I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Falling While Fat


I would never refer to or describe myself as graceful, except perhaps in jest. I won’t go so far as to say that I’m terribly clumsy or unbalanced, but I am whatever it is that I am (I just am) and this means that from time to time I fall or trip or stumble. It’s not a big deal, except when it is! And when you’re fat it is always a big deal. Ugh!

My husband probably has nightmares about my falling because even when I just stumble a bit and catch myself, he acts as though I’m flying through the air into giant steel horror film inspiring spikes from hell. I fall about once a year I believe and while it’s not always in public, it is those instances that stick out in my mind, but mostly due to people’s reactions and not due to some sort of injury I sustained or anything.

The first public fall I remember was just awful! I was wearing these new slide-on sandals with a rubber soul. The problem was that the heel of it was rounded and thus not entirely stable. I didn’t realize this of course until I fell in a grocery store. *ShakesHead* I just sort of turned my ankle and fell. No biggie, right? Wrong! You would have thought an old lady was having a heart attack the way baggers and checkers and regular Joe’s came a-runnin’ to my aid. Only, I didn’t need or want any aid, let alone any attention. I was beet red (or probably more resembling a boiled lobster in color) and just wanted to get the fuck out of there. But the manager, I am sure, was worried about a law suit, while I was just worried about saving face! I threw those shoes out the moment I got home.

The next public fall I recall was on our flight back from Europe. I think it was the flight from Ireland to England’s Heathrow airport. We were deplaning (this is the most hilarious term for exiting a plane, y’all!) and just as I crossed the threshold from plane to tunnel/tube/whatever that thing is you walk through to get to the terminal, I somehow got caught up on a small bit of diamondplate (like a steel plate with x’s on it) and slammed my knee into the diamondplate and the rest of me onto my suitcase. The flight crew looked horrified. The passengers held up behind me were horrified (if not peeved that I was holding them up with my fall). My husband was in near shock. I just wanted to evaporate! Little did I know that my knee was actually quite fucked and I would spend the next 12 hours in horrible pain from the swelling and being cramped into a coach aisle seat, which I’m actually grateful for since I could stretch it out a bit from time to time.

And then I broke my foot! Such a stupid and boring story, I think. I was a corporate trainer for a mortgage company/bank and I was visiting an office out in central California and as I was walking (not in heels for once, at the time), my heel or toe caught the edge of a walkway and I flung forward onto my briefcase (gotta love these luggage landings). Only something wasn’t right, my right foot was white-hot and I couldn’t feel it entirely. So I shoved my shoe back onto it (and mule type of slip-on, quite comfy actually) and went on in to train the peoples. When I fell, about four people came running out of the office to help me up. What a first impression, eh?  To make matters worse the people I was there to train were complete assholes to me about the new program I was there to train them on. But I digress. On my long-ass drive back home (3 hours I believe), my foot became increasingly painful. Like scary painful? On top of that I got a call from some headquarters jerk-off that decided that was the right time to be a prick and start yelling at me and question my authority when I absolutely had the fucking authority to ask for the cell phones for employees he was organizing. So that ended up with me hanging up on him and crying my entire face off. Turns out I had a tiny fracture and while I didn’t miss any work, I was in a lot of pain for a long time and have sworn off uncomfortable shoes ever since. No, I don’t care how cute they are. Fuck them!

I’m sure I’ve fallen a few times since, but I can’t quite remember any specifics. Until this passed Saturday morning. I was in a hurry to open the cafe, but needed some milk and stopped at a local drugstore a block away. I entered the parking lot (in my car, duh) and as I pulled into the first spot in the row my back tire caught this sliver of a curb. Funny thing…I get out of the car and grab my canvas bag and wallet and rush towards the store. Only, my left toe (I’m wearing flip-flops) catches that same damned sliver of a curb and I go flying like the lowest flying superman ever! This woman walks up slowly and says quietly but sternly, “Are you alright?” and I say, “Yeah, I’m okay. Thanks.” and when I look up she’s already entering the store. She didn’t actually give a shit! Nice! No, seriously, I don’t want people to fuss unless I’m like “hey help!” or whatever. But oh well. I am fine, I was embarrassed, but since not many people were around so early on a Saturday I wasn’t too concerned. But damn if it doesn’t still sting! My hands and left arm got a bit scraped up, but no blood thank the stars. You know that stinging-burning sensation you get from a scrape? THAT SUCKS!!! I HAS IT!!! Ha-ha! And I think I chipped my big toe nail which sucks because I was going to paint them when I got home.

So, I am left wondering, would the reaction be different if I were smaller in size? Is it the mere sight of so much flesh (and assssssss, heh-heh) hitting the ground that causes this extreme of a reaction? Do smaller people never fall or trip? Have you publicly fallen? How did people react? I once tripped walking from the kitchen to the living room by catching my toe on that lip of carpet that divides the room, my husband was so freaked out! I was totally fine and laughing the entire way down (it was a slow-mo one), but he was so shaken that he was mad at my laughing about it. Oh well. We can’t control other people’s reactions to us, so why not just be a fucking bad ass on the regular, right?!

I would like to hear from other fats about their experiences like this. Or perhaps you got an entirely different response? Tell me all about it! =0)

posted under fat, Fat Acceptance
42 Comments to

“Falling While Fat”

  1. On July 25th, 2011 at 4:54 am Psycho Sue Says:

    I fall a lot too. I usually cant stop laughing at myself. those slo mo ones are the funniest. I am piss in my pants scared, but its still funny to me later. I never thought about the fat connection to falling. I always fell off stuff, skinny or not hahaha

  2. On July 25th, 2011 at 7:34 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Psycho Sue: I love laughing at myself, especially during a slo-mo fall, I mean, it’s just a bizarre feeling! I mentioned my fall to my husband later that same day and he was horrified and wanted to dress wounds that don’t exist and insists that fat falls more since it’s more easily put off kilter. I don’t buy this, but what can ya do? Miss ya doll, how are you? <3

  3. On July 25th, 2011 at 5:17 am Shieldmaiden1196 Says:

    Whenever I’ve fallen publicly I’ve defaulted to my old ‘class clown’ job and made a big joke about it. If I’m honest its a knee jerk ‘laugh at yourself before THEY laugh at you’ reaction. I once fell off a treadmill at a gym because I was scootching to the right to avoid getting sweat flung on me by the gross man on the next mill and my right foot came down half on the belt, half on the side. I landed on my butt and for some reason thought the mill would just stop. It didn’t. It ejected me at a high rate of speed directly into the knees of the woman behind me who was in a step class. (The machines were situated around the edges of an aerobics room.) I got up, despite pain and rugburns and whatnot and got right back on that treadmill because I was afraid that if I went back into the locker room they’d laugh at me. I still have scars.
    (And to be honest, that WAS a little funny. This guy used to run flat out for an hour like he was qualifying for the Boston Marathon and he wore those thin cotton short liners that are supposed to be worn UNDER another pair of shorts, so if you stood next to him you got treated to major man tool juggling and the fact that he splattered sweat all over the mirror. I had a pretty good reason for cowering on the right side of the belt.)

  4. On July 25th, 2011 at 7:39 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Shieldmaiden1196: Oh gawd! That sounds awful! Not just your fall, but that icky sweat-man in the non-shorts! How they didn’t kick him out I’ll never know. Yikes! Yeah, I don’t do the defensive laughing at myself thing as much these days, but you’re right in that situation they probably would have laughed at you and this angers me so. That anyone thinks that this is okay to do. I mean, it’s one thing when a toddler plunks down on their diapered bum (hilarious!), but when someone could have obviously been injured? Not so funny! I can’t watch those stupid injury celebrating shows (I’m thinking skateboarding dudes) always leaves me feeling sick. When I first read your comment about being a class clown for a second I thought you were going to say you knew how to fall or come out of one from clown school! Ha-ha! Glad you could walk away from that incident though. <3

  5. On July 25th, 2011 at 5:24 am Charlotte Says:

    I like this post a lot because it reminds me of how vulnerable and human it is to fall. I can’t remember when I last fell, but I can remember some particular falls: tripping over some stupidly designed shoes in the middle of the road; breaking my foot on some dodgy pavement. I don’t know if people have come to my rescue, I think I’ve just picked myself up and dusted myself off afterwards.

  6. On July 25th, 2011 at 7:42 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Charlotte: Yes, I much prefer to pick myself up and just carry on with my day, but somehow my falls tend to happen in very public spaces. And with stupidly designed shoes still being made and uneven pavement at every turn, I suppose the dangers are lurking. Ha! But relate-able? Absolutely! This is why I write about even the most embarrassing aspects of my life, I know deep down that many others have had similar experiences and I love that we have spaces, online or otherwise, to share these things. Otherwise we would all just keep thinking we’re freaks. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  7. On July 25th, 2011 at 5:49 am O.C. Says:

    Y’know, I’m sure that “falling while fat” is part of it, but I also think that people are just generally alarmed to see someone fall. It’s so sudden! With scary “splat” noises! And it’s so easy to get hurt in weird ways! The woman who blew past you at the drugstore seems to be the exception. Most people, I suspect, would stop and be concerned.

  8. On July 25th, 2011 at 7:43 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @O.C.: Yes and most are very concerned if not alarmed. When I mentioned that lady to my husband he was shocked. He couldn’t imagine a person being so flippant. I was relieved, honestly. But he was so upset about my fall that he wanted to dress wounds I didn’t have. He’s a sweetheart.

  9. On July 25th, 2011 at 5:50 am C Says:

    I’m, I guess, an inbetweenie, size 12ish or so and tall, so I basically pass for not fat. I have dainty ankles that wobble and I have teetered or fallen in public a few times. People have very similar reactions. If you just wobble, they might glance at you with concern. If you smack the hell out of the ground, some are going to gather round and fuss and try to help you no matter what size you are. I was walking across campus once and turned my ankle on a totally flat path. Smacked the ground, sprained my foot (and as it turned out) torqued my pelvis out of alignment which gave me back and pelvic problems for several months until a PT figured it out. That time a young guy who happened to be passing had to help me up, for which I was appreciative. It’s embarrassing. The weak ankle thing is genetic, I’ve read. I wear flat shoes 99% of the time.

  10. On July 25th, 2011 at 8:26 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @C: Yeah, I was just telling my husband that it’s not just fats that fall! He insists that there is a higher percentage, but I think it’s just people are people and we fall. I’m sorry your fall caused so many injuries. That is just awful! But the thing is, you could have that same fall on a different day and have none. Life is nuts that way. Thank you for sharing your story here. I don’t often hear from inbetweenies, but I love hearing from anyone, so please come back! =0)

  11. On July 25th, 2011 at 5:51 am Heather Says:

    I fall quite often, especially when I was working and going to college and running around pretty much all of the time. Like you, people always rushed to my aid, asking if I was alright. I always found it to be flattering and I was always thankful. If someone falls I do the same- run to them to see if they’re alright- regardless of size. And I’ve seen thin people fall and people rush to their aid as well. I take it as a good thing- it means that people are polite and nice and care about the well being of others, at least in the sense of physical injury. Yes, falling is embarrassing, but it doesn’t seem, to me, like people rushing to the rescue have anything to do with the size of the person who fell.

  12. On July 25th, 2011 at 8:28 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Heather: Oh good! See, I had this suspicion, but I wasn’t so sure, you know? I do think the rushing part has more to do with my falls than much else. I’ll have to remind my husband of this. Thank you for reading and commenting. Love that pic of you, too! <3

  13. On July 25th, 2011 at 5:57 am Dee Says:

    I almost never fall. Maybe it’s because I’ve been the same size and shape for so long. I’ve roller-skated, ice-skated and roller-bladed, skied, backpacked, had a job where I was always climbing ladders onto flat roofs…all at the size I am now. I’ve always been big, and I’ve always been coordinated and good at balance. Hum. Could be partly because I have a low center of gravity (I’m pear-shaped).

    However, I’m with you 100% on the uncomfortable shoe avoidance.

    The one time I can remember falling in public – on ice in downtown Toronto – a couple of people asked me if I was alright, but I wasn’t down long enough to cause much of a stir. I was so embarrassed that I hopped right back up to my feet and brushed myself off as fast as I could.

  14. On July 25th, 2011 at 8:29 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Dee: I am a pear as well, but I have been falling all of my life. I was a very active kid and teen and still fell plenty. Especially ice skating! Ha-ha! Another commenter pointed to the fact that her falls mostly happen when she’s rushing and this makes me wonder if this is my issue as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. =0)

  15. On July 25th, 2011 at 6:33 am mimbles Says:

    Oh, I’ve got a few of these stories.

    A couple of years ago after our local shopping centre was renovated – Raining outside, walk into shopping centre, observe man posting up sign that says the new moving ramp is slippery when wet, step onto ramp, foot goes straight out from underneath me, down on one knee, no injury but very embarrassed. I didn’t look round to see how the man reacted.

    On the Easter weekend this year – Walking from a lighted marquee into the pitch dark rainy outside wearing replica Viking shoes (no grip at all) almost did involuntary splits and landed in black mud. There were people around but it was like I was invisible, no one seemed to notice. That one really hurt, and scared me, I had visions as I went down of having to do the whole camping thing with a dislocated knee. I was lucky though, just a bit sore.

    When walking from the car to the shop to pay for the fuel I’d just put in I stepped on a metal plate in the ground and went down heavily on one knee right at the feet of a man who’d just got out of his car. I swear I heard him breathe in in horror. He asked was I ok, I said “Yep, I’m fine” gathered myself up and went in to pay. I was lying though because that was the 3rd fall in less than a week on the same knee – 1st was the viking shoes incident mentioned above, then on my own front deck, then this one. I was limping and aching all over for a couple of weeks after that series.

    I have a vivid and recent memory (sometime in the last few years I think) of ending up flat on my back on damp grass in public and lying on the ground laughing as concerned people asked if I was ok, but I really can’t remember how I fell or where I was. Weird.

    My husband has been known to observe helpfully that I’d better not fall over because there’s no way he can pick me up – last time he said that was on Saturday night as I was climbing into the passenger seat of our van a little unsteadily on account of the large amount of alcohol consumed during dinner at our friend’s place. I think he was just jealous because he was the designated driver and therefore hadn’t been able to indulge freely 🙂

  16. On July 25th, 2011 at 8:34 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @mimbles: Ha-ha! You sound like me (in regards to the alcohol and getting into the car)! But you know, as long as I have something to steady myself I can usually manage on my own or my husband has helped me up once (the airplane incident). Pick me up? Hmm…I doubt that! He wants to try but I won’t let him. He weighs 170, I weigh 300-340! No way! He’ll hurt himself! Ha-ha! It is a relief to know that not only am I not alone in the falling stuff, but it’s not just fats either. Another commenter pointed to the fact that her falls mostly happen when she’s rushing and this makes me wonder if this is my issue as well. Possibly yours, too? The gas station one sounds like the most embarrassing. But the laughing on the grass? That just sounds fun! Sorry, I don’t mean to make light of it, but it doesn’t sound like you were injured at least. Sorry to hear about your knee injury though. It do get the worst of my longer-lasting injuries in my ankles and knees, so I understand. *Hugs*

  17. On July 25th, 2011 at 6:45 am Beth Says:

    I’m almost 300 pounds. I was working at a fast food restaurant. Drive thru order takers also have to wash all the dishes. I was training this 40ish year old guy, so he was washing the dishes and I went to help after taking an order and there was so much water on the floor at that time, I slipped next to the sink, backwards, smacking my shoulder on the giant metal sink on the way down. Landed on my back and then smacked my head on the floor. Fun times. Felt soooo embarrassed. The manager (one of my best friends, who is around the same weight as me) stayed up in the front of the store, laughing her head off. Two other employees pointed and laughed. I’m convinced it’s cause I was fat. But the guy training me helped me up, asked if I was alright multiple times the rest of the night ’cause he saw how hard I hit my shoulder/head. And he told me my fall was very graceful. Ahaha bunch of BS but I appreciated him trying to make me less embarrassed. End of my rant!

  18. On July 25th, 2011 at 8:36 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Beth: Oh gawd! See I would have sent you to the hospital for a head smack like that! Yikes! And I bet you were in a rush to help the next customer? I think we fall more when rushing. Thank you for sharing your story here. So glad to see comments from people I don’t normally get to hear from. THANK YOU! <3

  19. On July 25th, 2011 at 6:58 am Carolyn Says:

    Wai hello!

    I have publicly fallen several times. For perspective, I am 5’8 and 370lbs. For me the issue is, when I fall, I instantly revert to being about 5 years old. I want to cry, and I want a hug. I also am somewhat afraid to fall at my size because in past experience, it usually ends with some pretty sever bruising/spraining in the hands/wrists that I catch myself with.

    In all honesty, I don’t think I have ever received much of a reaction from people when falling in public with one exception. For a while I was walking myself to work in the mornings. I live in a small Idaho town, and it was mid-january, so we had ice and snow on the ground. I was strolling along on what looked like perfectly normal sidewalk that turned out to be a fricken ice-rink thanks to roof runoff. I fell so fast and so hard that I barely knew what happened. I was wearing a backpack with my work clothes in it which left some remarkable bruising, and I happened to land about 1/4 of my body on a wooden bench nearby. One utterly horrified man cut through 3 lanes of traffic, rolled down his window to ask if I was alright. I assured him I was and then hobbled/cried my way to work where I went home a few hours later due to the swelling in my knee.

    My husband is always greatly concerned and very loving if I fall, but that’s just the way he is. He’s a big softy! I’ve seen other people fall in public, beyond asking if they are okay, I didn’t think many people made a big deal of it. Maybe it’s because of the area I live in? Could it be a regional cultural sort of thing in response to peoples well being?

  20. On July 25th, 2011 at 8:39 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Carolyn: It could be that, or that I fall in very crowded places! Ha-ha! And I do think it has something to do with rushing around trying to get things done. When I’m in such a rush I’m not as mindful of my steps or surroundings, possibly. That fall sounded awful! Hitting a bench? Ouch! Reminds me of a fall I had a couple of months ago, I caught myself on the bench I didn’t know was there. I just thrust out my hands and there it was, though it did gouge my shin just a bit to cause a hideous bruise. Oh well. I was rushing then, too. =0)

  21. On July 25th, 2011 at 7:54 am Elizabeth Says:

    I actually never fall, to which I credit my lifelong ballet study…I think that falling is partly a result of the “trip up” and partly the result of an inability to “catch oneself” by not training one’s balance points/muscles to overcome the gravity, etc.

    I do think the reason people rush to help is that, in fact, a fall from someone my size (5’3″, dress size 24) can have implications that a fall for someone else may not…me and my weight falling on my own arm or leg which is bent wrong or twisted, is a great deal of weight coming down! Even if a leg or arm is barely in the “wrong” position, the weight during a fall…which is increased thanks to our friend Gravity…can push the joint down, etc…making everything worse, yuck!

    If it concerns you…and of course we do all age, and falls are a problem for all aged people regardless of size or gender…I would suggest ballet to learn your gravity center and balance points/strengths, and how you might learn the ways to “rescue” yourself mid-fall?
    I do know that I have extraordinary balance due to ballet, and I am counting on it all to be there for me in the coming decades! (I’m about to turn 50).

    As you learn your balance points, muscles will strengthen in exactly those places and ways…and when you try to “rescue” yourself, you will be much more effective! Those muscles CAN and will pull you back once they are trained.

    Best of luck, and PS: I take ballet at community colleges, where 4 months of lessons cost me less than $100! I also do it nearly daily at home, as it’s a lifelong passion for me. Yep, that’s me, the fat ballerina!

    Also, I’m a newer reader and first connected to your blog through “Notes from the Fatosphere”.

  22. On July 25th, 2011 at 9:35 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Elizabeth: Welcome & It’s great to hear from you! I have always loved ballet, though I’ve never taken a class. I wonder how someone of my size would be received in a community college environment? I don’t have the money to spend now, but I did take Tai Chi a few years ago for similar reasons as you’ve described. I enjoyed it, but the class was all senior citizens and me and my husband. It was fine actually, but after we learned the basics that was it. I certainly wasn’t ready for an advanced class, but wanted more of the basics or at least a routine I could do at home. This was with the community center for adult education though, so it may be different elsewhere.
    I love the thought and images a fat ballerina brings to mind. I have seen the fat ballet troupe from, is it Russia? It’s gorgeous and wondrous and I look at those images for ages and never tire of it! Thank you for the suggestion and for sharing your thoughts on the subject. I hope you come back again soon. =0)

  23. On July 25th, 2011 at 10:39 am Patsy Nevins Says:

    I have cerebral palsy lifelong balance issues, as well, now, as arthritis & joints which are nearly 62 years old. I drag my left foot when I walk, trip & stub my toe a lot, & fall easily. I have had one injury serious enough to need medical attention in all those falls, when I smashed my left kneecap (my CP is also mainly on the left side) 31 years ago. I am just under 5’6″ & weighed around 180 at the time; now, post-menopause, it more like 215. Actually, I think that tiny, thin, fine-boned people are at much greater risk of serious injury than we more well-padded folks are; they are certainly at much higher risk of osteoporosis than we are. Everyone falls occasionally, some of us more than others, & it is embarrassing to everyone; I looked around to see who saw me even when I smashed my kneecap. But falls are a part of life &, aside from actual injuries, they are not really a big deal. Hell, football players fall 30-40 times in one afternoon, often with several very large people piling on top of them. I, however, am VERY glad that I do not have to fall 30-40 times in one day.

  24. On July 25th, 2011 at 10:56 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Patsy Nevins: You make some great points (which I will excitedly share with my husband)! I do think the extra padding is helpful in this. And I don’t think anyone is ultimately immune to the occasional spill. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. And yeah, financially ballet is currently inaccessible for me, as well. But I do worry how someone over 300 lbs would be treated in such a class. More research will be needed before I take such a plunge.

  25. On July 25th, 2011 at 10:42 am Patsy Nevins Says:

    And I know that your information is very helpful to most people, Elizabeth, but I am not able, even as someone who has exercised all my life, to improve my balance & strengthen the right muscles. It sounds great for those who can.

  26. On July 25th, 2011 at 11:18 am Rachel Says:

    Ugh, this resounds so hard with me. Due to my many health issues-I’ll just say fibro, and everything that comes with it-I fall and wobble all the time, and am reminded of my clumsiness much more often than I’d like, honestly. It’s nice to hear from other people who go through the same thing!

  27. On July 25th, 2011 at 11:39 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Rachel: I wasn’t sure what type of response I would get with this post, but damn am I glad I posted it! It seems this is such a normal fucking thing, ya know? Ha! Clumsiness? I don’t think so. But I don’t know for sure. Loving you from afar and all! <3

  28. On July 25th, 2011 at 11:33 am BigLiberty Says:

    I’ve only fallen once (in public) while fat, and that was a compound fall. My heel caught the cuff of some wide-legged LB workpants down a narrow, dangerous winder in an old Boston property. All my coworkers heard me fall down the stairs, banging my tailbone for half a flight. They were very worried; I was so embarrassed I just bolted.

    Then later on in South Station, at the top of the escalator from the Red Line, I just collapsed, crumpling like a rag doll — probably some nerve thing after hitting my tailbone. People just walked by. Seriously. No one asked me if I was okay, or even looked at me twice. No one. And there were a STREAM of people walking by. It was so surreal. I wondered later if it was because I was fat, that I was so completely an utterly ignored. I have no idea. I think it was probably mostly because it was Boston. I tried to call my husband but since I was still partially underground, my phone didn’t get great reception. All he heard was that I “collapsed” and then the phone cut out. He was out of his mind with worry.

    I hauled myself up (several minutes later, no one helping the collapsed person on the train station floor with people streaming by constantly and security officials everywhere), then hobbled to the second set of escalators up to the commuter line floor. I rode the commuter line back an hour, then drove the remaining half hour from the train station to my house in some of the worst pain of my life.

    I’ll never forget how surreal it was to watch people streaming by like I was invisible. I still have nightmares about it.

  29. On July 25th, 2011 at 11:42 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @BigLiberty: Wow! That has to be the worst fall story I’ve heard! I’m so sorry you even had to go through that! What an ordeal?! Did you sustain lasting injuries? I cannot imagine. And that no one helped or even asked if you were okay? Yikes! That is such a traumatic event, I have no doubt the nightmares you must have from that. *Hugs* I guess we just never know until we’re in the moment. <3

  30. On July 25th, 2011 at 12:01 pm The Well-Rounded Mama Says:

    I’ve fallen more than a few times over the years. It’s embarrassing to have people express concern, but I’d rather they did than didn’t. It’s only considerate to ask if you are okay. I do it for others when they fall.

    Generally I take a bow if it’s an especially theatrical or embarrassing fall. That puts everyone at ease. Otherwise I just reassure folks that I’m okay and evaluate to see how my body is really doing. Don’t be a martyr and try to laugh it off as no big deal if it is.

    My scariest fall was down my garage stairs (steep) with a baby in my arms. I was afraid she would hit head-first. So I twisted while I fell and managed to fall on my side, taking most of the force, and getting my hand behind her head to cushion it. She was fine, me not so much. But I kept her from harm, which was the important thing. That was not my worst fall but it was definitely my scariest. Yow.

    Let me put in a word here for seeing a chiropractor if you have a significant fall or even a minor car accident. The advantage of big bodies is more padding for when we fall, but the disadvantage is that then we have a greater force acting on our joints and tend to sustain more damage.

    Although your body will compensate for most minor damage and in time you won’t be in as much pain, it does take its toll long-term on your body, and the compensation your muscles make for an untreated injury will turn around and bite you big-time in the long term.

    When you’re young you can shake off a lot of these injuries, but they will take their toll as you age. Getting treated can help lessen the problems with that cumulative toll and help you be more mobile and in less pain as you age. Trust an old lady on this!

  31. On July 25th, 2011 at 1:38 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    @The Well-Rounded Mama: I trust you! And thank you for pointing this out. My husband is a massage therapist and works with me when I am injured. I cannot sing the praises of a good and thorough icing regimen enough! Had worked miracles for me. But I have gone to chiropractors and have great experiences there, too. That is a scary fall story. My goodness. I can imagine all of the fears rushing through your mind whilst falling. So glad nothing truly tragic occurred. Thank you so much for sharing your story here. I love your blog!

  32. On July 25th, 2011 at 12:18 pm ako Says:

    I’m visibly disabled (I use crutches) and fat. Occasionally I trip and fall in public. The most serious injury I’ve ever had from that kind of fall was a sprained ankle, and that only happened once. (I broke a rib as a kid, but that was “Falling off a very fast thing while dangling sideways like a monkey”, not ordinary falling.) I’m pretty good at falling without injuring myself, and getting back up unassisted.

    Sometimes people scream when I fall. If you want to feel self-conscious, try having someone give out a panicked scream because you tripped on something. Also, people tend to swarm me and try to drag me upright, even when I’m saying “I’m okay, I can get up myself.” I’m heavy enough that very few people actually can drag me upright, so it’s mostly just being swarmed by half a dozen people tugging at me while I stand up. People tend to ignore a disabled person saying “I don’t need help.” I’m not entirely sure why.

    There’s also a tendency to stand in a really unbalanced position, leaning forward, with one hand extended to help me up. I am both quite heavy and much stronger than people tend to assume. If I grab the hand and try to pull myself up, I am quite probably going to pull that person down on top of me. So I put my hands on the ground, push myself up that way, and they look at me like I just spat in their face. (If it’s practical to give the three-minute explanation of balance, weight, and other practicalities, I do, but often they just look hurt and walk off.)

    Much like you, I wish people would stop fussing and leave me alone unless I was calling for help or unconscious or something. I’m basically fine, it’s embarrassing to be fussed over like that, and the help offered is nearly always unhelpful.

  33. On July 25th, 2011 at 1:41 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    @ako: I cannot imagine an outright scream of terror, but my husband does react irrationally (I think). Sometimes his reaction is way worse than any fall I could have managed. Oh well. Yeah, I have had that too when people try to help you up but you’re both heavier and stronger than they. Oh! You didn’t realize I’m actually more than a bowl of jelly? Yeah, that’s how I get around people! Thank you so much for sharing here today. I had no idea this post would get such a response! =0)

  34. On July 25th, 2011 at 12:19 pm Dark Angel Says:

    I’m not fat, but I am blind. So I tend to walk into or trip over things quite a lot, usually stuff people leave around on the pavement. I also find that people react very dramatically when this happens, even when I’m perfectly okay. I usually just smile and say ‘it’s okay, I’m used to it’. 🙂

  35. On July 25th, 2011 at 1:46 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    @Dark Angel: I cannot stand that people use common walkways and sidewalks as some sort of dumping ground or storage place. I know it’s not at all similar, but when walking my dog I often have to step out into the street to get around people’s things or trash in the way. It’s not safe for anyone and it pisses me off. It’s worse when it’s something hazardous like glass or chemicals. I don’t understand why anyone thinks that this is okay, but I digress.
    Have you ever been injured from a fall? I’m guessing peoples reactions vary from what other commenters have said, but I would also guess that the severity of the fall would matter, too. I think we all have our own preference on how we’d like to be treated in that situation. I’m so glad I posted this today. So many stories from so many wonderful people. Thank you!

  36. On July 25th, 2011 at 12:42 pm Twistie Says:

    I am not a graceful person, either. On the other hand, I’m usually Weebleesque (they wobble, but they don’t fall down). I manage to step off my shoes often while walking, and have been known to run into objects, but most of the time I don’t actually fall.

    Two years ago, however, I did take a rather spectacular splat right in public and in doing so learned a valuable lesson: if you are going to take a public tumble, a) do so in Berkeley on Earth Day, and b) always listen to the wisdom of Chevy Chase.

    As you can guess from the above advice, it was Earth day and Mr. Twistie and I were in the People’s Republic of Berkeley. Some friends of ours had a gig playing at a celebration in one of the local parks and we were rushing to get there because we were (as usual) running late. That meant we were walking at a fair clip. So quickly, in fact, that when a toddler veered suddenly and directly into my path the only way to avoid creaming the tot was to take a rapid step to my right onto the grass… where the toe of my sandal caught on a sewer access cover and I lost all control.

    I knew I was going down, but as fate would have it, a couple days before I had seen part of an interview with – of all people – Chevy Chase, King of the pratfall. He advised, as I listened, that if you’re going to fall, it’s best to try to keep moving as long as you can, because you’re at less risk of hurting yourself badly if you can keep in motion even a couple more seconds.

    So I kept moving my feet to stay as much upright as possible for as long as possible. It was only a couple extra seconds, but I have no doubt it added all kinds of style points to the performance. At last, though, gravity had its way and I landed flat on my face in the grass with my sunglasses and my left knee taking the brunt of the impact.

    People did gather, and several had their cell phones at the ready in case I needed actual medical assistance, but they left me enough room to breathe and waited to see how I was before they started actually doing anything. When I assured everyone that I was fine, and I would be able to get myself up as soon as I caught my breath again, people started dispersing, though I noticed one or two casually hanging nearby in case I did turn out to need more help than I thought. In short, people were concerned and stood ready to help, but didn’t crowd, shame, or manhandle me.

    After a minute or two, I did get up on my own. The damage was a scrape on the top of my nose, the only black eye I’ve ever had in my life, and a slightly banged up left knee that felt better in a few hours with some elevation and icing.

    All in all, it was about the best result I could have hoped for from a serious public fall.

    I do have to say, though, that I really hope I never do that again!

  37. On July 25th, 2011 at 1:50 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    @Twistie: Wow! What a story?! I will have to remember the movement thing next time. I will say that I tripped once while playing volleyball on blacktop that I sort of rolled into it and came out of it unscathed even though my husband was terrified, I thought it the coolest thing I’d ever done! Ha-ha!
    Berkeley on Earth Day would be a great place to fall. You know how to pick ’em! =0)
    Thank you for sharing your story here, today.

  38. On July 25th, 2011 at 12:49 pm MollyMurr Says:

    I’m nearly 400 lbs and have only fallen once in public. It was spectacular though, I was cruising along behind friends on a downtown sidewalk. My sandal hit a crack in the cement and I did a whole-body WHOMP onto the concrete. I knocked the breath completely out of myself. By the time my friends had turned and come back, a couple of young men had run across the street to help me up. I accepted their help and thanked them. It did pleasantly surprise me because I would have assumed most people would ignore my fall.

    BTW I did bruise my side and I think my ribs as my elbow was kind of smashed into them when I fell, but nothing broken thank goodness.

  39. On July 25th, 2011 at 1:51 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    @MollyMurr: Is there some sort of sandal conspiracy against us? Ha-ha! I mean, I’ve read a few sandal-fall stories now, so it’s not just you and I. I am glad that you were okay and that people did come to check on you. Thank you so much for sharing your story here. =0)

  40. On July 29th, 2011 at 10:35 pm Kath Says:

    I’m as clumsy as all hell, but luckily don’t seem to fall very often. I just break things, knock them over or drop them! Or batter my knees and elbows into bruises.

    The few times I have fallen I’ve always been on my own. I fell twice in a month once. The first time I mis-stepped on the edge of a concrete path and sprained my ankle and bashed my knee. Before I was even fully healed from that, I fell down the last three steps of my flat. It hurt like hell! 300lbs hits the ground pretty hard!

  41. On July 30th, 2011 at 8:59 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Kath: Yikes! On a concrete path? Ouch! So sorry to hear it, but I guess at least I’m not alone in my stumbles and fumbles. Ha! <3

  42. On July 31st, 2011 at 12:59 am Eclectica Says:

    I have slipped over – all shoe related. But I used to play ice hockey so pretty used to falling!
    There was one big fall at home when I got a bit tangled up with the coffee table. The husband thinks I’m clumsy, and I can be – but mainly when I have PMS. The hormones seem to kill my balance!!!

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