(Or, how quickly relaxed confidence can disintegrate into shame and embarrassment.)
I’m a pretty confident girl most of the time. And never as much as when I’m on a nice little hike on my own. Hiking is something I can do well… after all, it’s not much more than glorified walking, right? And it’s not as if I live in a constant fear of losing my footing while walking along. I’m pretty sure walking is something I mastered a solid 29 years ago, thanks.
Especially hiking solo, I know I have a rapid pace and can burn through some mileage quickly. And I’m internally competitive enough to find a bit of smug pleasure in being that fast hiker, confident strides, smile on my face, always saying “on your left” as I leave others in my trail-dust.
Hey, I never claimed to be modest.
A hikers rule of thumb, one of those general common courtesy things, has always been that the hikers going up hill have right of way. Up hill is harder. When you are cruising uphill and not looking to take a break, losing momentum is the worst. So as the downhill trodding hiker, I tried to do the kind thing and step off to the side on this rocky narrow pathway. Through a serious of unfortunate events, I lost my footing just as the upward headed group passed me.
My fall went a little bit like this:
- Scrape calf against rock.
- Bash knee into rock.
- Scrape AND bash hipbone on rock.
- Almost catch self with hands (resulting in scraping and bashing).
- Watch in horror as rock comes flying towards face.
- Manage to barely save face from bashing (resulting in scraping chin on rock.)
- Leap up as quickly as possible, which may or may not have looked like some off-road worm dance maneuver. (Maybe I have a future in dancing?)
– Lesson Learned: Never do nice things. –
Things it was? Painful. Embarrassing. Humbling.
Things is was not? Graceful, in any way shape or form.
It was just the wrong amount of hurt… not so superficial of a fall that I could laugh it off, but not so major that I actually needed assistance. Of course, a kind-hearted individual did immediately ask me if I was okay. And comment that they weren’t even sure I had fallen because they had never seen anyone get up that quickly. But no, I didn’t want help.
What I wanted in that moment was an invisibility cloak. (And maybe some better shoes.)
What I wanted was my entire left side not to be a mass of bruises and pain.
What I wanted was my ease and confidence back. And to have make sure that all the people I had just passed didn’t see that fast hiker bite it because she was going so fast.
So I did what you have to after any sort of fall, physical or proverbial. I got back up (lightning fast too!) brushed myself off and resumed my trek back down the hill, my previous quick pace only vaguely marred by a slight limp. This trail was mine, and I would try and get it and my confidence back under my control as quick as possible.
I also felt better when I used my camera to assess that my face was only bleeding a little.
Lesson learned overall though? We all fall. We all get ahead of ourselves or lose our footing for a moment. We want to hide in the shame that we weren’t sure-footed and smooth for a moment, especially the perfectionists like me. And then we share our humiliating story on the internet for the world to read. Because at the end of the day, falling is funny, scrapes and bruises aside. Being a momentary klutz and being imperfect is endearing and most of all, very human. It is relateable.
When you fall, try and fall with grace. (And then let me know how to do it.)
And when you get back up, do it with style and gusto.
Also, when you fall (which will happen) try to do an awkward impression of a dance move when you get up, will ya? Because that in itself makes the fall worth it… realizing that the most important thing in life is to dance. And to not let some small minded people tell you dancing is not allowed. Because dancing is not a sin… it’s an expression of celebration and joy. And then at prom you stand up and yell “Let’s Dance.” And everyone starts a spontaneous yet coordinated dance routine….
Unless that is just the plot to Footloose. Sometimes I get my life and movies mixed up.
P.S. Speaking of movies, “The Fall” is an excellent, visually-stunning artsy movie that I would recommend. It is not about dancing. But it’s still excellent.