SO. Yesterday I found myself in the rare position of having almost the entire day all to myself.
The boys were with their dad after school, so I had from 8:45am until about 6:30pm... free. Wait, what?! Yes, free time. That many consecutive hours alone have been rare to this point, and hopefully there will be more of this to come, but right now I'll take what I can get.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THIS?!
There are of course, many MANY things I should be doing. But I decided that what I really needed was to take this opportunity to look after myself a little. Someone very wise tells me that I can't be everything that the boys need me to be if I don't take care of myself too. This makes perfect sense of course, but, is harder to embrace in practice than it is in theory.
I think like many parents of high-needs kids, I have a lot of guilt when it comes to this, even though I do know that it's true. Sometimes we just need a little push...
...or a kick.
At first I thought I might go to a movie - but the only thing I really want to see right now is Moneyball, and it's not out yet.
"Why don't you go get yourself a massage?" the aforementioned wise person suggests. Hmmm. This is probably a very good idea. Haven't had one in about a year and a half and goodness knows I could use it.
So I called up my favorite day-spa and made an appointment - I even added a facial. Living on the edge, baby, living on the freaking edge.
I was very much looking forward to my afternoon of relaxation. I've been to spas before, had professional massages done, had a couple of facials, I know what to expect.
Or do I ?
(Nope. They don't.)
My massage was first. I'd booked a 50 minute hot-stone massage. If you've never had one, the masseuse has a collection of super-heated, ultra-smooth stones, that are both placed on you in various spots while the massage is happening, and in their hands to do the massage itself. Basically ultra-hot rocks are run all over your bod. Sounds a bit freaky, doesn't it? Well, it's awesome actually. But you have to know these stones are not just warm, when I say super-heated I'm not joking. White hot. Not everyone is going to like this. Maybe it's just me. ANYWAY, I'm also not a massage novice, I know the drill - for all you professional massage newbies out there, it's generally preferred that you be without attire. Toadie says he's down with that. But yes, naked, though tucked under some blankets, with only the body part being worked on exposed at any given time.
But I'm over the awkwardness of this, I've done this enough times in the past. So I'm on the table, face down in the "put your face in this hole" thing, tucked under the warm blankets and thinking "yes... hot rocks and no demands, let's DO THIS..." She started with my left leg. Placed a couple of toasty stones on the blanket over my lower back, and got to work. Well, again this might just be something entirely unique to me, but, you know how sometimes, for no reason you can think of, you get hyper-ticklish? Like the kind of ticklish where the slightest touch makes you want to jump out of your skin? Anyone? Bueller? Well, for reasons only my nerve endings and the universe understand, this is what happened to me the second she got going. It was all I could do not to jerk my leg away in hysterical laughter. Which is stupid, because normally I'm not that ticklish. There were a few areas where it was so bad I actually had to grab the table with my hands to keep it under control. I kept thinking, ok, relax, the other leg won't be like this... the arms won't be like this... your back won't be like this....
Of course I was wrong. From head to toe I was a hyper-sensitive live-wire. This was so not relaxing. I had to work really hard not to jerk away and giggle every time she touched me. So now I'm stressing over maintaining my composure which started to overshadow everything she was doing. I've never been this way during a massage before. Of course it didn't help that the massage included my butt. Didn't see that coming, did you? Well, just wait, it gets better.
Yes, again for the uninitiated reader, usually a full body massage includes your derriere. It's a big-ass muscle. (Aw, come on, that's FUNNY).
I'm annoyed and confused by this whole situation when it's time to turn over on my back. Again with some toasty stones on the blanket over me in various spots... which is nice... and then this happened: she put one right over the nether-lands. Yes, what you're thinking is exactly what I mean. Yes, she did. THE HELL?!? Kinda gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "you're making me hot"... Ok, I did of course have a blanket over me, so it's possible she meant to put it a little higher up. Regardless, that's where it ended up.
It took me a while to get over this and stop freaking out in my head. But eventually I started to actually relax when she moved on my head and neck.
I had just started to drift off a little when my cell phone started ringing.
My cell phone. Is ringing. Shut up phone. SHUT UP. I'm not answering you.
I ignore it but that sound and then the nagging worry over who it was had pierced my brain and effectively threw the whole relaxing thing out the window.
Everything's fine. The boys are with their dad. No one needs me, nothing is wrong, forget about it.
What if something had happened?
But who WAS it? What if something IS wrong???
My phone starts to ring again. Sigh. "Um, I think I have to answer that... " The nice masseuse hands me my phone.
It's Zach. My anxiety level goes through the roof. "Hey Zach, what's going on, is everything ok?"
"Hey mom, I can't find my blue shirt."
"... well, that makes two of us, hon, hey listen is that all you needed to tell me?"
So back to Def-Con 1.
Also, it was time to move on to the facial.
I've had 2 facials before in my life, both within the last 6 years or so. Loved what my skin looked like after both. So, now I'm in a different room, again mostly without clothes - just the funky little wrap-around apron thing - and under blankets. Esthetician girl comes in, and wraps my hair up in a towel and gets to work.
Now, I am claustrophobic. I have known this since college. Not in the classic freak-out-on-crowded-elevator way, that doesn't actually bother me. Because the elevator is moving, and I know things will change as it makes its way to its destination. It's static situations that are a problem for me - if those elevator people were stuffed in to a small space with me where nothing was going to change? Then I'd start to panic. Situations where things appear to be closing in on you, like the inside of an MRI machine or under a car, these are bad.
Apparently, so are facials.
So I'm lying there under the blanket, which unlike the massage one, is tucked tight around me. Tight enough that it took some effort to move a foot or leg. My eyes are closed and sometimes, depending on what she was doing to my face, she would put something over my eyes. This room was colder than the massage room, and my Raynaud's started to flare up in my hands (if you don't know what Raynaud's disease/disorder/phenomenon is, just click on the pretty blue word). I'm sure the fact that I'd just come from having searing hot rocks on me triggered it, but I was freezing. My hands and fingers were numb. Then she set the hot steam up to blow on to my face for part of the treatment. At first I was like oh god YES! It was so warm and even though it was all on my face, was helping to keep me from shivering out of control.
For a few minutes, I was really digging the steam.
And then it started.
I was already pretty nasally congested from being face-down on the massage table. But the steam was making it worse because it was warm. So I'm really stuffy and it's not congestion you move, it's not fluid, it's swollen blood vessels/tissue in the nasal passages, which means it won't go away quickly. I'm pinned to the table with a tight blanket, I have a towel wrapped around my hair, I have something over my eyes to keep them from opening, and, I'm not breathing very well through my nose. I started feeling like I couldn't breathe at all. I knew I was, I could still move enough air through my nose to be just fine, but because it was so warm? I couldn't tell. Couldn't feel air movement at all in my nose. My brain kept telling me to relax, my chest was still moving up and down, I knew that even though I couldn't feel the air, it was just that it was the same temp as inside my nose... but combined with the fact that I was confined by all these other things... I started to completely freak out. In my head. And a little not. I kept turning my head away from the steam for a few seconds to breathe in some cooler air - and that helped, but only for the moment it was happening. I knew I was headed for an embarrassing situation so I just asked her if we could possibly move the steam away from my face a bit, which she did very cheerfully. This lessened the intense panic, but didn't really fix the problem. By this point I was fidgeting so I wouldn't feel frantic about being held so still for so long.
Every time she put something new over my eyes, or pressed down on my neck - facials include your neck and decolletage, which is the fancy French word for the part of your chest below your neck but above your cleavage - to rub something in, I was so close to losing it. The insane part is, I KNEW I was ok. My brain knew I was breathing and that Miss Congeniality wasn't a homicidal facialist. I knew all this. But whatever it is that causes phobias is crazy, it just defies all reason. I needed my eyes open, I needed to be able to move freely, I needed to be able to FEEL the air I was breathing...
So it was a struggle to say the least, not to have a complete panic attack and claw Blondie's eyes out during my facial.
I was so glad when it was all over (the facial took 70 minutes, by the way). I was exhausted and stuffed-up and freezing and my head hurt. Probably the sensible part of brain trying to escape the ridiculous irrational part.
My relaxing afternoon at the spa turned me in to a poster-child for Xanax. What. The. Fuck.
On a positive note, the skin on my face looks amazing. So I've got that going for me...