On Falling

‘A friend told me recently that she didn’t think of me as someone who fell. “I can’t picture it,” she said. “I’ve seen other people trip or end up flat on their face, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen you do it.” This was jarring to me. I felt I’d spent most of my teenage years stumbling around and had never been sure on my feet. This seemed especially so when I was drunk, lolling around on city streets, never upright. Yet, I wondered afterwards, as I got ready for bed that night, weaving through all the trip hazards scattered across my bedroom floor if it was more about how I appeared; the way I’d tried to position myself. To fall is to have no control. It is to be overwhelmed by a force you cannot fight against. That might be gravity alone, or gravity combined with a shove, an uneven paving stone, or an unstable foundation. It is to be, for the period you’re falling, unable to save yourself. I had spent a large portion of my twenties trying to create the image of a person who was managing, who stood squarely on two feet and could not be shaken. This was not true. I was very much a person who was falling. ‘

You can read the full column here.

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