Sunday, April 3, 2011

Massage Envy?

I <3 Massages.

I don't get expensive haircuts. My hair is au naturale (though it wasn't always that way. Helllllo college). I've had 2 pedicures in my life; once before prom and once before my wedding. I can count on one hand how many manicures I've had. Not that any of these things are too indulgent, but because they just aren't something I get too excited about. But massages, my vice.

I've had quite a few in my life. I'd say about 10 professional massages/wraps in fancy places. One Christmas my MIL and SIL treated me to a chocolate massage and wrap at the Hershey, Pennsylvania hotel! We also had our feet eaten alive by fish at the original salon famous for the pedicure and we all admit that it was royally disgusting, but lots of fun.
On the day of my engagement, my wonderful husband (to be) scheduled me a hot stone therapy massage at my favorite spa in Manhattan Beach, Cali, Trilogy. Of course I was a nervous and thoroughly excited wreck because it was scheduled just before I would be getting engaged-- the hour before!

My engagement story is nothing short of incredible. I arrived at my car that Friday morning (running late) and saw my favorite flower, orchid, and a puzzle box (link to exact box) on the driver's seat of my Honda Civic. The box included instructions about what to do later that day. After teaching all day (and still unsure), I followed the instructions in the box to drive to his apartment in Manhattan Beach for my next clue. Once there, I walked in to see tons of my favorite things: favorite bottled water, snacks, sweets, pictures of us and our adventures together, etc. There was a second box. In that puzzle box, I was instructed to drive a couple miles to my favorite spa for that stone massage. At this point, I had a pretty big hunch the engagement was coming. He even provided me with quarters for the parking meter at the spa! During my incredibly nerve-wracking massage, I was thinking about the possibilities. I wasn't the least bit calm, cool, or relaxed as I usually am when it comes to all things massage. Once done, the masseuse gave me my third puzzle box which instructed me to meet my (very soon to be fiance) at the 26th street lifeguard tower in Manhattan Beach. There he was, standing there as our two kites were flying in the wind, waiting for me. I arrived and received my fourth puzzle box (no ring inside: he was worried I'd be too excited/nervous and lose it in the sand!) and the most wonderful question anyone has ever asked me came next. Then, the ring.

All that to really drive home how much I love massages. Well, here's where I get all sad on you.

In the hospital on December 6, the day after delivering and saying goodbye to my son, a masseuse walked into the delivery room (I did not change rooms as they felt I deserved the space, all things considered). I was a little startled by the masseuse's arrival because 1. I forgot all about their free massage service after delivery (who would've thought my mind would've been so screwed with at this point) and 2. I didn't understand why a masseuse would even want to walk into a room where she would meet a bereaved couple. I had a falling leaf and poem on my door obviously indicating we were mourning and not celebrating. {Just the thought of someone walking over to our door and placing that poem and symbol there makes me feel utterly shattered.}

When she arrived, we created smalltalk as I was sobbing. She apologized and then shared the story of her own loss-- a son 20 years ago and no answers to why he was born still either. She asked if I wanted a massage.

I told her I did not want one. This is completely out of character for me. I just couldn't joyfully receive a gift that I usually love so much in the midst of such sadness and anger. I almost felt like I didn't deserve the treatment. After all, my son died and I did not have the instinct to know that he died inside of my body. I was feeling shame, guilt, sadness, anger... all negative. I felt that receiving a massage would feel like a big slap in the face. My son died. I don't deserve this luxury! I saw the massage gift being a reward for the hard work of labor. But I labored for 12 hours (yep, that's it) and yielded a dead baby. I was unproductive. I ruined everything.

I know that what happened is not my fault, but like I've said before, try telling a bereaved mother that as she questions everything in her being.

Nearly four months later, I have yet to have a massage. I still feel undeserving. I feel like I should be sad and mourning, not enjoying incredible, highly indulgent massages. My husband has been asking me to make an appointment because he tells me that I deserve to be happy. I just don't know if I'm ready for that just yet. I believe in happiness, but the very thing that connects me to that day and my previous happiness is a massage. I know I can be happy and sad concurrently for different reasons, but I'm having a hard time justifying this type of happiness so close to the death of my son.

There's a massage place close to our house. It's one of those chain stores, Massage Envy. Anyone ever received a massage there? Perhaps when I am able to move forward and experience that type of luxury again, I'll consider giving that place a shot. Not yet, but I'm hoping I'll get there soon.


Olaina.PhotosAndArt said... [Reply to comment]

I think I understand what you feel about getting a massage. Suggestion? (Not that you asked for one.) Get a referral to a massage therapist from a friend who has one she really likes. Maybe that way you can be introduced. I imagine I'd cry my way through said massage; it might be easier if the masseuse understood why and was expecting it. Just a thought... As to Massage Envy, I haven't had a massage there, but I have a friend who works there and he is amazing.

Erin Farrell Speer said... [Reply to comment]

I have had a massage at Massage Envy, at home in Hermosa Beach. It was a very good massage, with a great therapist (I'm a massage junkie, too. I won't buy clothes just so I can pay for massages!), but they really pushed hard to get me to buy a membership, and even called to follow up. But my therapist was good!

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Oh, listen to me. You should get a massage. SERIOUSLY. Even though you don't want one. Have your husband make the appointment and then when you want to cancel it, have him insist that you go. I went about eight weeks after we lost Eliza, but I only went because I had a gift certificate that was about to expire and I'd given it to my husband and made the appointment for him but that day he had a slight fever and didn't want to go so I ended up taking the appointment so the certificate wasn't wasted (frugal!). I was dreading it, and I honestly think it's because I didn't think I deserved to feel good and relaxed like that. I still wanted to punish myself/my body for some how, inexplicably failing Eliza.

But I went anyway. And it was such a good thing for me to do. When the masseuse asked if there was anything specific hurting me, I told her that I was working through some grief so I have a lot of tension in my back and neck.

I left there realizing that I was standing up noticeably straighter and that the physical relief that I felt from the massage helped give me some mental/emotional relief as well.

Now that I'm typing this, I realize I should make another appointment. I used to think of massages as a reward also, but now I think of them as one small thing I can do that makes it just a little easier to live this life.

Just the 3 of Us said... [Reply to comment]

I know when you are ready you will enjoy your massage...and even though you do not feel ready not...your husband is right, you are deserving of it. You do deserve to be happy.

Nik said... [Reply to comment]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Solange, Nik and Caitlin said... [Reply to comment]

You deserve to be happy. You'll get a massage when you're ready :) Miss you.

Cassandra said... [Reply to comment]

yes, I have tried massage envy..the massage was great, but I am more of a cottage with all the spa looks to it. And this just felt as if I was at Target getting a massage in the back room... So depending on what your wanting.

Jill said... [Reply to comment]

You deserve a massage. Yet, I can understand where you are coming from. I felt that SAME way too. Its an awful feeling.

I had went to Massage Envy, my first time when I was pregnant with my sweet Naomi. I got a prenatal massage. And boy it felt amazing. And sure enough a month or so later, my Naomi was born, to severe preeclamsia at 28 weeks. And after she passed, I always looked at that place, just with a sad face.

But I did eventually go back but not for a long time, it just brought back sad memories, I only went once more. But they are very good there .

HUgs to you, and what a story on how he proposed! That gave me chills!

JoyAndSorrow said... [Reply to comment]

The way I see it is that now that we have gone through the worst pain imaginable, we deserve a bit of pampering. I used to be very frugal and a pack rat. Now I splurge on things and don't hesitate to donate old clothes I don't wear anymore, etc. I guess that's a sign that the guilt isn't as overwhelming as I sometimes think it is, or else I wouldn't enjoy the pampering...Interesting.