I got a massage on Saturday (thanks John!) and it was wonderful. As amazing as it was, there is a major downside to massages – the nekidness. Holy moly, I do not like being naked around strangers (which I’m going to go ahead and chalk up as a positive personality trait). That feeling when they leave you in the room and say, “ok go ahead and get undressed and get under the covers facedown,” is the worst.
After she made the typical pronouncement, I stood there like I had been stun gunned for a few seconds, cursing myself for forgetting how much I hate semi-public nudity. Then I ripped all my clothes off like a Tasmanian devil, because heaven forbid she knocks on the door before I’m safely tucked away under the covers.
She came back in and I tried to will myself to relax:
“I’M NAKED. THIS IS HORRIBLY AWKWARD.”
“It doesn’t matter. I have to get my money’s worth, so brain, RELAX NOW.”
“I like her toenail polish color.”
“There is a weird amount of cymbals in this music.”
“Relax, relax, relax, relax.”
“Ack! My nose is dripping.”
“I wonder if I should dye my hair brown…”
“SHUT UP BRAIN! “
“OUCH! Her strength to size ratio is much higher than expected.”
“Huh. I wonder why boys are made of puppy dog tails. That sounds graphic and violent.”
My stream of thought went along like that for a while, until she got to my right leg - everything went crashingly silent in my skull when she uncovered it.
I have a 14 inch scar that runs from mid-calf, across the back of my knee, to mid-thigh. When I was 18 I had a large chunk of my calf muscle taken out, and was left with a scar that makes me look like I was filleted open by Hannibal. I’m not necessarily embarrassed by my scar, but I REALLY hate people touching it. I have no feeling on the back of my calf, because the surgery destroyed all my nerve endings in that area. It makes my skin crawl to think about someone touching me and me not being able to tell.
While I was mildly panicking about her touching my leg, I started to think about the strange things she must see in her line of work. She daily has people lying on the table in front of her, completely vulnerable. Their scars, tattoos, bruises, stretch marks, and every other imperfection are laid bare in front of her. She took it in stride, my “disfigured” leg. Well, at least I think she did. My face was crammed into that doughnut shaped torture device, so who knows what her actual response was.
I’m working on becoming a counselor, and I realized, I am asking the same of my clients. We all have scars. They might be from trauma, loss, heartbreak, or any other number of sources. We might feel funny about people seeing them, or we might be paralyzed at the thought of anyone knowing about them. Some are deep, and some are shallow, but they can hurt, embarrass, and cause discomfort regardless.
I was struck by how brave someone is to seek out counseling, to lay there naked with all of their skin exposed. I can only pray that God will use me to help people heal and adjust, and that I will always take what I hear in stride and never make a person feel alarming or too damaged for help.
So, my hat is off to those who are struggling with their scars and taking the brave steps to heal them.