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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.


  1. Sorry to hear that you fell. Sounds like some of the theater folks have been concerned and are treating you well. Glad to hear it because you do so much and are so talented at it. Take care, CJ


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