By Hedley Galt
I took a fall today. Literally. And quite ungracefully. This wasn’t your standard trip-and-stumble followed by a quick check to see whether anyone saw. This was the full ankle-rolling, skin-scraping, blood-drawing, forward-flying experience with no chance of recovery and in broad-daylight for all to marvel at.
One minute I’m strolling towards the beach in a state of ‘isn’t life grand’ bliss and the next minute my foot has met with a pinecone and I’m on my arse, coloured stars and chirping birds circling overhead. What the @#%$? I thought, looking around at my new low-level surrounds trying to figure out what just happened.
A lady walking her puppy on the other side of the street witnessed my fall and came straight to my aid.
‘Are you okay?’ she asked.
‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘I think so.’
My ankle kind of throbbed, a layer of skin was hanging off my hand and I could feel the sudden throng of tears fast approaching… other than that I felt super! Actually, I felt shocked and shaky.
I can’t remember the last time I fell in such dramatic fashion. There was the incident in my mid-twenties while holidaying with a boyfriend in Vanuatu and I tripped over a rock while chasing him down the beach at three in the morning. But I had just consumed three Long Island Ice-Tea’s so that doesn’t really count. Nope, I can’t remember the last time I fell without an excessive amount of alcohol being a predominating factor.
‘Do you need help getting up?’ The woman asked while holding out her hand.
‘Yes, thank you.’ I said, putting my hand in hers and allowing her to take my weight as I wobbled back to standing.
This, I realised, was also a new experience. My ‘normal’ response would have been to put on a brave face and pretend that ‘I’m fine, everything’s fine’, declining her offer of help as I clawed my way back to standing before limping off through gritted teeth in search of a tree I could hide behind and have a good cry. Because it’s just not okay to fall or fall apart in public. That’s only to be done in private. Behind closed doors. Safe from the prying and judgmental eyes of the world.Or is it?
So many of us have been taught it’s not okay to let the world see us down. Or vulnerable. And in need of support. Somewhere along the way we got the message that we have to be strong. We have to suck it up and push on through. Never let anyone in on what’s really going on inside.
Sometimes this might be the required response but part of my journey is to remember it’s not the only response. Living a more authentic expression of who I am means accepting the vulnerabilities and frailties that come with being human. We are human.
And on a relative level, we’re not perfect. We will make mistakes. We might even make the same mistakes again. We will stumble. We will fall. It won’t always be graceful. And it might sometimes hurt. But we don’t have to pick up the pieces alone. There is help close by. And it’s okay to accept it. It doesn’t make us weak or inferior. It just makes us human. It makes us real. And perhaps more importantly, it makes us relatable.
What I’m learning throughout this process is that part of being authentic is allowing people to see me in every moment, whether I’m shining or stumbling over pinecones.
Ironically, it’s when we let the world in on the moments when we do trip and stumble that our authentic nature truly shines through.
Questions: Where in your life are you putting on a brave face? What is really going on for you? Who could you share this with?
Soul Sessions salutes the awesome Hedley Galt, author of
Real, Raw and Original: An Authentic Approach To Public Speaking
When and where will we all meet again?
Tomorrow? Fresh soul for your hole from Matt Omo ~ A Grand Love Story
Friday Feb 1? In person at our next live Soul Session, Sex Love and Domestic Bliss, Sydney April 10
Any time day or night? Soul Sessions Facebook page