Dakota Fanning narrates an essay about a falling in love and falling off a cliff -- literally.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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face from the New York Times and WB. You are Boston. This is modern love stories of love, loss and redemption. I'm your host Meghna Chakrabarti. No one forgets the first time they, the butterflies, giddiness, the late and long phone calls, or maybe the text, messages and snapchats falling in love feels like the most important, dramatic thing that could happen unless that experience is accompanied by an actual fall. This week,
a fanning, brings us Natalie, Linda Heart racing, modern love, peace celebrating the upside of an emotional plunge. Last summer I fell one hundred feet into one of the steepest canyons in the United States. After tumbling seventy five feet down the near vertical canyon side, dropped. Another twenty five feet in freefall: landing in a dry stream bed between granite, boulders, people said my survival was a miracle fallen acres, are air lifted out of Eden, Canyon and auditing, a California the sight of my fall on a regular basis. Every year Several die the
I have always loved falling. When I was three, my favorite game was mantle jumping. My dad would place me on the mantle, steady me and step back I'd push off in fall for that perfect rush of a second before he caught me swinging me to the ground. In high school. I found a teenager version of mantle jumping by leaping off high rocky cliffs, with my friends into the ocean below I loved the way the wind whistled in my ears, making me feel so alive. Yet if I was passionate about adventure, I was cautious about passion, my friends fell in and out of love I comforted them their faces. Flush with grief Until one day, I too took the leap and told the confident captain of the football team that I liked him and he said he liked me.
A week later he sent me an email saying he was dating a girl. He had met at camp and that she was a lot like me, except blond, I use this experience as an excuse not to get invested in any more boys. After my first with one boy. I ignored his tax until you stop trying, I told you anymore, who asked me on dates that they were great friends and I stopped texting another when he brought up homecoming. I wasn't looking for a boyfriend, I was looking for adventure, a boyfriend, but only slow me down, then near the end of my junior year of high school, a senior wilder asked me to prom- and I said yes, maybe was as I knew he would be leaving for college soon. Right after I said yes, so my heart started pounding and I raced into an empty.
ask him to breathe for a minute alone. Smell smile on my face was so big. It hurt problem with a group of science, not really a date, but he was still there. This boy, can get me as no one ever had be casual. I told myself sternly just because I also had kissed me on a look out for the city lights point in the distance didn't mean he wasn't still leaving in three months I was detained. how to keep things casual as we headed out on our first Realty The. to escape the early summer heat, we decided to hike the sage line trail to the waterfall in Eaton Canyon. Dozens of hikers were already splashing in the pool when a college hiker asked. If we had heard of the second waterfall only a mile below
and you want to go. I asked wilder already have standing, although the path is unmarked, we tramped another twenty minutes up the steep incline and found it beautiful and isolate In my head, I kept shouting casual, but it was difficult to hear myself over the water crashing around us, as we kissed in the spray didn't seem real. How perfectly I fit into his arms as the sun warmed our dripping skin. If we had paid more attention going back, we might have realized. We had turned down the mountain too soon, but just being around each other was making his high. It was so easy to be with him The way you didn't go too slowly trusting I keep up. The way he laughed when I told him about the day, Amy caught him staring at me in history, and he admitted it wasn't the only time I'm in such trouble. I thought.
We were coming around a curve in the canyon wall hurrying to get back while it was still light. It was more like rock climbing than we planned for and we had to go flat against the wall and move carefully along a narrow ledge, but we figured it would get easier around the bend. Wilder went first searching for notches and footholds finally making it around. Then I went feeling for handholds my face inches from the rock I traced, where he had grasped, back with my left foot searching for the ledge and suddenly I wasn't holding onto anything sandy. It was skittering down the mountain. Alongside me, I was falling
I thought it would be okay, but when I saw the panic in Wilder's eyes, I realized there would be no outstretched arms this time, no ocean waves. I knew how to fall, but not like this, I woke up to the sound of helicopter bleeds someone had cover me with the shirt. I was warm comfortable so time a man in the jobs lifted be wrapped me in a type and clicked me into place. A cable carried me into the air,
struck me. I had just fallen, and now they were taking me up even higher. My dad found me in the too bright emergency room and tried to hold my hands, but they were a bloody mess. Like the rest of me, Wilder's in the waiting room, he said, nurses cut away my clothes with giants, answers and wiped the dirt and blood. From my body I heard scattered phrases: one hundred feet fractured vertebrae, a miracle. They asked me to push against someone's palm with my heel. I didn't understand why everyone was amazed to see me move my fingers and toes. Finally, they rolled me to a bed put oxygen under my nose and stuck a needle in my arm. I fell asleep wilder visited as soon as he was allowed.
I was too out of it to say anything except thanks for the flowers. I was on heavy pain, medication, time passing in a blur of visitors and drugged sleep when he came the next day, though, I was ready, you're off the hook. I said he I sat next to me on the bed. My ivy dripping behind his shoulder. What do you mean? He asked I explained in my drug speech that he didn't have to come to the hospital or hang out with a broken girl last summer no guilt, I'd call him when I was healed and back to normal. He stayed with me until the nurse kicked him out.
Five days later I was home doctor said I would have to wear a corset like brace from my hips to my neck for eight to twelve weeks, and then we could talk about recuperation a week earlier. I was the girl who left off cliffs into the ocean and jumped at the chance to find the second waterfall now sitting up for twenty minutes exhausted me. And I could barely move without wincing in pain. My family rushed around in a state of semi panic. Everyone wanted to know if I needed another pillar something to eat and when I'd taken. My last painkiller. I hated being weak.
wilder kept visiting and it scared the hell out of me. I couldn't stay awake for more than three hours needed help with the simplest movements and spelled like blood. But when he came, I thought to look like the girl. He had asked to prom I'd brush out my hair, still full of canyon dust, wear a long skirt to cover my battered legs and make sure bandages covered my wounds. I looked as if I had been mauled by a tiger, but the brace cover most of it. I'd laugh, roll out of bed and walk around. As of keeping in constant motion would prove, I was strong, independent and unheard, but after a few hours my eyelids were droop and my back would beg for belief. I figured you'd leave, I slept, but I does or listening to him playing basketball with my little brother. And when I'd wake up be eating dinner with my family
sometimes I think my body saved itself that day by learning to surrender that those years of falling prepared me to relax into the one hundred foot plunge, but it was weeks after the fall before I could truly let go I thought I could use my injuries as an excuse to push wilder away. I thought I could keep things casual. I thought I could forget the look on his face as I fell and ignore the terrifying feeling of longing in my chest, but I couldn't maybe it was the way he said. I'd rather spend my summer with you than any other girl. Maybe was how being around him made me forget, the brace the woods made me feel whole and unbroken. Finally, surrender became not just enough pull but exhilarating.
Want to hold on to anything anymore. I wanted to form- and I already had- and I knew that this time too, I would be ok the Dakota fanning Reading, Natalie, Linda Piece celebrating outside of an emotional plunge, the the I love spelling Bee, my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together. I mean sitting next to each other playing individual
really and not cheating. Sometimes, when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. It may have happened again, I have one friend I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something like that me and my dad. We like to play fun together and I wish feather out. I forgot to see it J, a c k, P, o t Jack, yeah yeah now run nice, I'm same as earth's sky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games, I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together. By together I mean sitting next to each other playing
Julie and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. It may have happened again, I have one friend I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I was getting nervous. I sent it to my parents or something like that. Me and my dad. We like to play fun together and I wish color out. I forgot to see it J, a c k, p, o t, Jack yeah yeah, I'm same is risky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at annoyed times, dot com, flash games, the
talk with Natalie, about healing about her heart and about wilder after the break, the hmm the I'm Katy at living proof, and we get love letters all the time like this one do you're living proof. I've used so many dry shampoos, but my hair still gets greasy and I wear a ponytail by day three you're dry shampoo has my hair so clean and full of body that it's still down on day. Four. This is the most effective dry shampoo. I've ever used love cat. You can use the code, love for a free
travel size dry, shampoo, with your twenty dollar order, living proof, dot, com, we're back. This is modern love, the podcast, Magna, Chalk, Chakrabarti and with me now is the author of this. Ex essay Natalie Lindemann Natalie thanks for joining us thanks, are having also we are joined by Daniel Jones, editor of the modern love column for the New York Times Dan greater. Have you good to be here so Natalie? You are what seventeen when you wrote this for modern love. Yes, seventeen still in Villainize, senior in high school. What a huge experience Jerry and inspiring at the same time, to have as a seventeen year old. What was the reaction from people who read your essay? It's funny, because the story that's published in modern love is first and foremost a love story. So, even though it's connected to this sort of crazy physical experience that I had, I was only seventeen when I wrote it, so the story is kind of the peace of the.
I experienced that I was able to absorb and put into words the majority of the response I got to the modern love. Peace was about the terrifying, but ultimately super rewarding experience of falling in love, so Dan or do I have this right? That Natalie was the youngest modern love contributor ever yeah from the New York Times perspective Natalie as a child was at that time, meaning she couldn't even signed the contract that we require. Writers to sign, but that was the only way in which he was a child. I mean the the sophistication of this essay in what she talks about. You know Magna. I don't know what your writing was like and you were. Seventy was not like there s that measure. You know. I know I was pretty much reading comic books at that time. I'm not really sure what I was writing, but the way that she weave this experience and manages to talk
out vulnerability and letting go to. Let yourself fall in love when you, you ve, been bracing yourself against that they are so just grab you from the beginning, okay, so tons of questions to ask you Natalie. I know that, as you said, this is a love story, but first of all, are you completely here the injuries you sustained in the fall. Yes, yes, amazingly actually I was playing volleyball at about eighty percent, the August of the summer I fell so I I I'm completely good to go. I do I do have scars, I sort of have the tiger claw shaped scars on my back, but I kind of like those and and everything else is completely physically find me a book of so that's fantastically here, ok, Sandra Lucky, and now I guess what everyone else really want to know is wilder.
S still together, you know now, if it, but now, while there was the best first boyfriend first love, I am, could have ever dreamed up and we had a really sweet High school relationship, and about a year later I was getting ready to go to college I didn't want to be in a relationship with anybody at all and so we broke up at the end of the summer, and that was that was the end of that, and that was also perfect. So Natalie, I'm curious about whether or not this lesson learning to to let go and relax into the the the in love has stuck with you, the kind of really wonderful cool thing that really took a year's testing then? For me, after the falling experience? Was this capacity to to be
vulnerable, but to know at a core, well that everything is will be. Ok, you know We'll be okay and relationships, and I will be okay physically and that I'm held kind of by the world. Have you been back to the canyon since then? Yes, my my dad was obviously very upset about what happened and he wanted to go to the place and look up and see where I'd fall in and what like assess the situation like what happened here like what the heck want wrong, and I wanted to come with, and it's pretty hard to see because in of trees and brush on all of us at some hundred illegal trail and is a hundred feet of hope and some guys came walking past us and asked us if we knew where the second waterfall was my dad yelled at them. Pointed at me and said no way. This is what happens when you go to the second waterfall in they were like okay but yeah. So where is it
I remember when we were talking in working on your essay when we are talking about your story, and you had told me that you'd fallen into pretty soft sand between two boulders right and that it wasn't very much distance either either way where you would have fallen, that freefall part of the fall onto Are you it's amazing and I dont know how to hunt the crevice that was full of soft issue, a sand and dirt and little pebbles, as opposed to the two giant hard rocks. I fell in between yeah. Can I just say: oh suddenly, I'm just feeling for your dad a lot right now, myself and your mom, and for your mom as well, because it's a using an inspiring that you have pulled this profound life lesson out of this very scary experience. But again the parent in me is thinking. I wish that that same life lesson
of course, without you like almost dying yeah, I am the sun's. I was conscious enough to really understand what had happened. I have always felt that out of every single person involved out of wild are definitely out of my parents. I was the luckiest person in the entire situation, because I was the only person who who knew throughout the whole time that you know. Yes, I can move my fingers and toes yes. I know it day. It is, I'm here meant the emotional he physically. Nobody else can be inside my head and know that I was okay well and heavily Lindemann wrote the modern love essay celebrating the upside of an emotional plunge, she'll be graduating from pits or college in May and she's completing a book of essays called falling and other ways to get from here to there Natalie. Thank you so much for speaking with us. It was really a great pleasure. Thank you for having me great speaking with you guys.
And Daniel Jones Editor of the modern love column for the New York Times, always great to have you and thank you so much for helping bring these life lessons to all of us. Having to go through something scare, his naturally actual. He did my pleasure special thanks to Dakota Fanning who This week's essay- you can see her later this year in a film adaptation of Philip Roth's american Pastoral, opposite Ewan Mcgregor. next week on modern love, Michael Shannon best known for boardwalk. higher and revolutionary road brings us the story of unexpected happiness brought by a dreadful disease. While there is a theory that people with Alzheimer's heal themselves of their diseases because they forget they have them, Alzheimer's has in a sense healed my grandmother
and our family, and later this week on modern love, specifically on Valentine's day. Remember how we asked you to eat. What's your favorite quotations on love, well, you'll get to hear them come together in a beautiful bonus. that will be releasing on Sunday, so stay tuned. For that modern love is a production of the New York. Jaime and W B. You are Boston, NPR station, its produced, directed and edited by June. Albert John Perotti and a Marie Sivertson. The idea for the modern love podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin Iris Adler is our executive producer. Daniel Jones is the added her of modern love for the New York Times, an adviser to the ship music for the past courtesy of a peer remember. We always want to hear
from you, so subscribed to modern love on your favorite podcast app and right as a review of this week's episode, you can also share your thoughts at Facebook, dot, com, slash, modern love and on Twitter as well. I'm at Magna W B. You are that Emmi G H and a w b you are, and Dan is at Dan Jones and White teeth, a magnet Accra body thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-17.