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Essay: “Why do we fall?”

Something rambling that took a surprising turn towards coherence and enlightenment, so I share it.

How do I fall? Falling is not failing, because falling is not the end. Falling is merely a downwards motion, a direction. Failing is no finality, it means you attempted something and it did not pan out. Because you fell doesn’t mean you failed. Just falling doesn’t have to be a life and death thing, unless you ended up falling from an aircraft without a parachute, but let’s be honest. How likely is that scenario?

So the thing about falling is to try and avoid it, it isn’t that hard, not the scary falls from buildings and moving vehicles. But it’s no big deal if you do fall, because often the falls are relatively mild. They might hurt, but you can pull yourself off the ground and dust yourself off.

Like that immortal quote (by now) from the final Nolan Batman movie which I am going to butcher here:

“Why do we fall, Master Bruce?

…So we learn how to get back up.”

Or was it “…to pick ourselves up again?”

Either way, it’s a lovely quote and it illustrates falling in a wonderful way.

All my life I think I have had a fear of falling, it kind of comes with the package when you have a slight fear of heights. I have never been as terrified as when I rode on the free-fall ride at an amusement park. I screamed not in delight as the others on the ride, but in absolute gut-wrenching terror. For those few seconds it did not register that I was strapped in securely, that the ride was going to slow down. No, for a few seconds there I felt convinced that I was plummeting to my death.

Fucking free-fall rides.

But that kind of fear is natural. All fears that are rooted in a danger that could actually cause us grievous bodily harm aren’t all that bad. A fear of failing however, what is the basis of such a thing? Why does that still keep a grip on my soul? It’s just a filthy imprint society has left on me, a shallow image shoved in my face by media, where success is what you are supposed to strive for and the definition of success is dictated by those who are well off. The American Dream has affected the rest of the world, through movies and TV-shows.

We should ignore it all, it is just as toxic as the body images it portrays, where slim, thin women with not a single unwanted body hair or blemish on their bodies is the norm. The call for more normal body types in the modeling industry has come far too late. The magazines for young girls has already been permeated by that faulty image, those horrible stereotypes which damage both those who are more plump and natural looking than the images, but also those who are naturally slim. To not be thin, beautiful and happy is to fail. (And let’s not start on gender images or sexual preferences here, I don’t have all night.)

Because of this, thousands of girls daily weep into their diary pages, their laptops, their smartphones; they cut themselves with razors and diet themselves to disease and death. We all need to stand up together and say, do not listen to them! Success has nothing to do with the images you see in the media, parroted in society like a game of paper telephone, the only important thing is to seek your own happiness and even if that takes time to achieve, even if you have to restart your life, find a new job, a new passion, a new lover, a new partner…You have not failed.

You have simply hit a bump in the road that caused you to stumble and fall. And as we were taught in a surprisingly kind view on the subject in a popular movie…All you have to do is pick yourself back up again.

You will find a new job, your true friends will never desert you and life…It will go on and things will be okay. Trust me on this.

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