I looked on my first pregnancy as a license to eat – I totally bought into the old phrase, “eating for two” and I took my responsibility VERY seriously! I went from being a slim and trim 120 pounds to a bulbous 180 pounds during those nine months. The combination of that bad marriage, additional pregnancies, and years of chronic self-loathing, disgust, and unhappiness didn’t help matters – and I gained a bit more every year. As any of you who have ever had a weight problem know – it’s hard to feel good about your body and yourself when you are carrying around those extra inches and pounds. I could hardly stand to look at myself naked, much less consider having anyone else see me or, God forbid, TOUCH me. So, I never, EVER considered getting a massage – it just wasn’t in the realm of possibility for me.
When I lost quite a bit of weight a few years ago, my thoughts on the subject of massage started to change. I was working out and lifting weights, which often left me stiff and sore – and a massage sounded like it would not only be relaxing, but therapeutic. The cost was still a deterrent, but one day, I found a great deal for a massage on Groupon, so I purchased it and made the appointment. Once I had my massage, I couldn’t imagine not going again (and could have kicked myself for not doing it sooner)! Massages are wonderful – and my new favorite thing! However, since cost is still a factor, I often try new places when I see a new deal online – and I find it interesting how different each massage and masseuse can be.
Today, I went for a massage at a place I thought I had never been. As I drove up, I recognized the building – but I wasn’t alarmed until I made it to the suite – and realized this was the very same site of one of my nearly fatal facials from last year! Apparently, the gal who gave me the facial had branched out and obtained a masseuse for a partner. I told myself not to panic – this was an entirely different person – so chances were good I’d have a totally different experience! As I filled out my paperwork, I overheard the masseuse talking to the esthetician (yes – the same one who nearly crippled me). They both were having a VERY BAD WEEK and neither were happy. I heard my masseuse say something about “buying all of the Christmas presents for the kids – and now the kids aren’t even with me.” I wasn’t sure what that meant – were they dead? Had they been removed by social services? Should I be feeling sorry for her or scared of her?
The masseuse took my paperwork and led me to a freezing cold room. She assured me that the massage table was heated and left me to disrobe and make a mad dash for the relative comfort of the table before any of my naughty bits iced up. I laid down face up as instructed and, when the masseuse came back in, she told me we would start with my neck and shoulders. After moving my head around a bit, she exclaimed, “Your shoulders are REALLY elevated off the table!” Mmmmmm…OK. I was aware of this – I’ve been aware of this for quite a few years – I have “old lady shoulders.” You know when you look at a 20-year-old and they have such great posture? The tops of their shoulders actually point up towards their ears and they look confident and tall. With me, the “tops” of my shoulders actually point somewhere in the vicinity of my nose – I look stooped and slumped – like an old woman. I hate this particular feature on me – I’m not sure why I have it, although my rheumatologist thinks it may be related to a chronic condition that I have. Regardless, we don’t know if anything can be done about it – even when I stand against a wall or lie down on the floor and try to push my shoulders back so they touch the surface – they never make it.
I explained this to the masseuse, who apparently decided to make it her mission to correct years of slumpy shoulders – all in one hour! She began to vigorously work my collarbone area – using her fingers as she sawed on the tendons over my collarbone – or maybe it was JUST the collarbone, because I don’t have a lot of padding in that area and it was PAINFUL! Despite my obvious wincing and, at one point, telling her that I was VERY tender in that area, she kept on stabbing away. Occasionally she would move her hands to the back of my neck and shoulder blades and I would sigh in relief, thinking she was done with the collarbones – but then, as if sensing that I had started to relax, she would start up on them again.
After deciding I had taken enough of that particular torture, the masseuse had started on my legs. It was at this point, that I realized that my left leg had no feeling in it. This is the SAME leg that went dead during my facial at the same location a year earlier! I’ve never had this happen anywhere else I have gone – so what is it about this place? Do they have specially made tables that are designed to cripple people?? Luckily, this time, since the masseuse was digging into my leg with her thumbs, circulation started back up again and with it, PINS and NEEDLES! I gritted my teeth as she worked, knowing that it was better to have the feeling return to my leg than to have another face plant like last time. She moved to my feet and enthusiastically whirled them around and back and forth, as if I was a jointed doll. The ankle that was injured the year before at this establishment popped alarmingly several times.
The masseuse then asked me to turn to my stomach. I let out the breath I had been holding, glad that she would be concentrating on my back, which was terribly tense by this time. Instead, she went right for my ass! I feel lucky that she left the sheet over that particular area of my anatomy – but she put the heel of her hands into back of my hip and started pushing and pulling as if she was kneading an exceptionally large batch of bread dough. You need to know that, even though I’ve lost some weight, my ass is not perky. You know the saying, “you can bounce a quarter off her ass?” Well, that was not written with me in mind. In fact, if you threw a quarter at my ass, there is a good possibility that it would stick – or maybe even get lost. As she shook me briskly, waves of flab began to move alarmingly – making a slapping sound as one butt check hit the other. It was not my finest moment.
Finally, the masseuse began to work on my back – but only for a moment or two before she decided to go after those slumpy shoulders again. She manipulated my limbs to and fro as she stabbed her fingers into my armpit. She then took one arm at a time, laying them over the edge of the table and then over the front of the table while she worked energetically on my shoulder area. She rotated my arms like windmills and at one point, she had both arms behind my back, as if she was getting ready to cuff me and haul me, naked, off to spa jail.
Why didn’t I speak up, you may be asking? Why didn’t I let the masseuse know that her stabby fingers and limb windmilling were not all that comfortable? Well, first of all – I was still wondering what happened to her kids. I didn’t want to make her feel worse if her kids were actually dead – or piss her off if she was the abusing type and her kids had been taken by the state (somehow, after my experience I think this scenario was more likely). Also, there was a tiny part of me that hoped that she knew what she was doing – that perhaps all of this stabbing, sawing, kneading, and whirling WAS really a miracle cure for my slumpy shoulders! Maybe it’s my imagination, but I think I WAS standing a little taller when I left. Perhaps my “old lady shoulders” are a bit more perky than they were – I’m happy that at least one part of my body is!