In kindergarten, I used to fall almost every day when getting off the bus. All I had to do was walk across my driveway, but still, I managed to fall on the ground and scrape my knees on a regular basis.
Sometimes, we change. Of course we do. I’m glad I’m not the exact same girl I was in middle school, insecure and unsure. I’m glad I’m not the exact same girl I was sophomore year, unwilling to give anyone a chance.
But other aspects of us stay, in the midst of all the other changes we encounter.
A few months ago, as I was walking to the parking lot at my school, I slid and fell to the ground. Just like in kindergarten, I tore both my tights and my knee. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the awful flashbacks; I saw myself falling again and again as I got off the bus years ago.
But it was just one time. It could happen to anyone.
Just last week, I was walking out to the parking lot, and you’ll never guess what happened. I tripped over nothing and fell to the ground. I didn’t feel any pain, so I assumed there wasn’t any damage done. Once I got in my car and looked at my knees, though, I saw the truth. I saw the bruises and the breaks and the insecurities of my past; why can’t I just walk without falling?
And now, I’m starting to see the scabs.
Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I’ve actually changed. Here I stand, years older, still wearing ripped up tights and walking with bloody knees.
Here I stand, years older, still unable to find my balance as I walk a short distance.
Here I stand, years older, still carrying a backpack that’s way too big.
Here I stand, years older, still learning how to move without falling.
But do we ever learn how to not fall? Even in the most stable parts of our lives, do we never trip? Do we never stumble? Do we always make it to the top without any sort of scar or scab or scrape?
Though I’d love to stop falling all the time, I’ve realized that my goal is not simply to “not fall”.
If I want to move and make progress and take a leap of faith and step forward, then I have to fall at some point.
When I was younger, I’d cry every time I fell and someone would have to help me stand back up.
Last week, I kept walking, despite the pain, despite the blood, despite the fear.
I don’t need to learn how to avoid falling.
I’ve learned how to fall: how to keep moving, how to be okay, how to stand back up.
The Foo Fighters sing a song called “Walk.”
Well, I’m learning to
walk fall again.