It’s stumbling. It’s catching your toe on the smallest stone or crack in the sidewalk and suddenly you’re falling — again. Around and around you go, your legs spinning as you desperately attempt to right yourself, to keep from slamming into the ground. You might catch the arm of a friend or manage to pull up before impact, saving yourself the slow motion careening, but the bruises, breaks, and scrapes appear on your hands, you knees; the pink-cheeked embarrassment now one more affliction, one more weight, one more reason to hide.
Whether you crash or are miraculously granted a steady (for the time being) foothold, you’re shaken, you’re rocked to your core. With both feet beneath you, the world still feels slippery, as though you’re no more than a few moments away from ending up back there. It’s constant, overwhelming, never-quite-succeeding attempt after attempt to regain balance, to restore right. It’s a never-ending masquerade ball, it’s spinning and bowing and distracting nearby eyes from tender wounds. It’s a life-long charade, a fight to save face when, some days, you don’t want to try again, you don’t want to fight anymore, you don’t want to lose anymore.