It didn’t used to happen. Falling, I mean. Sure, I’d walk into walls. I’d trip over absolutely nothing. Ballet dancers do that (or I did, anyway). But falling? Only when I was aiming for a triple pirouette.
But Then I Hit 40. And then 50.
Things started to change. A benign tumor was growing in my right ear. Fibroids were developing in my uterus. My center of balance started to shift. Falls became more common.
I have some doozies in my recent past. Like, right over the top of the handlebars, for instance. Or falling backward from opening the window, and landing on my tailbone. Oh, and there was the one where I was walking to the kitchen and I stepped wrong, and broke my fibula. Yeah, that was a good one. (Fast forward ten months and I did it again, at the Day Job. Sigh.)
Since then, there were the two – or maybe three – times I’ve gone sprawling, face-first, in the grocery store. (I blame the shoes I wore.) Or on the street, heading to my car. (Dark, rain, puddles, headlights.)
By now, the tumor is long gone. Ditto the uterus. I should be back to “normal” and just be walking into walls and tripping over nothing. Right? For some reason, I’m not. And that totally sucks.
Falling never ceases to be nerve wracking. Like, is this the time I totally ruin my body? Or, is my tumor back? In the other ear this time, maybe? Do I have multiple sclerosis like my mother did? Is this the time I break a hip, an elbow, both wrists? The thoughts that go through my head after a fall are agonizing, and I know I can’t be alone there.
I do balance exercises. It’s one of the reasons I started giving myself a ballet barre again. I work at balance, I swear I do.
17 at Heart
In my heart of hearts, I’m seventeen. Or maybe twenty-nine. (Oh, shut up, lol.) I have the verve and agility and balance out the wazoo that I used to have. And that remembered verve gets me in trouble. I wish it didn’t, but it does. Every. Single. Time.
My last fall happened over the weekend. I’d been meaning to do something – not sure what – and when reminded, I jumped up from the chair with verve and alacrity, and immediately tripped over the footstool. Barking my shin, my toes, bumping the coffee table which tipped over several fragile marble chess pieces (breaking two), landing on one hip and one wrist before gracefully rolling onto my back, legs to my chest, breathing slowly and taking inventory.
Two days later, my wrist is still sore. My hip has recovered, as have my toes. My shin has a nice 4 inch, barely visible scrape/bruise which is tender to the touch but otherwise unremarkable. I have survived. I live, to fall another day.
I will redouble my balance work. I will do my best to make my pathways as clear as possible. I will do everything in my power to stop falling. But the one thing I refuse to do is pull away from my inner seventeen-year-old. I like her. I don’t want to give her up. I don’t want to have to live so cautiously that I am afraid to do anything. Because for me, that’s no way to live.
My spirit is seventeen. I’ll curb her when I need to, but I won’t squash her.