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The Women Who Fall Down

This isn’t meant to be funny or profound or a life-defining metaphor. This is literal. I actually fall down on a regular basis. Always have. Never thought much of it until recently. I’ve come to realize that there are two types of women in the world: (I know, you thought there was a lot more range … nope, it’s just this) those of us who fall down, and those who don’t.

This epiphany hit me one afternoon at a lunch with three friends whom I’ve known for years. Or at least thought I’d known. My oldest friend, Lori, casually mentioned while passing the sour cream, that she had fallen down -- again -- at the courthouse while scurrying in her high heels to make a deposition.

I just sighed and took another sip of my Sauvignon Blanc. We were used to it by now.

The two of us have taken some spectacular tumbles over the years. Plummeting down flights of cement steps in Mexico, breaking an ankle and cutting short a vacation in the sun. Catching a heel on a stone staircase in the 19th century building that served as my office and tumbling down a narrow spiral staircase with an armful of files and papers. I was a bit bruised and my hair somewhat disheveled, but I made it to the meeting. (We are, if not graceful, tenacious). Tripping over countless curbs in parking lots, misjudging that final step at the end of the basement stairs (this one resulted in a torn ligament that took a leisurely four months to heal), stepping precariously off the back porch with a pot of zinnias in hand and missing the curb by inches (the zinnias survived, although slightly bruised). The list of mishaps goes on and on.

So, I wasn’t terribly disturbed by this latest event. Our friend, however, was aghast. “You mean you fell down … like on the ground?”

This seemed like a ridiculous question to me and Lori shot me a subtle look across the table that said, “What the hell?”

Where else would one fall down? Obviously, on the ground. Gravity dictates.

Lori set her fork down and patiently clarified. “Well, yes, I fell down in the hallway. Papers, files and the contents of my purse strewn everywhere. Why?”

She was as perplexed as I was, but our friend was still in the dark. “So … you actually fell down on the ground?”

Sigh. How to explain?

It was at this moment I realized that not everyone falls down on a regular basis. I mean, our friend was actually struggling to understand the concept of winding up on the ground. It led me to wonder what it would be like to move through the world unconcerned about that next fall or an inevitable tumble down the back steps.

Since I’ve lived this way my whole life, the concept was an epiphany to me. Wander around and not worry about falling down? I bet women like this don’t even keep band aids and Neosporin in their purses. I mean, they just make their way through the world unconcerned about winding up face down on the pavement or bruised and bleeding at the bottom of a staircase.

I allowed myself a few moments of fantasy, imagining what it must be like to step out of the house with no worries of winding up splayed out on the cement in front of colleagues. I simply can’t imagine it. But I do congratulate those graceful women who know they will always remain steadfast — and upright. I’m envious.

It must be so liberating to know that you can just go anywhere you want without the worry of falling down.

But I guess that’s never going to be my reality. When my daughter was little, she didn’t fall down but I did. She would actually warn her friends: “Watch out, my mother falls down a lot.” As you might imagine, this was fairly humiliating as it’s supposed to be the kids who fall down. But what can one do?

I’ve actually come to terms with this and so have my friends who also fall down on a regular basis. I mean, it’s my reality so why deny it ….

Final Note: Always hold the handrail and mind the steps.

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