Learning to fall

In lots of ways. Yes, I am very much accustomed to falling. I do it all the time. Just this morning, like half an hour ago, I fell from my bicycle just a few feet from my apartment. The road was so slippery that a normal turn at low velocity caused the rolling friction to turn into a sliding friction, pulling the tires away from my center of gravity. There was no preventing it.

This was the third in a little more than a month’s time that I fell from my bicycle, and to my surprise, I was barely injured in each incident. In the first fall, the handlebars hit my right thigh, which left a bit of a mark and a minor bruise, but neither pain nor impairment in riding my bike. The second time, I got stuck in the rails of the tram, and I was flung easily 9 feet through the air before I hit the road, but all that happened was me probably spraining my wrist. It hurt a bit for like… I don’t know, exactly, but not even ten minutes, which was the time it took me to get home after that. Consider the force of catching a body that weighs ca. 250 lbs after flying 9 feet. I broke that same wrist when I weighed 100 pounds less from just falling off my bicycle riding slowly on a forest trail.

Of course, I didn’t simply catch that force. I used a technique that I learned… I have honestly no Idea when I acquired this ability. The only explanation that I have is that I learned it while I was drunk. Often, I was not in control of my faculties, and in many cases, I just really remember waking up after a long night with inexplicable pain and bruises all over my body. I know it wasn’t from violent altrucations, unless I was drunken boxing with my brother, but since we weren’t serious… I digress. The fact of the matter is, I am not naturally a mean drunk. It’s not like it couldn’t happen, but I don’t go around looking for trouble when I’m drunk, unlike my brother who likes to provoke the shit out of people. Who, in turn, occasionally beat the shit out of him. I digress, again. So, while my conscious mind and my faculties were on sick leave, my muscle memory was hard at work learning to predict the circumstances and reacting accordingly, to prevent serious injury.

But physical injury heals quickly, compared to emotional injury. And the only way I know how to minimize emotional injury is to avoid situations in which this occurs. Bracing for impact usually just means totally shutting down to me, but that also excludes me from feeling joy, or learning anything in the process, really. Putting myself out there, that’s never been easy for me. At some crucial stage, I didn’t develop a healthy sense of self, and also very little confidence. People think I’m strong, and stabile. I’m good at projecting that image. But that’s just it: A projection, and nobody cares to look beyond that.

Assigning blame doesn’t help. I know, because, I’ve done that already. Well, it didn’t help me. It’s just a messed up world, and everyone is affected differently. Assigning blame didn’t help me, because it meant my environment, my circumstances, needed changing. But it’s me who needs changing. Hopefully, everything else will fall into place. Not that I believe that. But what should I believe?

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8 thoughts on “Learning to fall

  1. There is a fundamental difference between physical and emotional injuries as only the latter are completely in our control i.e. we have to agree to be emotionally hurt. This is not easy to accept but it does reflect home-grown wisdom such as “Sticks and stones can break your bones but names can never harm you.”

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