Writing is cathartic; we’ve all heard that, if not experienced its cleansing powers ourselves. I’ve written essays about my late father that will probably never leave my computer, but they had to be written.
I’m once again in need of purgative writing; an emotional laxative, if you will. I think if I “get it out,” I’ll be able to move forward, past a humiliating incident.
About three weeks ago, I fell out of a parked car. That’s right, smacked right down onto the pavement from the height of at least three feet, specifically, from the seat of a Toyota 4-Runner. It was before my son started driving himself to school. He and I would hit the gym before school so that he could practice his indoor climbing skills and I could practice my stair climber skills. (If you knew how uncoordinated I am, you’d understand why I call this a “skill.” Oh, as it turns out, you are about to find out.) Still practicing his driving, my son would then drive us from the gym to school and I’d get out and jump into the driver’s seat. This was our routine. I had on my new workout pants that I thought were pretty snazzy and per my modus operandi, my “gym bag,” an old Eddie Bauer pack with a long strap, sat at my feet.
This particular morning, we ran a few minutes behind schedule, so the outside of the school was abuzz with kids, parents, and teachers. As he stopped, I swung open the door to jump out. It all happened so quickly; I never stood a chance. Just as another car pulled up behind us in line, I exited the car—knees first. Like an anvil being dropped by Wile E. Coyote, I plummeted to the asphalt, landing on both knees and my left elbow. My chin nearly made contact as well. A baseball bat to the joints, swung by Babe Ruth, would have produced similar results.
Despite my shock, I stood up quickly, aware of not only the many stunned faces turned toward me, but that the car had begun to roll backward. I yelled to my son to pull the brake, which he promptly did. The girl being dropped off from the car behind us, looked downright confused—Did that lady just fall out of a car?!
My son came around from the other side, genuine concern on his face. “Are you all right?” I waved him off, wincing. Every movement hurt. I turned to the car and saw the culprit: my gym bag. It hung from the seat lever, threatening to dump its contents: my wallet, phone, and water bottle. I grab the bag and threw it back in the car before walking around to the driver’s side, desperate to not limp. I didn’t make eye contact with anyone, except my son, who gave me a sympathetic look and a wave goodbye.
Shaking, with two aching knees and a throbbing elbow, I pulled away from the school. My ego also slowly formed a black and blue splotch. It wasn’t until I got home and yanked the delinquent, mischievous bag, that I realized how it had happened. The strap of the bag had gotten wrapped around my foot (or feet—unsure how many appendages were involved) and as I exited the vehicle, I brought the bag with me. It wouldn’t have been so bad to drag the pack with me, but the damn thing, apparently having second thoughts about following me, encircled its strap around the lever underneath the seat, stopping its progression—and mine.
It was like getting clotheslined, but with my feet. Yes, it was that bad.
When I explained to The Husband what had happened, he felt terrible. Later in the day, in an attempt to comfort me with, “You know, in time, you’ll be able to look back—” he chuckled—“and laugh—” I cut him off with a fiery glare. There would be no laughing about this. Ever.
Until now, I had only told one other person about it . . . a friend . . . over text. My knees and elbow still show remnants of bruises, as does my ego, but they’re going away. They also still ache, but that, too, is lessening.
I don’t know if writing about it has been cathartic, but I did manage a chuckle as I wrote about the experience. I guess that means I can laugh about it now—and that’s a good start.
So don’t leave me hanging; has writing about a humiliating experience ever help you move forward?