Every so often, by which I mean, a few times a year, I get all puffed and indignant by the loads of laundry I’m schlepping, and my kids and husband who are throwing balls around my head, and decide, “I can’t take it anymore! Enough is enough! Something must be done for me!”
That’s when I march myself in to get a massage, but of course, I don’t go to any fancy schmancy spa, I’m way too practical and not nearly important enough for that. I go to the local foot spa where for $28, I get to lay down on one of their couches and just close my eyes for an hour.
The foot spa is a dark, questionable hideaway in between a Domino’s Pizza and a small jewelry store, but by the time I’ve shuffled my broken body through the door, I am beyond caring. There are no deadlines or children tugging at my shirt. No legos to step on or video games going beep beep beep. You don’t need an appointment or to give your name. You don’t even undress. It’s just… quiet, while the hands of a faceless person rub you to snore-dom. In that room, everyone is invisible, including you. Bliss.
Today, I was desperately in need of a moment. My body ached. My brain ached. I went to the foot spa on the precipice of mental collapse or consuming an extremely large ice cream sundae which I would lovingly regret. I needed this.
I was silently led to my couch, and barely even noticed the fellow lost and exhausted souls lying nearby. I took off my shoes and my sweater, leaving me in sweats and a tank top and lay down. Ahhh.
His hands were upon me quickly, uh, a little too quickly, kneading my face and my hair. I tried to relax, but his fingers were moving so fast on my face I began to feel like he was molding me into a candy dish. And he was kind of pulling my hair. Ow, dude.
He moved down and started working on my shoulders and neck. I relaxed. This was why I was here. His hands were strong like an ox. I like a deep massage, but his rubbing was taking deep to new depths. I tensed. He was double knotting my knots. I peeked at him through my pretend relaxed closed eyes. Holy mother, he was Asian Hulk.
When he moved onto my body, things only got worse, if you can imagine that. He massaged down my legs with such aggression that I practically jumped from the bed. Hello? You don’t squeeze someone’s thigh! When he rubbed down my back, I was sure he would break something. I didn’t think this place had great insurance.
I mentally talked myself up to verbalizing a complaint. I told myself again and again to just say, “A little softer, please.” Instead, I mutely mouthed, “help” while convincing myself that soon he would move on to another body part. There was no relaxing, only squinting and holding my breath till he stopped poking my pressure points through to the other side.
Then, it was over.
I zipped up my sweat shirt and put on my shoes. My angry masseuse was waiting for me with a peaceful smile and a Dixie cup of water. I had hard time meeting his eye. Did he really not know? I tipped him for beating the crap out of me, embarrassed to be doing it, but more embarrassed not to, and left.
Why couldn’t I just open my mouth? Why did I lay there mute? I heard my thoughts in answer, “You can take it.”
That’s right, I can. But I don’t always have to. Why do I always have to? Next time, I resolved, I’ll say something. Better, I’ll treat myself to a real massage. Maybe. Hopefully. Ah, whatever.
In the comfortable safe haven of my car, after a day of crazy and an hour of torture, I opened my kindle and popped a butterscotch sucking candy. My shoulders dropped as I sucked its sweetness and lost myself in my book. Finally, finally I relaxed.
Have you ever stayed quiet when you should have spoken up for yourself?