Shades of Grey

I had a fall.

…Yep, I did.

That’s normally a phrase you’d hear whilst catching up with your granny or an elderly neighbour, isn’t it? I know. It’s definitely not something you’d expect from a spritely, young, twenty-something. I know. I was just as shocked. Here’s the story: I had just left the office, and was speedily homeward-bound, bouncing down the escalators at one of London’s most popular tube stations. I heard my train pulling in, so added a little more speed, got ready to take the corner… and then… splat.

I slipped and fell.

Bum on the ground, legs akimbo.

I know.

I was mortified.

Whilst I was at home the other week, I got caught up watching Sex and the City re-runs. The scene that stuck in my mind was a moment right at the end of the episode where Carrie has a panic attack whilst trying on a wedding dress, and then decides she can’t marry Aiden. After he moves out and reality kicks in, she has a moment of clarity and she describes being in that oh-so-familiar state where “things are no longer black and white,” but instead, multiple shades of grey. That scene and those words resonated with me. It’s been more than three years since I graduated from university, and although I have a just about decent-paying job and some fantastic colleagues that I really adore, I still don’t feel as though I’ve found my niche.

After the moment when, in an ungainly fashion, I ‘hit the deck’ at a heavily populated London tube station during the rush-hour peak period that day, that shades of grey feeling swept over me again. As I was helped to my feet by a very kind stranger, she whispered, ‘you hate it now, but you’ll look back and laugh.’ She probably didn’t know it, but right now, for me that statement relates to so much more than just The Fall.

With the benefit of hindsight, I’m no longer embarrassed about The Fall. It was a moment of truth. Christie Brinkley famously fell while she was on the runway earlier this year, and Naomi Campbell’s runway fall years ago is even more legendary. They recovered and so will I. I’m in good company.

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