Bitch on the Blog

December 19, 2016

Keeping a foothold

If I had to define one aspect of (my) life I’d say: Happy go lucky.

Happy GO lucky? Literally? Come again.

In all our lives there are “themes”. Bits that repeat themselves. One of mine is stumbling, falling over. I’d like to say: “No shit”, but that’s not the sort of language I employ outside my own hearing.

My headmistress and my English and German teacher told me that I was the only pupil they’d ever known to fly UP the stairs and do herself an injury. And thus my feet slowed me down – not often, but at measurable intervals.

I won’t bore you with an episode, in my late twenties, when one of my legs gave way often enough for me to even more lose my footing. Never has anyone curtsied as graciously and as often as I did – even in an ice cream parlour. People fell in love with me thinking I was Cinderella. To the rescue here they came. Which was sweet. One can only love so many (romantically that is, otherwise the heart is wide). And I was already in love with the future father of my future son. Unfortunately FOS had, and probably still does, tendency to see multiple sclerosis and other dreads where there are none. Anyway, so that went away on its own account. And, years later, when runner’s shin was not a diagnosis, acupuncture miraculously cured a pain never to return.

Remember we are talking walking. And losing your footing. For years everything was fine. I’d carry the Angel, even at age four and of corresponding weight, running down a hill in pouring rain without so much as one ankle giving way. Now?

Now? Don’t ask. One time I faltered – right at the doorstep of our front door – the Angel said, and never shall words ring more in my ears: “MAMA, you ARE a liability”.

That’s nothing. I could be dead or demented. Then I’d really be a liability.

Since, and in the last few months, I keep falling. Nothing broken. So that’s good. What is not so good – and the point of this post – that I have recognized the law of being conditioned. Yes, conditioned. Not flummoxed. Not fixated. Conditioned. Thus, or so my theory goes, phobias develop. Where, once upon a time, my nose was up in the air admiring the clouds, now my eyes are fixed on the ground. Trying to locate pot holes in the pavement before they trip me up. Negotiating decaying damp leaves before I can slip on them as if they were a discarded banana skin.

I wouldn’t say it’s depressing since it gives you a different perspective, one you didn’t have before. Nevertheless, I now find it daunting to set a foot outside. And, remember “conditioning”, I can barely bear dare to do so after darkness falls. Because then, guess what, I can’t see where I am going.

I am sure there is a life lesson in there somewhere, one of my beloved metaphors. But what is it?





  1. Comment by rummuser — December 19, 2016 @ 12:46 | Reply

  2. U could take up Judo or Jujitsu. The training teaches you the proper way to fall. We would get thrown down perhaps a hundred times on each workout, sometimes gradually working to increase the height of the fall.

    Comment by Looney — December 19, 2016 @ 14:16 | Reply

    • The Angel told/taught me how to “roll off my shoulder” – a technique he perfected when a skateboarder.

      Trouble is, and no more so than with my last two falls, that before you can gather a thought (never mind rolling off your shoulder) the whole episode is done. It took some viewing of CCTV the last time to even know what on earth had happened. I had no recollection other than a vivid Dartmoor Moor’s type of pull on my left foot. The next a (truly impressive) man scraped me off the ground.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — December 22, 2016 @ 15:11 | Reply

      • This discussion reminds me a bit of the time I had whooping cough. I found myself often waking up on the floor with inexplicable bruises.

        Comment by Looney — December 23, 2016 @ 14:24 | Reply

  3. Take care… Falling is NOT good, even if you’re not breaking anything.

    In the last few years, I have stumbled or fallen a number of times. I, too, need to be more careful. Some of those times were when I was trying to get a photo, paying more attention to the shot than to my footing. I’m getting to the age where falls of any kind can be serious.

    Be careful.

    Comment by Mike — December 19, 2016 @ 21:25 | Reply

    • Thank you, Mike. As you say, falls are not good. At any age. The bit I don’t understand is why they happen – more and more frequently. The irony being that until a few years ago I was the queen of killer heels. In all weathers, on all all pavements. And wouldn’t falter once. Now that (when out and about) I wear flats the tarmac is my puddle. it’s baffling.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — December 22, 2016 @ 15:14 | Reply

  4. Ah yes, I have a neurological condition which gives me some issues with mobility and balance so I also watch the ground like a hawk. I don’t like to go out in the rain for fear of slippery surfaces, i have more trouble with balance at night so I’m starting to prefer to stay home.
    I have had many falls, some of them have taken a lot of recovery so i do all I can to stay upright.
    All these precautions and phobia make me feel prematurely ancient.

    When you think of your metaphor, let me know!

    Comment by Kylie — December 19, 2016 @ 21:41 | Reply

    • Don’t feel “prematurely ancient”. You aren’t. Best I can up with this minute, by way of explanation, how much I take/took for granted. I will take a fall in my stride (!), HA. But am, nevertheless, slightly hurt by the sheer affrontery of my falling at all. At least, scant comfort, you have a diagnosed reason to occasionally feel “unbalanced”. I don’t.

      I think of the “metaphor” all right, Kylie. As I firmly believe that the body plays out the mind (and vice versa), it won’t make comfortable reading. But, yes, I will let you know.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — December 22, 2016 @ 15:21 | Reply

  5. Doing the best we can with what we have left. At my age I would not practice falling, but I do a lot of balance exercises and they seem to help. I also use ski poles when I walk up on rough terrain.

    Comment by Cheerfulmonk — December 19, 2016 @ 22:35 | Reply

    • “Ski poles”? My dear Jean, now I wish I lived once more where I did as a child. Namely where everyone and I mean everyone used ski poles as a matter of course on account of sky high snow. The fit, the old, the young, probably rabbits too.

      My mother, I can NOT imagine it, has bonded with her Rollator. Indoors. She is too proud to use it when outdoors. What the future holds. Sometimes I’d rather be transported back to skipping aged five.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — December 22, 2016 @ 15:27 | Reply

  6. I do a lot of leg exercises so my legs are pretty strong and I very seldom fall or even stumble. I only worry about falling if the pavements are icy. I expect Looney is right, that there are good and bad ways of falling and we need to learn the former.

    Comment by nick — December 20, 2016 @ 14:48 | Reply

    • There are “good and bad ways of falling”, as you say. Trouble is that, in my experience, it’s all over in such a flash you have no choice over “bad” and “good”. It just happens. Which is the disconcerting part.

      “Icy”? Nick, here is a brief and truly awful story I may have related before: Mother of one of the Angel’s friends (also one of his then teachers) walked along the pavement with a friend. Early evening. Her friend slipped on the black ice you mention. Mother/teacher (she should have known better) laughed. You know, that sort of banana skin laugh. Schadenfreude by another name. Seconds later she herself slipped. Talk about Karma. Next time (tragedy) her son (the Angel’s friend) opened their door to me whispered: “Careful, she isn’t the same any more”. And she wasn’t, and she isn’t.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — December 22, 2016 @ 15:34 | Reply

  7. U, there is a lesson and I figured it out many years ago after too many near-disaster experiences with winter sports/fun activities (long stories, same tragic heroine). I’ll share it with you because I care about you. Here is the motto I live by: never strap anything to my feet and expect it turn out well. So far, flat-soled shoes have been the exception. Slippers (an apt name) have not. I hope this helps. Merry Christmas!

    Comment by Lorna's Voice — December 21, 2016 @ 17:59 | Reply

    • Merry Christmas to you too, Lorna, one of my faithfuls through sick and sin. Reflecting on your comment, I think it’s been a long time since I strapped anything to anyone or anything. Obviously the Angel is strapped to my heart and my truly hopeless siblings will string me along as long as I live – even if only by a thread. Make mine silken. Or hair. Or whatever keeps the faith and strength. I have not yet reminded them of split ends.

      Bear Hug, and all the best, Lorna,

      Comment by bitchontheblog — December 22, 2016 @ 15:40 | Reply

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