Sunday, May 1, 2011
Fear of Falling Gracefully
I ran across this thought today while contemplating what I might write about… I'm not afraid of heights; I'm afraid of falling.
For someone who is so afraid of falling, I certainly do it often enough.
It happened again yesterday. Busy day. Many tasks to complete; many people calling me in many directions; darted quickly between set pieces and got my feet tangled in a piece of black fabric cleverly disguised as a shadow — and then me, sprawled out across the stage. A student helped me up off the ground. It was so-o-o-o embarrassing.
And painful. Knees, hands, wrists, elbow, shoulder. The usual list of body parts you hurt when you biff it.
Nice fall. See you next trip!
I am not all that old, yet I feel I am on the doorstep — for want of a better tripping analogy — of senior citizen land, but I am falling like an 85-year-old with too-thick glasses, too many scatter rugs in the house and too much medicine in my system.
Honest! I am not under the influence here. I just have a knack for falling gracefully… or is it not so gracefully?
If I don't watch it, I am going to break something instead of just bruising something or spraining something, and the neighbors and Relief Society ladies will have to start delivering meals.
My daughter says I fall because, "Well, um, you've never been very coordinated."
Maybe I am “gravitationally challenged.”
Neither explanation is particularly satisfactory — or flattering — so I went hunting for more information. It turns out that my fear of falling, instead of keeping me safe, may make it more likely that I will fall.
The fact that I cling to railings like Kate Winslet in "Titanic" doesn't contribute to the strength and balance — or the confidence — I need to stay upright.
And the stiffness and soreness in the joints in my legs — the result of too many years of pounding aerobics (I wish) — hinder my gait and give walking an uncertain outcome.
I know. The stiffness in my joints is more related to my allergies. I’d do better if I truly avoided “everything.” But that’s hard!
The fact is, falls are such a serious and expensive health issue that balance has become a significant part of all kinds of exercise programs, and the staff in doctors' offices are training patients in fall prevention.
Hmmm… Does that mean I should avoid ladders? Cliffs? Rock climbing? Bicycles? Walking?
While I am afraid of falling, it clearly hasn't affected my lifestyle (hence the fact that I keep falling). I could resign myself to being a couch potato. For others, the fear of falling has been so debilitating that they needlessly restrict their participation in life: exercise, shopping, going to church, seeing friends.
I guess I’ll keep falling… and nursing my injuries.