April 22, 2008
I Keep on Fallin'
This is a Guest Post by the fabulous Leslie Goldman, author of the blog The Weighting Game. We could do a really, really long introduction of Leslie because she's done so many cool things (she's written a book and is even the co-host of a TV show!) But rather than repeat ourselves, we'll refer you to her previous interview and urge you to go visit her fantastic blog. So here's Leslie!
Last week, I got sucked into watching some mind-numbing show on E! called "The Best of the Worst Red Carpet Moments." Twenty minutes in, I actively thought to myself, "I am voluntarily wasting 20 minutes of my life," and then quickly slipped back into a TV coma filled with wardrobe malfunctions, celebrity babbling and Joan Rivers' scratchy squawking. All in search of the elusive payoff: E!'s All-time Worst Red Carpet Moment.
Kimberly Stewart and Paris Hilton, all tan legs and blonde extensions, were straddling tricked-out motorcycles, in very tiny dresses, looking as hot as they possibly could. Then Stewart pushed a button which she shouldn't have and was inadvertently catapulted down the red carpet at seeming warp speed. She tumbled off, spread eagle, paparazzi bulbs flashing and, as she tugged at her skirt to cover her bruised thighs and ego, all I could think was, "That is totally something I would do."
You see, I am not at all kidding when I say I am one of the biggest klutzes ever. On a daily basis, I trip over invisible cracks, bump into tables and walls, whack my head against the ceiling of the car. I spill milk all over the counter, missing my cereal bowl by a mile. I politely tuck my dress under before sitting down, only to miss the chair and end up on the floor. You know those comedy sketches when someone is talking to a friend behind them and is so into the conversation, they fail to notice that they are about to walk right into a metal pole? I have been that person.
My clumsiness started at a very young age. At nine years old, I vividly remember riding my bicycle with a friend and yelling out, arms overhead, "Look, Nicole! I can ride with no hands!" Apparently, I could not. I crashed headfirst into a mailbox, knocking myself unconscious and the next thing I remember is being delivered by Nicole's mom to my house, blood splattered on my Tweety Bird sweatshirt, not knowing my own name. "Who is the President?" I recall my mother frantically asking me, checking for signs of amnesia. I did not know. (Now I just pretend I don't.) Ever since that concussion, my life has been a series of spazzy stumbles, scary spills, and shaving accidents on par the Carrie finale.
I have a sad scar on my knee from three years ago when, while running to get the eggs off the stove before they boiled over, my legs got tangled up in my long skirt. For what seemed like two minutes, I sailed through the air, my husband watching helplessly, before I landed on the hardwood floor. Knees, then wrists, torso and head. Thud, thud...thud, thud, thud.
Later, in that same apartment, I set fire to our bed during the worst of possible times, mindlessly tossing a pillow aside without thinking. It landed on a candle. All of the sudden I heard him scream, "Fire!" and I opened my eyes to see flames lapping toward the ceiling. I tried to smother it with our comforter as my husband ran for water but unfortunately, my gentle fanning with the duvet was not forceful enough -- embers flew up and a chunk of them landed on my wrist, literally melting my skin away and resulting in an awful burn. As my beloved came to the rescue with a pitcher of water, I writhed in agony on the berber carpet with no one to blame but myself.
The strange thing about all of this is, I consider myself a fairly graceful woman. I've been a dancer my whole life, am 5'11" with a long neck and have been told, on numerous occasions, that I am well-poised, elegant even! So what makes me do things like rush to squeeze into the ever-decreasing space in a revolving door compartment, as I did at a wedding recently, only to get caught between the moving partition and door jamb, resulting in a massive head rattling, forearm bruise and public humiliation?
Apparently, the answer lies in stress and a hectic schedule, both of which I have plenty. Research shows if you're uptight and constantly focused on what you have going on five minutes from now, your muscles tense up, leading to jerky movements like sending water glasses sailing or whipping your head around and smacking your skull into the stranger behind you at the grocery story (yes, I've done both). So I guess my take-home lesson should be, when I notice more and more cuts and bruises showing up, I should take that as a sign. Slow down. Take a yoga class. Stop the ridiculous multitasking (hello, walking downtown while emailing on my phone, sipping an iced coffee and juggling my laptop and gym bag).
On a more a more serious note, accidents and unintentional injuries are a leading cause of death among all ages according to the CDC; experts suggest those people who consider themselves serial klutzes may want to examine their lifelong accident patterns and see if something deeper is at work. Depression, for instance, may cause a person to, say, not pay attention while driving, crossing the street, or bounding down the stairs.
I myself had a stair mishap but I'm pretty sure depression wasn't at the root: slippery socks were. That evening I was feeling particularly domestic and decided to mop the bathroom floor. Afterwards, I carried the bucket of dirty water and mop down two flights to the basement. Almost at the bottom, my right leg slipped out from under me. As I began to tumble, my butt hitting the first stair with a sickening crack, I had the clarity of though to realize the bucket of nasty bathroom floor water was now careening through the air, about to splash all over me. Four stairs from the bottom I attempted executing a MacGyver-like roll to the side but it was for naught. The pain upon impact was too much and I lay there, covered in mop water, legs splayed, bruises already forming...a poor woman's Kimberly Stewart.