Lessons for a Klutz

Bang. The side of my hand ricochets off a door jamb while I’m carrying a heavy box. Thud. I slam my hip into a table corner. Crash. I walk smack into the edge of a glass table top, shattering it and ripping up my shin.

Even more dramatic than the huge sheet of glass smashing into giant shards was the day I flew head first into a wall. Yeah, I know. What the hell? I was walking rather enthusiastically to open the door for the plumber, who had just solved a huge septic problem despite frozen ground and an inch of snow. I tripped. The momentum projected me about five feet. In fact, I may have gone even further given the chance, but an inconveniently located wall stopped my flight and I crashed loudly. I may have gone all woozy for a second. The pain in various body parts was not insignificant. But honestly my first thought was, “Really? I had to do that in front of witnesses?” The plumber and his assistant were outside pounding on the glass door shouting, “Are you okay?”

That graceful episode resulted in a giant egg on my forehead, a gash down my forearm and a seriously messed up finger. The middle finger on my left hand – with which I must have tried to block my impact—hit the wall tip first. Nail shattered and middle joint traumatized. To this day, months later, the joint is still huge and painful. The whole hand is compromised. Who knew one silly finger could affect strength and agility in a hand? (I bet an orthopedist would have known, had I visited one. With a $2000 deductible in my insurance policy, it did not seem important enough at the time.)

In the last 5 months, I have endured more minor accidents than in the 5 years prior. Blood, torn flesh, scuffed skin, bruises, you name it.

I keep thinking there is a lesson here. Maybe more than one. Here are the teachings of this period of clumsiness. At least the ones I have come up with so far:

  1. Slow down, you crazy woman! Look, listen, wait. Take stock. Just pause. Doing so may well protect my well-being (no more blood and gore), and it might also create a bubble around my vision, head and heart that will let me absorb more of what is in front of my face.
  2. I don’t have to be perfect. Glass tables break. They can be replaced. Bruises heal. And my vanity about having pretty hands – well it’s probably time to let that one go. I can be a klutzy idiot and still hold my head up, have self-respect and maintain my friendships. Well, except for that one friend who only loved me because of my balletic grace and ability to walk flawlessly through life. So screw her.
  3.  It’s okay to ask for help. So if I’m limping due to a pratfall, or stunned into stupidity by a bonk on the head or unable to use my left hand for a month, it’s okay to get help. This has always been hard for me. But now I find that when I ask, I receive. Odd.
  4.  It’ s okay to be the one who gets taken care of now and then. Sometimes it really is nice to have someone stand there in the bathroom with me while I drip scarlet onto the floor and delicately wrap my hand in a clean cloth.

I’m very hopeful that if I have learned these lessons well enough, the universe will now stop teaching me. I’m ready to move on to a less painful curriculum.

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