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I Will No Longer Apologize for Falling Over Because of My Illness

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My most recent illness has given me the most useless superpower known to man: I can fall over anywhere and at any time. Recently, I was standing in queue outside a posh store and fell spectacularly on my arse, taking down with me the railings that had been put up to contain the queue. A collective “oooh” rose from the crowd as a security guard scooped me up off the floor. I apologized repeatedly as the poor man had to hoist me to the nearest chair.

It wasn’t the first time I’d fallen over that day and it wasn’t going to be the last. I have an, as of yet undiagnosed, problem with the nerves leading to my legs which means I randomly lose control of them. I walk with the aid of crutches, but still manage to fall over multiple times a day. I barely have time to recover from the embarrassment of one fall before I do it all over again.


Apologizing has become an automatic reaction to falling. I’ve even found myself apologizing to my cat when I fall over alone in my flat!

But why am I apologizing for something I clearly cannot control? After some soul digging, I found that the reason was I felt ashamed.
I was ashamed I have so little control of my body. I was ashamed I have to rely on the help of good Samaritans to get me back on my feet. I was ashamed of the inconvenience and embarrassment I cause to the people around me. In short, I was ashamed of my disability.

And so, from now on, I challenge myself not to apologize for falling over. If I find myself getting embarrassed about the situation and reaching for the s-word, I will remind myself of this one simple fact: My worth and value as a human being is not determined by something as inconsequential as how well my legs work.

From now on, I will fall proudly.

Follow this journey on Maladaptive May.

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Thinkstock photo via Eloi_Omella.

Originally published: September 28, 2017
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