I’m sorry, but if you have not recognized it by now, I do have a weird quirk or two. One of them is that I have always said I would never get a real massage because I would never be able to relax while a complete stranger was rubbing away on me. I have an adversity to pedicures for the same reason (that and the studies that say a lot of pedicure places do not clean their little foot tubs nearly enough).
But you know, I am getting older now, and I have to find my adventure where I can in life. And because I am getting older, and because I have been rear-ended three times in the last five years, each time jerking my short stubby little neck forward against the seat belt, the last time leaving me with a seemingly permanent “buzzy-tingly” place in-between my shoulder blades, AND because I carry every single bit of my tension in my neck and shoulder area, I have been secretly imagining myself going to get a professional massage.
This is how I work up the courage to do unfamiliar things. I think a thing to death before I ever take the first teeny-tiny step toward taking action. One might say I am cautious.
Several years ago (twenty years ago), I worked with a young college student named Joy. Joy, as it turns out, now owns her own massage parlor (that sounds so bad, massage parlor). Wednesday morning on my way to work I was actively imagining myself calling Joy up to ask her all about massages (research, always a good excuse not to do a thing) and what might be available and how much it would all cost (surely, a fortune) because the dull pain in my shoulders was beginning to exceed my fear of stripping down and letting a stranger knead and chop my neck and shoulders. In my mind, I was closer to actually calling Joy up and making an appointment…oh, sometime within the next month or so, or maybe the month after that.
Wednesday morning around 10:30 we had a fast-talking salesman come into the office (he said he was from Texas but I never met anybody from Texas who talked fast). Before we knew what had happened he had snookered the bookkeeper out of a dollar. He told her it was for something that was worth way more than a dollar and if she did not agree he would give her money back. Me, I had my back to the goings-on and I was steadily trying to sink down into my desk and disappear (fast-talkers make me nervous, and I sure don’t trust ‘em,--another of my weird quirks). Curiosity (or the urge to protect the bookkeeper) finally got the best of me when I heard him shuffling her around in her chair and telling her to tell him if he hurt her and he would stop….
The man proceeded to massage her neck and shoulders. He rubbed and kneaded and chopped for about a minute. In the meantime, my boss tells the guy “do her too”, meaning me. Oh brother. I compliantly turned around and leaned forward in my chair. I was thinking about how badly my neck and shoulders had been bothering me, about how I really needed to do something. I had watched the bookkeeper and she had survived. Surely I would too.
I have no words to tell how absolutely blissful I felt after just one minute of kneading and rubbing and chopping. I could not believe the difference in how my shoulders felt. I felt like a weight that I had not been fully aware of had been lifted off of me. It was like someone had run a troublesome bully off who had been bothering me for years. I felt relieved. I was amazed. I grinned all afternoon, I felt so good.
We all laughed and joked about it today. I said we were going to order something from him next week, whether we needed it or not, just so I could get him back in there to massage my shoulders.
I told the bookkeeper sometime during the day that I was embarrassed to admit it, but seriously, there was something almost emotional about the experience, about the feeling I had when he was finished and I realized that I no longer felt that tightness across my shoulders. It was almost like I wanted to cry. It was such a relief.
I’m no dummy. It was a sign when that man came in.
Here’s the deal: I have an appointment for Saturday morning to get my very first massage on my neck and shoulders. I am a little nervous but at least I get to keep my pants on! Don’t hold me back because I am busting loose!