Scenes from the Face Cradle

  • Posted on July 4, 2017 at 9:50 pm
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What do you think about when you’re in the face cradle staring at the floor or your massage therapist’s painted toenails? If you’re like me, a million thoughts run through your head during those 60 minutes. Even with eyes shut, lights dimmed, and body warmed, an array of odd and ridiculous things cross my mind.

My first instinct is to relax of course. So I take some deep breaths, close my eyes, and allow my draped body to sink into the table. The therapist starts gently applying lotion and kneading my tight spots. And that’s when the craziness begins. My eyes open and I think, “Did I e-mail my client back before I left? I think I did. No, wait, I think I left in draft. Crap.” Then I close my eyes again and try to relax as my therapist firmly elbows her way into my right scapula. I quietly “Ohm” to myself but don’t want to meditate because then I risk falling asleep, which I do not want to do.

The therapist asks me if the pressure is okay. “Perfect,” I say. It is killing me, however. Why am I always so quick to please while on the table? Maybe I am succumbing to that infuriating Western “no pain/no gain” mentality. Or maybe it is because of the vulnerability of my nakedness on the table. Or is it because I just trust that she knows what she’s doing?

I close my eyes again. “I wonder how old Jerry Seinfeld is. I should’ve told him I had a crush on him before the whole world knew him. Who knows – I could’ve become Valerie Seinfeld… I can’t wait to see who Rachel picks on The Bachelorette. I watch too much TV. I need to study for my meditation certification. Testing is coming up.”

My nose itches, but I have to move my arm to scratch it, and I feel funny doing that. I know that’s ridiculous, but I don’t want to interrupt the calm of the massage. She’s palpating my glutes and what if moving makes me … ya know.

“It’s almost July Fourth, and I hope I get some really good coupons in my e-mail. I’m going to make a Fourth of July resolution – I’m giving up Candy Crush. There, I said it out loud, in my head, so I have to do it. I need to get that crack in my windshield fixed. Damn, I think I’m out of almond milk.”

My therapist removes the face cradle and is turning me over now. She slathers too much lotion on my neck and shoulders. It gets in my hair. I don’t say anything. There are only 15 minutes left of my massage. My knots are loosening. My thoughts are not.

What I think about next is this: I love my massage therapist. She truly does help with my kinks, and she lessens my chronic headaches. But I don’t think she wants to give her pat answers and not to speak up about what I want. So, next time she asks about the pressure, I will gather the courage to say it is a bit too deep. I will ask if she can use a tad less lotion. And if my nose itches, I’ll scratch it. This doesn’t mean I won’t think about one of my editing projects or whether my United miles are expiring soon or I won’t list the states alphabetically, from Alabama to Wyoming (yes, I did that). I’ll just try to be a bit less neurotic with my aim to please. My thoughts? Well, they’re beyond hope.

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