The Art of Being Clumsy

                I used to like to think of myself as super graceful. Somewhat of a Ginger Rogers, gliding smoothly across the floor like an elegant pink fog, drifting seamlessly in and out of rooms, dancing like an undiscovered prima-ballerina. I vividly remember watching the Olympic figure skating as a kid, thinking how easy it looked.

                For years I labored under the misapprehension that all those little daily trips and stumbles and face plants were just a slight side effect of having too much on my mind. Doesn’t everyone trip and stub their toes and slam their skirts in doors and tumble down stairs constantly? …
                No. Apparently everyone doesn’t. 
                It has taken me years to fully admit what I’m about to say:

                I am clumsy.

                While my dear friends have been hinting at this for years, it took a series of inciting incidents to prove to me that yes, I might in fact be oh so slightly less graceful than Ginger Rogers…
                Here are some examples of things that have lead to my realization:

  • In High School, the regular act of falling down stairs in passing period didn’t exactly make me the big woman on campus…There was the occasional kind co-nerd that helped me up, but not until after a flood of hoodlums had trampled over my limbs and notebooks…
  • Then in college, I had an acting professor who compared my entrance during a production of an Oscar Wilde play to “A baby colt stumbling to find its first steps.”
  • A few years ago, Jake and I took a little trip to Vegas (Let me say for the record that alcohol never improves my grace). After a particularly moving performance of Cirque de Soleil’s Love (if you ever get a chance to see it do so!), I stumbled down some steps… Then, as we walked down the strip after a fresh rain, I slipped banana peel style on the wet marble port-a-cacher of Caesar’s Palace in a fall that later resulted in a bruise on my hip the size of a bocce ball. 

                (In my defense – at one point during that weekend I was so, er, merry, that I got lost in a Casino Ladies Room, so maybe this trip isn’t a sure-fire example of my normal tendencies…)

  • About a year and a half ago, I was having a blast at a downtown celebration, when I decided to run to a couple bars over to meet someone. This resulted in full-fledged eating shit fall onto the ground. That resulted in a slightly cracked rib… 

                (Much more embarrassing than this however, is the fact that I still went to the Pediatrician. Nothing like being 23 years old and sitting on a firetruck table confessing you’re a bit foggy on the details of how you cracked your rib, but you wanted to make sure it was ok…)

  • This past fall in San Francisco, I was at the infamous City Lights book store when my boot caught on a step and I went thudding down a flight of stairs, barely saving myself by grabbing hold of a 60-someodd year old pipe that almost burst open over the works of Kerouac and Ginsberg. Luckily, my honey grabbed me and pried my thumb out from underneath, narrowly avoiding catastrophe, but not at all avoiding cheek-reddening embarrassment.
                Still, all of these incidents seemed a mere string of coincidences. I still ignored my critics who said I was a klutz, or clumsy. That was, until, New Years day this year…

  • In a bout of enthusiastic spontaneity, I convinced a small group of friends to hike up part of a mountain we were near to look at the city lights and take in the new year. Fabulous in theory, not so much in execution… To be completely honest, I didn’t quite realize what was happening until my face hit the rock and that major oh fuck feeling took over. I was fine… other than the hematoma and this black eye:

                Tripping down the mountain was the final straw. It made me realize: Maybe, just maybe, people have been right. might be clumsy. As much as I’d like to ignore it, I can’t. 

                HOWEVER – I have decided to embrace it. To take full responsibility for my gravitational challenges, and go forth with the same confidence I had when I was ignorant. It’s a quirk, an idiosyncrasy, another piece of the personality jigsaw puzzle… right?? 
                Some things I just need to accept. My hair will always be a little frizzier than I’d like, my patience low, and my grace will always be less than idyllic. But these all make me myself. I won’t let myself get down.
                Grace of spirit is more important than grace of balance.
                And that is the art of being clumsy.

PS – Even though I’ve made the choice to accept my clumsiness, I do fully intend to try my best to not trip on any more mountains…

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