could just get this next chapter started …


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