Saturday, July 27

Allaying Terror


I'm terrified. At noon today I scheduled a massage at the Utah College of Massage Therapy. The terror doesn't have a rationale to it. Maybe it's a holdover from being hypersensitive to touch for so many years. Maybe it's a holdover from a couple of toxic experiences with touch. Maybe it's just fear of the unknown.

Either way I'm terrified. Which is why I'm getting a massage... to get rid of the terror.


I've done hours of reading to try to determine what to expect. I'm still not sure about this, but I scheduled a massage for my brother at the same time - and it's a 2-for-1 deal. That means I'm going through with it.

I decided to wear a speedo. I grew up on the swim team, and I definitely feel far more comfortable in a speedo than I would without most or all of my clothes, even draped. But I can't find it. And I'm sweating bullets. We're leaving in 8 minutes.


After a handful of prayers, I get an image of where the suit is in my mind, and somehow find it. I'm still sweating bullets.


I grab my brother and we drive up State Street, then check in. I had bought a couple of non-refundable gift certificates so I couldn't back out. But the gift certificate I have doesn't work with the 2-for-1. Whatever.


A group of 7 massage therapists line up at the desk. There are seven of us in the waiting room. Now I'm concerned again. What if I don't get a guy therapist? What if I do?


I walk down the hall with my therapist, a young woman a few inches shorter than me. No, I've never had a massage before. I had some traumatic experiences with touch in the past, and I'm trying to work through them. 

I think the terror is going away.


This is okay. I don't know what pressure to ask for, but I think my therapist sounds tired. Being a massage therapist must be exhausting.


I think I'm ok. It's not terrifying. There's not any intense emotional involvement. It doesn't hurt, emotionally or physically.


Done. After years of avoiding touch, that feels sort of anticlimactic. Maybe I'll just sleep better tonight.

But it worked. The terror, at least, is gone. So it was worth the investment.

I still have a couple of gift certificates left. So I guess I'll go again. But when they're gone I think I'll be good.

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