Thursday, September 29, 2011

Falling Into Inspiration

September 29, 2011

Sometimes a writer doesn't have inspiration until it hits her in the face, quite literally. This week I fell. I was walking down a hallway with waxed floors while wearing rubber soled shoes. This is a very bad combination. To make matters worse, both hands were full and my mind was preoccupied with a catchy tune. Just as I got to one of my favorite parts of the song, I fell down, muttered an expletive under my breath, and got up....only to fall again two steps later!

I've fallen enough to know that bruises hurt, so even though it is time consuming, you must ice yourself immediately! Reluctantly, I followed my own advice and took time out of my day to ice my aching parts. While I sat there and sulked (there's not much else to do when you have ice packs pressed against your elbow and hip), I thought about how the biggest bruises happen not on the knee or on the shin, but on the soul.

Falling consistently can wound a person, taking a little bit of their dignity and sense of control away with each blunder. “This shouldn't be happening to me!” I silently screamed. “This is not how I wanted to start my day!” To make matters worse, I felt a little alone in this situation. Everyone was very transparent when expressing their care and concern, but were reserved in their desire to talk about my morning episode. No one wants to say the wrong thing. I'm not really sure how to talk about it either. Often, I feel a mixture of sadness and anger all at once blistering beneath the surface along with the need to keep these emotions in check so I can go about my day normally.

So, as my ice began to warm, I realized that my next blog entry had to be about falling. Writing is a healer, right? I also think the old adage is true, “Laughter is the best medicine,” so to heal my bruised soul and crushed spirit, to buoy my self-esteem, I offer you my top ten all time best falls that I've ever had! Each one is named with a fitting superlative! Enjoy!

Jenny's Top Ten Falls of All Time

  1. Hardest Hit Last year I thought I would be helpful and carry a box of items out to the car of a friend who was in the process of moving. As I was exiting her house with the box in tow, I lost my balance, fell off the stoop, and hit my head on a landscaping rock. That hurt. It was also one of my most scariest because it was the first time I've ever had to consider the possibility of a concussion. Luckily, I ended up being fine.
  2. Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride I fell while waiting to catch the bouquet at my best friend's wedding. We had a do-over, but I still didn't catch the bouquet. Rats!
  3. Incidental Improv I got up to exit the auditorium during the intermission of a play. As I was walking forward, I lost my balance when I ran into a tray table that was not properly stowed. I then proceeded to fall sideways, butt first into the auditorium chair immediately to my left of the row in front of me. Before I even understood what happened, I found myself stuck backwards in a chair with my legs sticking straight up. People didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It took two people to help me out of my perplexing position and a week before I was pain free.
  4. Teenage Rebellion Once while stepping out of my parent's car in junior high, I slipped and fell on the curb. My mom reached out to help me and I snapped my arm away and sneered, “Don't help me up unless I ask.” That was very ungracious of me. I address the proper protocol to help someone up when you witness a fall at the end of this posting.
  5. Saved By the Bell I was late for 1st hour class one morning as a freshman in high school. The bell began to ring, and I began to hurry. I fell through the threshold of the door as I entered the classroom. The teacher was so consumed with helping me up that she totally forgot about me being tardy.

  6. Repeat Offender That's the name I've affectionately given to the incident that happened this week.

  7. Shower of Shame One morning while in the shower, I lost my balance after stepping on my plastic drain cover. Reaching for something to hang on to, the only thing I could find was the door handle of my shower. Grabbing on, I fell out the door and landed naked and wet on the ground: half inside the shower, half out. I may be exaggerating a little bit, but half of my body was purple for the better part of the week. I was concerned about getting to work on time, so I neglected to ice my affected areas. This is not a mistake I am likely to repeat. This event also prompted the purchase and installation of grab bars on my shower and tub along with adhesive stickers for the floor surface of these areas. I've never had a problem since!

  8. Inspired Irony One Sunday afternoon, I tripped and fell in the church parking lot. This was awkward because I often like to collect myself in private but there's always this mixture of needing help after falling at the same time as wanting complete confidentiality. In this situation, I was bleeding, so I was going to need attention whether it was invited or not. People around me saw what happened and offered to help. I wanted to say to them, “I know it's church and you're supposed to be nice, but just go away!” That's not even the ironic part of the story. I was carrying a book in my hands while this happened. Guess what the title was: “Walking and Stumbling.Not kidding!

  9. If only the cameras were rolling they would have caught a hilarious moment! I attempted to throw a frisbee, and while doing so, the disc went one way and I went the other. We both hit the ground quickly. Maybe you had to be there for that one, but I'm sure that if Bob Saget would have seen the footage, I would have been awarded money!

  10. I need some Ice-Ice-Baby. Coming out of the cafeteria at college, I slipped and fell down several concrete steps that were coated with ice. The recovery from that injury was long and I think it left me with some permanent damage. Railings are a must when going down any stairway and after falling, I am extremely cautious as I traverse outside during the winter months.

There you have it. My top ten falls of all time! Every time I fall, people try to tell me that falling is normal. This is then followed by, “I fell once..” To which I silently think, “You fell once. That must be nice. Try falling once a month and then we should talk.” My reaction is a little cruel, so I invite you to prove me wrong. Send me your best falling story, or even attempt to draft your own top 10. You would be surprised how fun it is!

Finally, I promised to share some thoughts about how to react when you see someone falling. Here is my perspective: When you see someone fall, I think the situation demands that you offer to help that person up. However, be open to that offer being refused. As much as you want to help, realize the best thing you can do is respect the person's response whether it is a yes or no. When I fall, sometimes I would like assistance getting on my feet because I am stuck (as in Incidental Improv) or injured/bleeding (as in Ice-Ice-Baby, and Inspired Irony). However, after my brush with the Repeat Offender this week, I realized that helping myself up is one of the most powerful things I can do. If falling takes away my sense of control, helping myself up gives it back.


  1. Remembering #8, and my emailed response to you days later. I didn't realize that you keep track of your falls. I know that falling due to icy sidewalks or slipping on a banana peel are likely to leave an impression, but I take for granted that I haven't had the quantity or frequency of falls that you have due to physical abilities. I remember falls off my bike as a kid, but mostly due to the physical scars, not the emotional ones.
    Bless you for walking and stumbling along the road you are on. Really, you inspire me to pay attention and to persevere, because we still have to get from point A to point B.

  2. So one of the worse moments was while I was at work & I leaned backwards & to the side in my chair to reach some files for a coworker in my cube & the chair snapped at the base, broke to the side & literally rolled me out & on to the floor. Go figure it was a skirt day & about 4 people witnessed.....

    Falling is never pleasant, but I understand what it's like when there is a public embarrassment that doesn't happen just by fall often because of your CP, and I can only relate in terms of times when my weight has caused such issues. I'm not comparing your CP, which was not a choice, to my over-weightness, which was...I'm just comparing the embarrassment that can be felt for something which is not so accidental.