What do Bob Dole, Stevie Wonder, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Kelsey Grammer, and Justin Bieber all have in common? All of them have fallen from the stage during a performance.
Let me go on record saying that I don’t fault any of them (especially Stevie Wonder) ,but in the many years I’ve been a speaker, I’ve not yet fallen off a stage! Yet! I will say that during a speech to 800 people many years ago, I was much more fearful of the black-hole-of-an-orchestra-pit less than 5 feet in front of me than I was of the 800 people!
I’m not sure what it is about falling that freaks me out. I think on some level it’s the fact that when we fall, people see us at our moment of greatest vunerability and unattractiveness! It ranks up there with fainting. Fainting is not attractive either! No one ever faints delicately like they do in the movies…. with a sigh, a hand raised to the forehead, before a graceful descent to the floor.
When I was eight months pregnant, I felt that I was going to faint once while in the grocery store. I, fortunately made it to the freezer section, slid my very wide backside down the wall of the freezer case and hurled my head between my knees which was already occupied by one mother of a belly! Yeah….. definitely not one of my most attractive moments although it did garner a lot of attention. But I digress….back to falling.
I also wear some pretty high heels from time to time but have yet to fall….and THAT’S saying something!
But yesterday, while running with my friend, Samantha, in my comfortable, cushioned Asics, I tripped over a tree branch on the side of a road, and hit the dirt! Hard! Unfortunately, in my heroic attempt to save my face and teeth, which I’ve spent the last few years straightening, I suffered a hairline fracture in my arm!
Before Samantha could realize I had just become roadkill, I jumped up! (Back to that unattractive thing). No anguished rolling around on the ground, no long, dramatic “is she dead?” scene. Noooooooo… I popped up immediately with the perfunctory “I’m ok” that others have been known to say just for a laugh.
Ask my husband someday about the time he slipped and fell hard on the ice when we were walking to our college classes. He totally wiped out! His feet flew out from under him and he landed flat on his back! He just stayed there……moaning. I’d like to tell you I was a caring girlfriend worried about the well being of her beloved. But as he lingered on the concrete sidewalk just a little too long, with students stepping around and over him, I hissed, “Get UP!!! You’re embarrassing me!!!” (I still can’t believe he married me!)
I’ve learned one thing about falling, both in running and in life. It doesn’t matter if you fall. It only matters that you get back up.