My family has always joked about my clumsiness, my lack of coordination, and my inability to walk and chew gum at the same time. I even earned the nickname “Grace”.
I didn’t like it.
Their teasing wasn’t entirely unwarranted. I’ve had more than my fair share of broken bones, stitches, scrapes and bruises. I think I just always set out to really experience life – and sometimes that involved an ER visit.
Friday afternoon I was making my way to a lunch on Park Avenue. As usual, there was no parking anywhere near the restaurant. I parked around the block on Berkley Street. It was a beautiful day, and I really didn’t mind the walk. Not even in (gorgeous, bright red) four inch heels. I strolled up Berkley with my purse looped into the crook of my arm and my phone in my hand, enjoying the beautiful day. And then it happened. My heel stuck in a crack in the sidewalk and I was pitched forward onto the sidewalk in what can only be described as a “face plant”. It was a spectacular splat, made even more special by the 30 or so people dining outside at Jines, directly across the street. They seemed to offer a collective gasp at my fall. I was on the sidewalk with a skinned knee and a bleeding elbow. I heard concerned voices from across the street “Is she okay? Is she okay?” Total humiliation for the clumsy girl nicknamed Grace. I popped back up onto my feet and nervously looked across the street. Everyone was looking at me. Good God, could this get worse? All I could do was laugh and announce (in my best Chris Farley voice) “I’m okay!”. Everyone laughed with me, and there was a smattering of applause. And then I did the only thing I could do at that incredibly humiliating moment…I put my shoe back on, picked up my phone, hooked my purse back into the crook of my arm and I took a very theatrical bow. My audience at Jines was most appreciative with their applause and cheers. It was fantastic!
It wasn’t very long ago that I couldn’t have pictured myself handling such a humiliating experience with such humor and grace. I’m sure I would have scurried off without looking up, and then after lunch walked all the way around the block the other way so that I wouldn’t have to pass by those tables again on the way back to my car. But I didn’t do that. I didn’t even consider it. I just got back on my feet, brushed off, laughed, and kept on going. It was awesome! It was funny, and it was silly. Sometimes silly is the only way to go.
So I realized something this morning as I was inspecting my banged up elbow. I may not always be graceful, but I am always full of grace. And sometimes grace looks like a humiliated woman laughing and taking a bow after a spectacular splat.
I realized something else this morning, too. I fall down a lot while I’m experiencing life – professional disappointments, a broken heart, or just a heel stuck in a sidewalk crack. I fall down and I get scraped up, sometimes a lot worse than others.
And I get up every time.