… Uh, sorry. I just got distracted by that cocktail at the top of the page.
Man, that looks good.
What was I doing? Oh, right, making a Batman joke.
Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up and possibly get therapy and realize that dressing up like a bat and punching criminals isn’t really a healthy coping mechanism even if it does make for really cool movies.
I’ve fallen down publicly twice recently. I covered the first one in my Laguna post. This recent fall was two days ago. The bottom of my shoe inexplicably found a slippery spot of asphalt, sent my leg out from under me and I did an awkward, improbable split to the ground. I also managed to rip a hole in my jeans and skin my knee.
Something about a skinned knee just sends you right back to adolescence. It implies a certain level of reckless clumsiness that you really should have outgrown by now. Except that’s completely unfair because there is no way to outgrow freak accidents.
I’m writing about this because I realized that every time I’ve taken a fall like that a single line of thought just starts roaring in my head. Get up, get up, get up, walk it off, don’t let them see, make it go away, just keep walking. My number one priority after taking a spill in public is to immediately do all I can to erase the event.
Sure, I hit the ground but I must be fine because I’m walking forward with determination and vigor!
Now excuse me while I find somewhere secluded to see if I’m bleeding or not. There’s a severe burning sensation but I don’t feel that ominous trickle. Yet.
I didn’t even know I’d torn my jeans until I’d walked away from the main thoroughfare, favoring the knee that had lost a few layers of skin. Once I saw the hole at my knee I was much more upset about damaging a perfectly good pair of jeans than I was about any physical damage. That’s not a new reaction, either. Once I got really upset about having scraped a new pair of shoes after I fell down some stairs.
I get the logic behind prioritizing damage to possessions over damage to skin. After all, skin heals. The scrapes on my shoes and the hole in my jeans are permanent things that will not seamlessly evaporate over time.
I’m far more interested, now that I’ve spotted this pattern, in the frenzied response to an unplanned display of vulnerability in public. That desperate voice in my head screaming at me to get on my feet and move already, limp away if I have to but just get away from the people.
Pain becomes unimportant in the face of that drive to escape.
So I think learning to pick yourself up after a fall is pretty small potatoes. Admitting you’re hurt and asking for help is a much bigger hurdle. It only gets easier when you realize you have people around you that want to help and, in fact, would feel honored to know you trust them with yourself enough to lean on them.
I figured that part out when Brego stepped on my spine. A story for another day!
Chapter Nine Recap going up tomorrow after I raid the Trader Joe’s wine shop.