“So I’ll just take my shirt off?”
Him: “Leave your bra on.”
Me: “It’s a workout top.”
Him: “Put the straps under your arms.”
Me: “Okay … but not the sweat pants, right?”
Him: “Yes, take those off, too.”
Me, avoiding eye contact: “But I haven’t shaved my, my, well—anything, in four months.”
He shrugs, “Me neither.”
Cut to next scene—I’m lying on the therapeutic bed in the dim light under a whisper thin sheet hoping that, when he returns, he won’t see the salad poking out from under my lacy panties. (If you’re going to wear sweats, ladies, wear some decent underwear; do this for you.)
I’m wondering if the worry furrow etched in my forehead is visible and briefly consider going back to Botox. (I’m still on the au natural kick, obvi, and I haven’t even worn deodorant in weeks—don’t worry I’m using silver water¹ instead and so far it’s working. I think.)
But anyway, the bigger issue at the moment is why I didn’t think to tend to this hair garden sooner. I knew I’d be lying here—exposed. At least the room is warm.
He returns and hovers over me. I close my eyes—I’m sure he’s dissecting me with his.
Him: “I can do it through the sheet, but it’s easier if …”
I open one eye, glancing at him briefly. He’s looking at the sheet covering my thatched patch, waiting, expectant of a ‘yes’ answer. I sigh.
Me: “Um, okay, yeah, no, I mean—sure, no problem.” Shallow breath, “No sheet. No sheet is fine.”
He whisks it away as though a magician dramatically fanning open the disappeared temptress. I close my eye quick and in my imagination, my pubes emphatically fluff out exaggeratedly singing, “Here we are to save the daaay!” I pray it’s too dark for him to see my flaming bush (or face).
Next thing you know, he’s poking around my belly, then lower … then lower … then—well, yes, he’s tucking back my barely-there-hardly-worth-it-Victoria’s-Secret hot pink thong. Oh. My. God. I’m dying of em-bare-ass-ment!
Me: “Right.” Shallow breathing.
Me: jerky deeper breathing.
Him: “Okay, you’re going to feel this in your uterus.”
I try to smile while audibly breathing: “In through my nose, out through my mouth, in through my nose, out through my ow ow ow oh my Go—!”
Him, gently: “Breathe through it.”
A sharp, shooting pain delivers a surge of unpleasantness straight through my uterus to my vah-jay-jay, and I find myself doing involuntary kegals. Good God, I hope he can’t tell. But he’s right—with some focused breathing the ache subsides to a dull drone.
Acupuncture. Several more needles are stuck in me from my navel to my knees and I lay still while he hooks up some electrodes to a few of the little pricks stuck in my inner and outer thighs. He sets it to stun and leaves the room while my thighs vibrate and my vah-jay-jay joins in erratically, preventing me from dozing off, which I can almost do. (I have a high pain tolerance: “Oh, no, the wax isn’t too hot” followed by “Oh, I have no skin left and second degree burns.”)
Did I mention he’s supposed to be working on my neck? Okay, to be fair, he also worked on my neck (side effect of too much computer work—okay, fine—too much Facebooking, but whatever.) And yes, when we were first assessing, I did happen to mention I have this hip issue.
Earlier, while lying on the table, I demonstrate: “See, when I lay on my back and relax my right foot splays open more than my left.”
Him: “Does it hurt?”
Me: “No. But it’s not even. I’m OCD, Doc.”
Him: “Hmm, it’s likely from an injury. Do you remember when it started?”
Me, distracted by and frowning at my foot while trying to forcibly turn it the other way with a take charge ‘take-that-you-imbalanced-leg’ determination, nonchalant and absent-mindedly: “Doing party tricks at a dress up party, the splits actually.”
Me, suddenly aware I’d let my filter slip: “That was a few years ago. At the start of my mid-life crisis, or perhaps the middle …”
Oh, great, now I’m trying to explain myself all the while thinking, ‘Shut up, Anna, he’s looking at you funny.’
Me: “…I think I’m over it now …” I peter out, “mostly …”
Alright, so I pretty much gave him the go ahead to fix me from my folly. He leaves me pin-cushioned and exposed while I listen to the soothing sounds of some new age lullabies and, in short order, I feel pretty good. Totally chillaxed. (Don’t hate me for using that slang.) He returns at last to unpin me and, since it’s still relatively dark, he runs his hands over my legs without touching me to make sure he hasn’t missed any, but I can feel the hairs tickling from his touch and I can’t help myself from saying, “Can you find the needles in the haystack?”
We both laugh.
What have I (re)learned?
1. Louise Hay (Author, You Can Heal Your Life): Hip issues—fear of moving forward. (Frick.) Neck issues—stubbornness, inability to see other sides. (Frick, frick.) AJ Note: Acceptance of self and others is the surest way to inner peace.
2. Rockstar splits as a party trick: bad idea.
¹Silver water is distilled water that has been treated with silver sticks, so it has electrically charged silver particles in it and is amazingly effective for treating all manner of ailments. If you drink too much you’ll turn blue, no joke. I’m not a doctor, use at your own risk.
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Assistant Editor: Guenevere Neufeld / Editor: Cat Beekmans
Photo: Tim Samoff / Flickr