I've never been to a spa even though I'm the ripe old age of "29" (wink wink nudge nudge..) I have shied away from it for various reasons, the silliest being I was afraid I would feel inferior standing in what I assumed would be posh settings. After all, I am no celebrity, no royalty... I am part of the normal, working class. Plus I always pictured a spa as a place with long flowing white curtains, beautiful women dressed in soft, white terry robes... a place where you get led to a room and in comes a hulking, blond, Viking woman called Olga who proceeds to thump the life out of you. So when a student and her parents gave me a gift card to a popular spa last Christmas, I did not quite know how to react.
Common courtesy dictated that I embrace them warmly for their generous gift. The little 7 year old was smiling from ear to ear, pleased that she had picked a wonderful gift for her teacher and her beautiful mom standing beside her beamed just as brightly. I was indeed touched to receive such a gift. "Mom" gave me the double-cheeked Montreal kiss and whispered in my ear, "Enjoy yourself, Mrs. O. You deserve it" Got me teary-eyed....the tears returned later that day when I got home with my second trunk load of Christmas gifts from my students. In all, presents and loving thoughts from a total of 113 students and their families. I have never in all my life, felt love from so many people, all at once. Affirmation that really, money cannot buy.
Back to the spa. Fast forward 11 months. I've pulled out the little gift bag from the spa many times during the year. Never had the time or guts to make an appointment. Last week, I noticed there was an expiry date...looming close... So, what did I do? Instead of putting the gift away as I had done throughout the year, I picked up the phone and made an appointment for a chair massage. Yeay!! Some of my friends are cheering, whooping and hollering now - there is hope for me!
So, the day of the spa appointment arrives. I am nervous. Some of my friends would think ??##?!!?? Well, I was!! I even fussed about what to wear!?? Felt like a teenager going on my first date, I was so silly. What was that all about?
I arrive at the spa. You can't see anything through the windows...as I anticipated, there were white, flowy curtains giving those on the inside a sense of privacy. As if they were the in-crowd. I walk in the door and it was as I expected. There was a reception desk with four or five women wearing the colours of the spa. I see at least three different uniforms, one of the ladies even has a blazer on, she was probably a manager of sorts. The place was dimly lit, soothing wall colours, a light brown beige-y colour (similar to a colour called Shiatsu in my home), there were chandeliers. Over on the right was a sitting area with a white leather couch and white chairs flanked a fireplace that felt warm. The walls seemed curved. Wow...having built a house, I can imagine how much that cost to have customized curvy walls.
Since I am new, they have me filling out a form. Within minutes my massage therapist comes to make my aquaintance and after perusing my form, she suggests a full massage instead of a chair massage saying she could "work my problem areas" better that way. I gulped, she saw me hesitate and smiled, gently reassuring me that all would be well. I did not need to do anything I was not comfortable doing.
So, what do I do? I take the plunge! Well, if you're gonna do something, you might as well do it right, right? :D We walk through frosted glass doors etched with the spa name that marvellously swishes open as we approach them. The hallway is curved, mimicking what I saw in the reception, dimly lit by small chandeliers. Dark wooden doors indicate private rooms. She, let's call her "Maryse", leads me to one.
The room is even more dimly lit than the hallways. There are candles on a mantle on a wall. There is what I call "music water" playing. There is a bed with a soft looking blanket on it. She tells me the bed is heated and to undress and get under the covers. All of a sudden, you could hear my thoughts, my careful observation of my serene surroundings screech to a halt, kind of like the sound a DJ makes when he spins a record the opposite way - like a car doing emergency braking ... Eeeeekkkk!!
Hahahaha. Don't worry... I knew that would happen but still...it is somewhat disconcerting when a total stranger tells you to disrobe, no? I am given some privacy and when she returns, I receive a half-hour introduction to a world where someone else is taking care of your needs. Someone is identifying that parts of your life or your body are in need of relief and that someone is going ahead and taking care of giving you that relief.
Being a working mom, I am normally that person who identifies needs in those around me and I am the one meeting those needs. For years, I would get upset if I did not manage to meet all those needs, as if I was completely responsible for the happiness and well-being of every single person I met. I do not know how I developed this warped sense of responsibility. I do know now, at the "ripe old age of 29" (nudge 2x wink 2x) that if I allow this attitude to lead my life, it will kill me just a little every day.
My 30 minutes with "Maryse" taught me to find a balance to my life. If I keep on chugging and giving, with no regard to myself, eventually, my tank will run dry. I can but choke and sputter while hoping to reach my final destination. I am realizing that it is not at all BAD to do something nice for myself every now and then. I'm sure I have some girlfriends who would say, "Whaddaya mean every now and then? Do it often!" Hahaha!
Well, my dears, I love you all for loving me and encouraging me to relax and enjoy some of what life has to offer and if I should be so lucky to receive some down time at a spa, I should never be apologetic about it and to relish my good fortune. And so I move on, a woman on her journey towards excellence and happiness, a woman no longer a spa virgin.
Virtual Visit Spa