In high school, people always told me that I was a master storyteller. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have a story for you. It all starts with a girl, as most good stories do. Her mom was very kind to her and wanted to treat the girl to a relaxing weekend because she knew how stressed out the girl was. They drove up to Winter Green ski resort, ready for a fun-filled three-day weekend. The mother booked a massage for the girl and her, something she thought the girl would really enjoy because she loves having her back rubbed. When they got to the spa, the girl only had one question for her mother. “Do I get naked?” she asked. The mother looked at her daughter curiously. “No, just keep your underwear on and you will be more comfortable.” The girl shrugged her shoulders and put on the white fluffy robe that was in the waiting room. “Easy enough,” she thought.
When the masseuse came in, she informed the daughter and the mother that they would each have to go into the massage room separately. The mother let the daughter go in first. The masseuse, a very small older woman with a soft voice, led the girl into the small room. She began instructing the girl on what to do, but the girl had shrunk into her own mind, worrying obsessively about another issue…tip money. She had left her wallet in the locker room. Would the masseuse think it was rude if she didn’t tip when she was done, or were you not supposed to tip? The girl’s mind was racing with these questions and it seemed so important to her at the time that she completely missed everything the masseuse had said to her. The girl tuned back into the conversation as the masseuse said, “Most of my clients get naked. I’ll give you a few minutes to disrobe.” If the girl had water in her mouth, she would have done a spit take. “Naked?” she thought, “My mother said that I could just wear my underwear!” The girl’s heart began to pound as she decided what to do. What if she kept her underwear on but that was not the proper protocol? What if she misheard the woman and what she really said was, “Most of my clients don’t get naked.” The girl did not know what to do, but she knew that staying in her robe would be the most awkward decision and the masseuse was bound to come back into the room any moment.
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish I could tell you that the girl decided to keep her underwear on…but she didn’t. She got under the blanket as naked as the day her mother gave birth to her. As soon as the masseuse came back into the room, the girl realized that she had made the wrong decision. Her cheeks burned bright red as the masseuse started talking to her.
“What’s your sign? She asked. “I’m naked,” the girl screamed internally
“Are you on your feet a lot?”… “I’M naked”
“How is your relationship with your father?” …. “Sign. Feet. Father? Lady, I’M NAKED!”
The girl’s anxiety only increased when the masseuse told her to roll over. Before she knew it, the masseuse was kneading and rubbing her butt and I am sure the girl just about fainted. Suddenly, the girl remembered another very embarrassing detail she, surprisingly, had not thought of yet…how hairy her legs were. In fact, how hairy everything was and how the masseuse had gotten a full view of everything au naturel on the girl’s body. Embarrassment radiated from the girl and the masseuse noticed it. “Ma’am” she said, “You are sweating profusely. You need to give me control of your limbs. You’re fighting me by being so tense.” The girl tried her hardest to relax for the next five minutes. Eventually though, the masseuse gave up. The girl practically ran out of the room, muttering, “Thank you so much. I am sorry I don’t have a tip.” If you think that girl was tense when she entered the spa, you should have seen her when she left. Her mother laughed at her for days.
Confession time: the girl was me. Even though I am so incredibly lucky and blessed to have a mother who cares enough about me to be concerned about my stress levels, every time I think about this memory I cringe. However, I do not cringe because a stranger touched my bottom. I do not cringe because I was sweating so badly that the masseuse had to ask me if I was all right. I do not even cringe because I was a complete hairy mess. No. I cringe because I allowed my worries of small, insignificant issues to ruin a moment that I was looking forward to. Instead of leaving happy and relaxed, I allowed myself to become so stressed that I left miserable. Not only that, I made everyone else around me miserable because I took my misery out on them. Even to this day, making a big deal out of minor details still has a way of putting me in a sour mood: not getting the perfect picture at an event, making a joke that no one laughed at during dinner with my friends, forgetting to set aside a vegetarian quiche for the person who requested one at the farmers market (but failed to email me the reminder as I asked), these things have a way of making me forget to enjoy the moment. They have a way of making me forget to appreciate the memories I am making. Instead, I obsess over the smallest things and let those be the forefront of my experience. While I do agree that many of life’s greatest moments are the small ones, such as when I held my nephews for the first time, shared ice cream with my boyfriend on our first date, or watched The Office with my best friends while it snowed during Christmas break, sometimes trying to make every small moment of the bigger experience perfect, ruins the big experience entirely. If I had worried about the exact right amount of time to hold my nephews before I passed them to the next family member eagerly waiting for a turn, I would not have enjoyed seeing Tucker give me his sweet, baby smile. If I had worried about if I had selected the right ice cream flavor for Franco and I to share on our first date, I would have missed the moments where we laughed as I told him the exact story I wrote about in this post. If I had worried if my friends were enjoying watching The Office as much as I was, I would have been too anxious to realize that Audrey and Kaila were laughing right alongside of me. The advice I have to give may be completely irrelevant to some people (I know tons of friends who have told me that getting a massage naked doesn’t faze them at all) but it is advice that I am still trying to effectively remind myself to enact every day. Stop sweating the small stuff, or I promise you, the small stuff will sweat you. If not a little bit, then maybe even profusely (;