Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The red and the black

If you haven't ever sat bolt upright in a massage to say "Ow!" then, my friends, you haven't lived. Likewise if the massage doesn't leave you sore for the next couple of days and segue directly into a cold that keeps you from going into the office.

The woman who administered this stern treatment also scolded me, which is kind of fun. I liked her scolding better than that of the Stalinist relic who gave me my first ever massage, after I lost my job during the transit strike. "What did you major in?" barked the Cossack. Upon hearing my answer, she shook her head in disgust. "Oh no, you will never get job with that." She then advised me to find an older man to look out for me in my next office and not to trust other women, who will necessarily be back-stabby.

Anyway, this woman told me I wasn't taking good enough care of myself. My entire right side, she informed me, is screwed up. Her best efforts over 70 minutes hadn't really made a dent. (So she claimed. I felt dented all over.) She gave me a very disapproving look, to which I responded meekly. When I was leaving, I gave an elaborate tip.

It's always nice to be validated, even, or especially, in one's troubles. I didn't have time to explain, nor did she seem to care, *why* my body is dysfunctional. But I have a wild idea: It's because I don't know how to properly manage sadness and anger.

Over the past six months or so, I have been to four funerals / shiva calls and spent significant time at the bedside of dying people in two different hospice facilities. I've taken off work and traveled and helped bury the dead and eaten round things and listened to people cry. Where I should have felt sad, most of the time I was furious.

By contrast, a once-good friend has hurt me more deeply than I have been hurt in years. I should be justly enraged; I try to be. Thinking in strong words helps for a while ("How DARE you?"). Eventually, though, I keep sliding back into mystified whimpering ("how could she?").

Worst of all, there's nothing I can do about anything. I have had almost no agency in any of these situations. The stress of that might be worst of all.

Sadness is a liquid; anger is a solid. My poor body has been melting and freezing and melting again. Is there any wonder it's a mess?

3 comments:

bec said...

oh, ester. i love you. feel better, and give krackden a squeeze for me.

Adam said...

my love from Baltimore. I'm told I give absolutely terrible massages, so save your cash next time and give me a call. I can also give you loads of unsolicited advice in a central European accent, which is like the Cossacks but way scarier. Did you know that German has a compound word for the backstabbery phenomenon? It's called Dolchstosslegend.

I am thinking of you. -little one

ester said...

Thanks, lovelies.