I have now started this blog post three times...it's not that I have writer's block (I don't). And it's not that I had something in mind when I shared the prompt of "falling" (I didn't).
It's just that thus far I have read the falling entries of some fellow bloggers...and I almost feel as though I have little left to say.
So what I’ve settled on for the prompt of “falling” is to recount two personal experiences.
It is no wonder that fear of falling is one that many people have. And, for some of us that fear is coupled with a fear of heights. Stands to reason—when you are somewhere high, falling seems so much more likely.
But some times, we fall in the most prosaic of ways.
I did. While I have fallen more that twice, two stories will have to do.
Since I recently wrote about a portion of my childhood, you know I went to boarding school. By the time I was ready to enter Form 1 (roughly equivalent to 7th grade) I was attending a government run boarding school in Bulawayo. This was my first steps into “adulthood.” Not really, of course but it seemed like it. Each of the dorms in which we slept were somewhat self-governed. And to head up the internal governing of each dorm was a head prefect—a girl elected by her dorm classmates. By some fluke, that girl was me…for a short while.
We all made our own beds, tidied our own space, stored our clothing in footlockers. And on Saturdays we changed the sheets. One such day, with the beds stripped, we got to being the children we were. We were giggling and bouncing. Jumping on the beds. Until.
Until one of the beds broke. The metal springs simply gave way, and crashed to the floor. When the house matron came around to investigate, she zeroed in on me. I have no idea if I was really to blame, but as head prefect, I was the one who was blamed.
What I remember most clearly is the house matron’s verdict: You’re demoted.
I was stunned. How could something my fellow classmates picked me for be taken away? And how was I the only one to blame when it was a group activity? Never mind—I alone was the one who fell from grace.
The second story about falling happened just last Hallowe’en. In our township, there is a designated night for “Trick or Treat”. With the doorbell ringing periodically, my husband and I switch off between one of us answering the door, and the other keeping the dog calm.
Since my husband had answered the door several times in a row, when the doorbell rang again—I jumped up and said: I’ll get this one. I went hurrying to the door and—yes—caught my foot on an end table. In an instant, I was falling, completely unable to stop. I fell SPLAT into the entry way of our house. The front door was open with only the glass storm door between me and the outside. There stood a young child and her horrified mother.
While I was lying face down, my husband rushed to me and asked if I was OK—my only response was: just get the door.
Of course, that fall was foolish and painful. I thought I must have broken some bones, but somehow I had not. Oh, I had a fat lip from banging my face. And a few weeks after, my one shoulder began to stiffen. I sought the help of a physical therapist who put me through a series of exercises (which I still do).
Now as a woman of a certain age, no longer a school girl, I understand that falling is a hazard. And, I try to walk very carefully.
Two very different sorts of "falling" stories. Isn't it interesting how falling somehow always ties into feeling shamed? Regardless of the nature of the fall, we feel vulnerable and embarrassed. But, what we should feel is human. We all "fall" and we all get back up again. THAT is the truest test of being human. The getting back up part. XO
Another pleasant falling anecdote in the group. I wondered about the prompt at first, but it has worked out well. The danger of the physical fall for those of us of a certain age seems to be a repeated theme, but that first fall must have been harsh for you.
Ouch, on both occasions of falling! The consequences of the first story do seem harsh. Alas, those are among the ways that we learn about leadership--the honor comes with responsibilities not shared by those we are charged to lead. The physical falls come with their own set of embarrassment/shame/humiliation, along with the aches and pains that result.
I still play some indoor soccer--mid 60s guy with a group of 20 somethings. They are very kind, slowing down just enough for me to play with the. And so solicitous on those occasions that I hit the floor. I tell them that I have a very low tolerance for pain, and they will know if I am hurt ...
Jayne's got a good point about falling and being shamed. I think that's why we tend to remember our falls for such a long time.
Oh no, those demotions in boarding school! An early introduction to "life is not always fair?" I enjoy hearing your perspective on growing up in Africa.
Both stories made me smile; and grimace. Beautifully told.
I'm glad you shared these!
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