My massage therapist, Barbara, asked me this before my massage on our last day in New York. I scheduled an 80 minute Swedish massage. Ridiculously self-indulgent, I know.
I nearly choked up at just being asked that question. In my mind, I explained to Barbara that I didn't know were to begin with that answer. All of things that weigh on me: my Mom, my Grandma, my family, my mistakes, regrets, insecurity, self-doubt...all of it.
Instead of getting all complicated, I just said, "relaxation". It seemed like a simple, if impersonal, answer.
By the end of the massage Barbara was hugging me while I cried. It's remarkable what the body can - and will - hold on to. I fought it so hard too. I got that burning rock in my throat and pressure in my ears that comes when your body can't physically cry as hard as your soul needs to. Despite my best efforts to hold them all back - the thoughts, memories, and feelings flooded me and I was powerless to deny them their insistence at coming to the surface.
I never do this. Cry, that is. It's like the fact that my waxist, Ob, and husband can see me you-know-where. I don't show that to just anyone - and two-out-of-three are there to get a specific job done. Similarly, there are few people who can ever see me cry with abandon. It's too vulnerable. And I hate to lose control. But I did it: I covered my face with my hands and did the ugly cry right there with Barbara, a total stranger. At the end of the massage (and sob-session), my mind lightened and my body gave in. I took several deep breaths and could imagine the gentle, baby-yellow rays of sun insist their way through the parting tangerine-laced clouds. I showered and let it all wash away.
As Barbara broke the secrets from my brittle muscles it occurred to me that your person-within-the-person is recognized instantly the person-within-a-person of another. Some call it intuition. Maybe this is why people fall in love or are instant life-long friends and why others send you scurrying like a mouse from the fall of a broom. But you know them - if they are good or bad, sincere or repressed, on the side of human-kind or watching out only for themselves. I trust my inner person in a way I didn't before.
I'll confess it here - the this seldom-read void on the interwebz - that my inner person is screaming at me to run like hell. I want to hug my kid tight to my chest, clutch my husbands hand, and run for our very lives as if the hounds of hell were after us. From what, I don't know. And to where is even foggier. All I know is that I feel like running. I put a petition out to the universe and specifically to my Mom and Grandma to please help me find a path to my true hearts desire right now. I'm still waiting for an answer.
While I wait, this one keeps me busy. She is growing. She is walking and getting molars and babbling emphatically. She has tantrums now and they suck. But ultimately I find myself squeezing her to me and saying, "I love you, Heart." And I do.
I fear that she will be cursed with the same shyness and social awkwardness that I have. Amidst the flurry and excitement she keeps to herself. My heart. I hope this means that she is blessed with her father's gift to not know or care that she doesn't quite fit in.