Today I had the most painful massage of my whole life.
A few years ago I added massages to my self care routine. It was one of the most therapeutic things I had ever done for myself. As someone who has been touched when I didn’t want to be and “massaged” by dudes as a way to coerce me into doing more, I was so wary of my body being touched by someone—even when I was doing it for myself. Over time I began to soften, to let go of the connection between touching and violation. It’s been almost 4 months since I had gotten a massage and I needed one badly. It has been an intense, almost overwhelming summer filled with lots of stress and reliving of trauma. Going back and confronting past sexual abuse in my teens, pinpointing the places where I started dissociating. All of my muscles have been aching for relief so today I got the chance to go, but it was so hard.
The masseuse was a nice woman who gave me a deep tissue massage and I was shocked at how much it hurt. I have always had a high pain threshold (probably because I can “jump” out of my body at any moment) and deep tissue has been my go-to for massage therapy, but today it was as if my entire body was covered in knots. Strong, resistant knots that wouldn’t release me. For the whole hour we worked on my neck and shoulders and barely made it through even the slightest layer of muscle. The whole time I kept thinking “Why can’t I let go? Why can’t I relax?” I wonder if I can feel the pain now more than ever and with such intensity due to the work I have been doing. Maybe I have always been in this amount of pain the entire time but never let myself feel it before. I wanted soooo badly to let it go. I kept visualizing myself putting down heavy backpacks filled with heavy stones. I cursed those who hurt me for making me carry the weight for so long. I felt disappointed in myself for feeling the pain at all. Like I wasn’t allowed to feel the pain. Like the pain was something that I “shouldn’t” be feeling.
Truth is, this body of mine has a story. It has many chapters. I don’t always open the book and read the passages but even when it’s placed on the shelf, it speaks. It tells me the story is not over. That under the layers there is something soft still there. That the knots I collected are armor I have constructed out of necessity. And there is that person I’ve been protecting underneath there. She is that girl. That little heart deep within myself I hid away. She wants to be free. She wants the drawbridge to the fortress I have built around her to unfold. She is the one who was never scared of anything.
“Little one” I whisper. “Little one, soon I will let you out. I am afraid for you. I know what dragons exist in the world beyond these walls. But you deserve to fly. I have weighted down your feet with these rocks. I have kept you hidden for all of these years. Forgot you were even there at all, but you deserve the sky.”
I deserve the sky. I deserve peace. I deserve relaxation and happiness and joy. This is mine to accept into myself. No more pain. No more hurt. No more strength at my own expense. I feel it all now. The letting go. The process. I welcome it. Every sensation. Be what it will. I am grateful.