April 15, 2019

massage therapy

When The Kid was seven or eight, we got a Wii for the family, complete with a Wii Fit board and the sports games to use with it.  He used the Wii for Mario Everything and I used it for learning three yoga poses and finishing four whole minutes of kickboxing, after which I was told by a sadistic animated cash register on wheels that I was obese.  From this, I learned that cash registers do not give a shit about your self-esteem.

I also tried the meditation game a few times.  This involved sitting on the Wii Fit board in a yoga pose and staring at the flame of a single candle on the screen before me, while trying to be completely still for three full minutes.  If I had more than two slight movements or twitches during the three minutes, a stern-looking hachidan Mii would suddenly pop up and yell at me angrily in a language I couldn't understand, and the candle would be snuffed.  This did wonders for my startle reflex.

I didn't exactly bond with the game, but that candle flame came back to me today as I lay face-down on the massage table, trying to get comfortable before the therapist came in to start the session. 

I go for a massage once a year - sometimes skipping a year - for my birthday.  It's almost unbearably decadent.  Normally, my mind goes all muzzy and trance-like pretty quickly, and I'm able to fully relax.

Today was new:  I had to relax my body and make my jerky, whizzy hypomanic brain shut the fuck up for an hour.  (Spoiler alert:  I totally failed at this.)

The therapist focused on my croggled right shoulder and spent the rest of the time on Swedish massage.  This is a transcript of my brain during the part of the massage.

Picture that candle flame.  Remember that time you tried to learn to meditate from that woman at church?  She said you could shut out thoughts and try to empty your mind, and you would catch yourself thinking, and you could just tell yourself, "Thinking," and then push it away and go empty again.  I have to stare at the candle flame and not think about anything else.

Am I relaxed?  Yes.  Good.

Candle flame.  

I remember that Wii.  Why did it stop working?  Did I ever clean it with that disc cleaning stuff in the basket?

Thinking.  Candle flame.

Is she supposed to grind muscles against somebody's shoulder blade like that?  Stop, she knows what she's doing.

Thinking.  Candle flame.  Breathing.

My nose is stuffy.  How do people keep from drooling and dripping snot when they're in this thing?  Did I ever do that before?  What if I did and I didn't realize it?  I'll bet they have people who clean the carpets and always have to pay attention to "the drool spot" under where people put their face in this padded thing.

Thinking.  Cand--

Oh, that is so funny!  Last night we were laughing at Molly because she had her head draped over my leg and then she added her paw, but she fell asleep and the paw started to slip off my leg.  Then she put it back but dug her claws in to keep it from slipping.  I just did the exact same thing because my arm was sliding off the bed and I put it back and hooked my thumb on the sheet without realizing I was do--

Thinking.  Candle.

Is she going over an hour?  It's supposed to be an hour.  Should I offer to pay more if she does?  What if she just wants to make extra sure I get good work on my shoulder but it's going to take a lot of time to do the rest of it?  There's no way she's going to make it.

Candle, god damn it.  Candle.

She's pushing on my shoulders in an alternating pattern and she's doing it to the music and doesn't even realize it.  See?  It's perfectly in time.  Left, right, l-- Wait.  No.  Now she's deviating.  That is just like fucking windshield wipers not matching the radio!  Gahhhh!

Thinking.  Yeah, I'm thinking.  I can't shut up.  Candle.  Candlecandlecandle.

It has definitely been at least an hour and fifteen minutes now.  She hasn't even gotten to my feet.  She'll have to let some stuff go.  I won't complain.  I'm one of those people who doesn't complain.

Did I bring the tip money?  Phweww.  I put it in my keys.  It's over there.


I hope she doesn't spray lavender everywhere like they did when I tried that yoga class.  I put on the sheet that I'm allergic to lavender.  What if she didn't look at the sheet?

Am I anxious?  Is that why I thought that?  Thinking.  Why can't I shut up?  Where is that candle?

She finished and left so I could get dressed.  I opened my eyes.

11:55?  Oh.  I was worried for nothing.  

I stretched and everything was fine, until I looked in the mirror and saw my hair, massed in a hopeless configuration.  Then I realized that I was about to be put through that awkward part where they ask if you liked it and you say yes and then they try to talk you into signing up for regular massages and you have to say no but do it politely and then extract yourself and leave.

I'm home now, so I did escape, and my shoulder hurts, but only because I asked her to beat the shit out of it on a therapeutic level.  I'm also supposed to be "flushing my body with water to rid it of toxins that were released".  You know what?  Coffee's a liquid, too.


  1. Just in case I haven't said it before - I really do love you!!

    I went for a massage twice thus far in my life, once when I was pregnant and my mother thought I could use it to attempt to relax ha! and another time when I (in one of my more spectacularly idiotic moves) thought a 'family' holiday would be good for my child and went en family to Bulgaria with her father and it was the only thing I could do to get some alone, by myself i.e without my child or the whinging from her father, time.

    I can't get my brain to shut the fuck up either. The nearest is when I'm watching a proper open fire and manage to empty my mind for a nano second before the voices want to know what caused that colour flame and I have to research the science behind it and then shred different coloured magazines, advertisement inserts etc to see which one makes the prettiest coloured flame - although that is quite relaxing and I sincerely recommend it - pyromania ;)

  2. You may not believe me, but you're meditating right. Haha.
    If you can get even a few seconds of absolute silence, it's a major win.

    1. This is another area where if I'm not immediately good at something, I give it two tries and then throw it across the room and stomp off in a huff. I thought I was supposed to be able to do it for five whole minutes. While wearing saffron robes that magically appear. Isn't that how it's supposed to be?

  3. Oh I do love a massage but it definitely comes with awkward moments. For me it is typically (um I think I have had 2 legit massages in my life) 'oh no, what if I fart?!' Fortunately for me I am married to a physical therapist. Unfortunately for him, I spend most of our alone time begging him to rub something. It is never 'what he had in mind' either.

    1. Heehee - this actually made me giggle - thankfully, no one was in the room at the time, except the dogs, who don't mind. I'd have a hard time resisting making those requests, too.