my year of not falling

last winter, I fell 5 times.

these were not easy falls. each time was fast, abysmal, humiliating, vulnerable, lonely, with me trying to laugh while I silently assessed the damage. my knee, back, ankle, hip…body jarred and now not trusting itself. just awful.

this year I need a break from falling. not falling is a commitment I am making to my skeletal structure, to my flesh, to my future elder body.

so far i have learned that the work of not falling down, which can be read metaphorically or not, includes these practices:

- know all the layers you’re walking on. ice is under everything here…detroit tends to have rain before the snow. if you only see the snow, you are doomed. it’s the clear patches, the just-beneath, the frozen over ditch – that’s where ice awaits your forgetting.

- slow down. the faster you move, the faster you’ll fall. the time it takes to watch your step will keep you balanced.

- the ice is not being slippery, its nothing personal. it’s not about me. it’s just being ice. it is on me to transform my behavior.

- if you can’t handle the snow, the ice…if you can’t be present enough to not fall, then admit it. my favorite rapper, invincible, has a line about winters in detroit: ‘if you can’t take the winter, you don’t deserve summer.’ the past couple of years i was excited by the snow, excited by the challenge. even last year, when I wasn’t down, I was smiling. but this year,
a detroit summer will be a gift I don’t earn. I’m not ashamed, I see it as building up my tolerance.

- its really quite beautiful when you pay attention. the snow, the cold, the ice…letting yourself fall poisons your heart against this particular gorgeous display of water in multiple forms. if you can’t see the beauty in the moment, in the present, take a break. come back refreshed.

I’m looking forward to next winter. this winter, I am gifting myself a year of not falling.

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