So yesterday I had my first massage. I’ve been given gift cards for this kind of thing before, only to politely dispose of them or give them away when no one is looking.
I have issues with being touched.
No, I was not the type to swathe myself in saran wrap or a body condom before sex or anything… but there is a pitiful few people on that list of “touch is ok.” My best friend of 20+ years, godparent to my spawn, and I both will greet each other with the type of sideways bro-hug that is probably more awkward-looking than a mormon honeymoon, but its our comfort zone and by damnit, we like it. We have often discussed the anti-touch phenomenon we both seem to share and are kind of weirded out by people who fondle others with reckless abandon. Again, not that we haven’t done our share of fondling in life, but that is a very specific group of people and sure as hell not one we pay for to the tune of scented stuff and weird musak.
Now… with all that said, I have been having quite a lot of problems with stiffness, mobility, pinched nerves… the works. I’m the type of person who does not show my stress emotionally, but it will manifest itself on me physically. When the economy crashed and we all had to take a pretty big pay cut, I was only able to sleep on the couch, on my left side, with one arm twisted over my head, stuffed behind my left shoulder. I also could not turn my head to look left, but if I tried to tilt my head to the right, my right shoulder would seize and raise, and then just stay that way. My body is a bitch to deal with, let’s just say that.
It took a chiropractor about 4 months to get me back to walking normally and sleeping in alternate positions other than this one. Throughout, I joked about the whole thing because… why the fuck not? It was funny as hell outside of the shitty paycheck and everything else.
Yes, I did say chiropractor. I have no problem with going to a chiropractor… doesn’t make any sense right? I’ve often wondered what the difference was too, but then I realized I also had no problem with judo lessons and you have to spend a lot of time grabbing others then as well. The overall goal in judo is either to throw your opponent or pin them down so they are unable to move.
The difference, my friends, is violence.
I was perfectly fine with touching as long as there was some element of violence to it. If it was closer to sparring than soft intimate-like touching, I was fine with it. It also made me want to reevaluate my past relationships considering I didn’t have issues with that either….
Over the past few years, my body has been in a slow seize. It’s been almost imperceptible… until of course, it was blatantly obvious. Even the chiropractor, who is built like a massive football player and is one of those types who does a macro diet (whatever the hell that means), hot yoga and bicycles everywhere… felt the need to comment about stiff I was. For the first time in years since I’d been visiting his office, he actually seemed like he was battling to get me to loosen up. He grunted… I’d never heard such a thing from him. Normally I get a firsthand experience of what pizza dough must feel like. He did manage to make a little bit of progress, but apparently I have done one hell of a number on myself.
I also have a fellow parent friend who happens to be a masseuse. Their kid had a birthday this past weekend so of course, I had to take spawn. Try as I might, I apparently wasn’t doing a very good job of covering the mass amount of pain I was in or the funny mummy-walk I guess I had going on and was told to have my ass down to their place after work. I hurt too much to argue.
With that said, I had a minor heart attack when told to take off everything.
me:”Everything? like down to the underthings right?”
them:”No… everything, all of it… off”
them:”hurry up, holler when you’re ready”
I stare helplessly at the door and realize its already filled with the soft indian music, low lighting and supposedly comfort-inducing scents that I’m guessing are pretty standard for this type of business and realize I’m still rather disturbed. Can I fake illness or nausea to backpedal out of this? Can I jump from this window? It’s only the 2nd floor.
But damn, I hurt so much… I have another chiropractic appointment at the end of this week and even a little chance that this might help him get further along in loosening me back up means I don’t have to down an ibuprofen cocktail every time I try to breathe, bend or walk. So I throw my last reservations aside, toss everything in a corner and make a mad dash for the blanket on the table… of course “mad dash” would be more aptly described as the general motion a 90-year-old would make when migrating himself and a walker to the last available Viagra before anyone else could get it. Or perhaps a barely walking 10-month-old trying to make it to a piece of chocolate before falling down. Baby deer, but not nearly as cute. This was me and my “mad dash” to the blanket.
Once I got myself amply cocooned into this blanket/sheet combo, pretty much making it difficult to gain access to any region of skin, I hollered to my friend that I had succeeded. Apparently, my friend is used to people like me, my fortress of blanket I had encased myself within was very quickly weakened and the massage commenced. I spent a large portion at the beginning giggling with the kind of hysterics that are born from discomfort. By the end, I wouldn’t have given a shit if they’d tied my foot to the back of the car naked to get me home as long as I didn’t have to get up. I really wanted to keep the blanket too.
I have to say, at first I really didn’t feel much of anything. It took my poor friend some time to work out the biggest kinks I had going on so I could even perceive any sensation at all. My friend made the comment my ass was like a block of granite. As I was working up a good leering grin and comeback for the compliment on my ass firmness, I realized they were being completely deadpan. They also were not complimenting me. I had gotten my muscles so tense I may as well have been made out of a brick shithouse, not “firm” in the sense of “hawt.”
I have to admit, I walked away a little easier, I was even a bit energized. I felt parts of my leg muscles I had not been able to perceive in two years. I also have a newfound respect for the touch therapy that is massage. I’m not 100% of course, but that will take some time. I sure as hell didn’t do this to myself overnight. But this felt like it gave me a good leap in the right direction. I am definitely thankful I have a friend who not only does this job but is stubborn enough to put up with me in spite of my weird hangups.
No, I don’t plan on being more touchy. My kid is about the only one in my life who apparently gets cuddled without violence… and maybe small baby animals. Maybe. Baby pigeons are just fugly, I’m not going anywhere near that.