I am a woman who does not relax, like, ever.
Having a child has nothing to do with this personality challenge of mine. I’m quite capable of creating enough reasons on my own for me not to sit still, without the aid of my child.
Every few weeks I would book a massage with the intention of having an hour of relaxation, but naturally there isn’t a massage therapist in existence that is capable of shutting me up (I know this because I’ve tried several).
After coming to terms with the realization that I might possibly be the most unprofessional client no one would ever ask for, I decided maybe massage therapy just wasn’t for me. Here are a slew of reasons why.
1) Nudity. Yes at age 34, I still find nudity humorous. It is extremely exhausting for me to be both naked and serious at the same time. Listen, after having a kid, I have a hard time showing my very own husband my naked body most days. Knowing I have no clothes on under a sheet with a complete stranger in the room does anything but relax me. It gives me an anxious feeling, like I’m keeping a funny secret. Like I’m preparing to jump up and surprise her at any moment to go streaking up the quad and to the gymnasium. She just doesn’t know it yet. It’s funny to me because, you know…nudity. But it’s not funny because I share out loud all my “wouldn’t it be funny if” thoughts. This just makes for one solid hour of giggling. Laughter is therapy, but not the kind I paid for.
2) The massage bed. Sure this is a spa and this bed is comfortable. That is until you flip your entire body over and shove your face so far into that circular hemorrhoidal pillow, it feels like you may reenact your very own birth right in front of your therapist. As luck would have it, you are already in your birthday suit, so that really adds to the authenticity of the performance (should you decide to execute it fully).
3) Embarrassing muscle spasms. My body has this keen ability to sense when I might possibly be relaxing and give me a reason to snap out of it. I anxiously await the part where she will try to rub my feet so I can abruptly intervene with a paranoid shriek “Don’t Touch!” This causes confusion because yes, I’m paying you to touch me, but I said don’t touch me. She doesn’t understand yet, but if pressed a certain way, my feet will shrivel up like the Wicked Witch of the East after Dorothy’s house landed on her. After spending the first 20 minutes of my visit giggling, I will spend the next 15 – 20 minutes trying to work out a toe cramp that is locked in a death grip. I paid for a full body massage not a single toe massage, so please don’t rub my feet.
4) Butt massage. I appreciate the gesture. Really I do. She at least humors me when she jabs her elbow into my gluteus maximus. Unfortunately, my gluteus is just plain maximus so she is really just massaging my ass fat. We both know this. I try to flex a little to make a more pronounced gluteus surface for her to work with but remember, my body hates me. It causes yet one more involuntary muscle twitch that bounces her elbow straight off my ass into another area code (see number 3).
5) I have no muscles. Ok well maybe that’s not entirely true. It’s more like, I only have muscles in my right arm and shoulder because that side of my body does all the heavy lifting. It used to carry an infant car seat and is typically now carrying my almost three-year old. My massage therapist has nicknamed the right side of my upper body Batman, and the left side of my upper body Robin because when naked I now look like the hunchback of Notre Dame. The right side is far more superior to the left. This became our technical terminology used when discussing my ailments. “Who are we working on today… Batman or Robin?”
6) There is no separation between massage therapy and regular therapy. I’m sure this was not what my massage therapist signed up for. She let me complain about my commute and how sore I got sitting in my car for so long each day, and how my back hurts because my daughter still won’t sleep in her own godforsaken bed, and how at home my poor husband and I need to practically speak in morse code because my daughter doesn’t allow real conversations to happen unless she is yelling over us.
I may not have been able to relax physically, but I would somehow still leave every appointment refreshed. Emotionally rejuvenated from an hour-long giggle session just like you would do with friends as kids.
I know my massage therapist was a saint for dealing with me, so I did her a solid and let her off the hook before we belly laughed her way to a pink slip for disrupting other clients who were really there to relax.