I took a fall down a flight of concrete stairs the last weekend of January. I didn’t think much of it in terms of a metaphor for 2020 until yesterday. It’s post election in the US. Things are by no means settled, emphasizing this feeling of free fall. Either outcome, the US has a lot of work to do collectively and individually. This made me think about how I tend to sweat the small stuff. There are some things that happen and you must figure out how to navigate that for yourself. I don’t know why I’m so obsessive about the small stuff, but I am. Can’t see the forest for the trees. I kept delaying the inevitable with this fall–I was so bruised and impaired, but didn’t take care of it right away. I could barely bend my one knee afterward, but didn’t plan on seeing a doctor until the swelling went down–both knees, the side of my hand, the top of my foot, down my right arm, my shins. That was weeks. Weeks. Then Covid hit. I thought I’d wait until restrictions loosened up. One reason after another not to take care of business. I was afraid of being called a hypochondriac on some levels, I suppose. “Oh, it’s just a little bruising.” On another, maybe I was afraid of what they might find–a lot come to find out. Kind of like dismantling our current behaviors and systems, really. We’re afraid, albeit for varying reasons.
This came about because I had to have the fish sandwich. I thought I’d be okay because we were in San Diego–have the fish sandwich the devil inside tells me. Ever since I moved from Seattle to Phoenix I’ve had seafood issues. Usually with meals involving fish sandwiches and fish tacos 🤢🤮🤮🤢. I had one epic shrimp fiasco a couple of years after we moved here. Since then, I’ve really had to be careful. I became swollen, misshapen, and sick as all get out. It was awful. I ate seafood like a champ when I lived in the PNW. 🤷🏻♀️ Now, I’m wary. Very wary and for good reason. There’s nothing like tossing your proverbial cookies in front of 7 complete strangers. I was terribly fortunate they were such kind and caring women and that they didn’t hold it against me for throwing myself down the concrete stairs and barfing not once, but four times. At least I managed to pry myself off the floor and run outside to do it. This was at a writing retreat. 🤦🏻♀️
We were in some fancy, modern Air BnB that had steel, glass, and concrete all over the place. I caught my heel running down the first flight of stairs to catch up with these women. They thought I was staying behind with one other woman, whereas I thought they were waiting for me while I went to the restroom–neither was true. I wasn’t staying or going, I was falling. Feel or sound familiar, 2020? I managed to catch myself, sticking it with both feet on the landing, pivoting to descend the next flight. I was so pleased with my “catch” that I launched myself–I actually pushed myself off the landing like a swimmer’s starting block–and sent myself airborne. I had a moment of “Oh, I’m falling,” before I hit the wall, and multiple steps, before becoming a rumpled heap on the ground. The final straw was my water bottle flying out of my purse, making contact with the sliding glass door.
Odd thing? All I could think about was all the damage I was causing–“Oh, no! You’re going to break the sliding glass door.” Seriously? I could’ve broken my neck, back, or leg. I’m darned lucky I didn’t.
From outside I hear the teacher saying, “Did you hear something? It sounded like something falling.” Yes, a big something. Me.
They all came back to the house and are standing around me as I try to assure them “I’m fine.” I wasn’t. After a few moments I had to run outside–I don’t even know how I managed to pick myself up that fast because I couldn’t do it before–and toss my proverbially cookies. Sicker I had not been in a while. Wanting the ground to open up and swallow me whole was super real in that moment. This was the first few hours of the retreat, by the way. I was afraid it might’ve ended for me before it even started, but I was lucky. It was good, despite my unintended theatrics.
So, hasn’t 2020 kind of felt like an unintended trip down the concrete stairs in some way, shape, or form for everyone? That came to me this morning as Kiala Givehand gave us the prompt about “the temperature of the day.” Even more so to me since that fall happened the last weekend of January and I’m just now getting around to having surgery–because I delayed the inevitable; I didn’t take care of business. Whatever happens, it’s inevitable. We haven’t been taking care of our collective Self and now we’re paying a big price. We’ll make the best of it and at the very least we can no longer ignore what’s right in front of us. At least that’s my hope. Just because we’re noticing the ugly more than ever now doesn’t mean it didn’t exist before. We’re just more aware of it and now we must deal.
This year has toughened us and made us prove things to ourselves. We’re ready to rumble, tumble, and get up; take care of business. However that may look. The crumble before the rebuild. The free fall down the stairs.