Monday, August 26, 2013

Rub me the right way

I feel like I am coming out from under a rock. The Masters is done and now I have been unleashed into to world "qualified." It's strange, our identities. We wear them like clothing. My last fashion statement was a hit at parties. "Oh a massage therapist? How interesting  I have this clicking noise in my shoulder...."

My new counselling therapist incarnation brings out some the same kind of thing, albeit a very wormy can indeed. "Oh that's amazing. You know my uncle is a pedophile..."
People have always offerend me their skeletons though. I seem to invite the TMI. Truth be told I like it. I am interested. As you regular readers know, I love a good story. I don't get invested in the moral, I more just enjoy the journey. My story today kinda bridges that gap, the massage therapist meets emotional pain gap. I am not sure it has a moral, it was just a day I spent and I thought I would write it down.

Last month I had a vacation planned. A small one. Superman and I had rented a beautiful cottage and I was about to head off for 5 days of peace, quiet and dirty dirty sex. I havent really had a vacation in a long time and it was truly well deserved. As is our destiny, best laid plans and all, became unravelled.  He had to fly off and rescue family and I ended up taking my other favorite boy instead. He was about to leave to move to another coast and was a lovely substitute cuddle, but I was still a little sad that my time away had been upended. Massages were in order at a local spa I decided, and my friend and I set off, happily high to cook ourselves in hot tubs and get rubbed by people trained to do so.

I had called the spa and asked for an experienced therapist, because truth be told, I am not easy to massage. Let's just say I have lots of stuff, and I really don't like being petted. I need an elbow or two and some strong hands and I love gettting massaged. This particular day I was ready for it. I just wanted to lie down, close my eyes and let some hands take away some of the crap that had decided to crawl under my shoulder blade and hide.

So there I sat..patiently waiting, and time kept ticking by. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen. I could feel the anxiety rising. Where was he?  I went to a staff member and said, "I had an appointment 15 minutes ago and no one came to get me." I felt like a kid whose parents were late picking them up at school. Panicked, sad and worried that they would never show. They called and looked for him and assured me he was coming. I didn't believe them and my eyes started to sting with tears of disappointment.  Finally this very frazzled looking middle aged man showed up. He looked a bit like a younger Nelson Mandela, strangely enough. Not whom I would have pictured, but my experience has told me, that the most unlikely looking massage therapists were often the best. He was profusely apologetic. He told me he had made a mistake and had given the previous client 90 minutes instead of 60. He said, don't worry, I still have 90 for you. I was so relieved that he was there that I didn't mind. I just told him I understood. I was a massage therapist too and I knew how things happened. He was there now and that was all that mattered

We walked to the little hut. He was still so filled with apology, and I did my best to assure him. It was Ok. As we entered into the cabin he looked at me and said, "I have had my mind all over the place today. I don't usually make that kind of mistake. You see, I just found out this morning that my wife has a brain tumour."

The information hit me like a punch. But trained as I am, I didn't show it. I told him with as much empathy as I felt that that was terrible news. I was sorry to hear that. I said to him, "I understand. Just massage me. No need to talk or think." For those of you who are not massage therapists, you may not quite get it. There is something about going into someone else's body where you can leave yourself at the door and just enter into the moment of exchange. It is a very beautiful place we go sometimes when we work. Hokey as it sounds, it's healing to massage. It's hard to explain in words, but he knew what I meant and he gave me a very grateful smile. He said, "It won't affect the massage."  I said, "I know."

For the next 90 minutes I received one of the best massages I have ever had.
How do I really explain how absolutely beautiful that afternoon really was? I think I will just leave it at that.