Embrace the discomfort
To be fair, I never understood the reason why I couldn’t just take my clothes off with him standing right next to me – we have all been in changing rooms or in shared showers – but I’m assuming that is part of the effort to keep the interaction as professional as possible and sending the right signals from the start.
So I did my thing, and ended up lying on the massage table with my head firmly embedded in the padded ring. My masseur was completely kitted out with facemask, face shield, and gloves when he came in. I was allowed to take off my mask for ease of breathing on the basis that he was the one breathing heavily from the exercise of kneading my muscles into submission.
And a good workout it was for him: I hadn’t received a massage in ages (nearly nine months) and my back was a bed of knots, really. I’m surprised it wasn’t worse than it turned out to be. On a purely physical level, this massage was already beyond my wildest expectations and I’ll be grateful for the treatment for a good while. It has also told me that I have to make sure to move more and keep my muscles engaged rather than staying seated all the time.
But the physical benefits were not why I write this blog post: in fact what had a far more important effect on my was the experience of touch that I had not had since mid-March. I have been isolating pretty much all the time and never really touched anyone. Even my rare outdoor get-togethers with friends were not physical beyond an elbow bump. I was aware that I was missing something and there was a longing for something, but it only dawned on me that it was actual touch that I was craving.
Well: that massage did the job. After the first couple of minutes I found myself thoroughly enjoying the ministrations and the sometimes gentle, sometimes more forceful movement of his hands across my back, my arms and legs, working my feet and hands, and ultimately the most divine head massage I have ever received. I had been seeing him for a good while and have received similar massages from him, but this one was exceptional because it filled such a need for human contact that I was ready to jump out of my skin from relief that this is still possible. To experience such connection was a true gift.
The lesson I learned that day was that I can consciously suppress the lack of physical touch, but the need for it is still there and when it is fulfilled… oh boy, it is pure joy! Don’t miss out on it.
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These are my own thoughts on aspects of my work I feel strongly about.