“A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.”
I think we can all agree we go through many overhauls in our lifetime. Through life choices or circumstance, we evolve. The real prize is being able to look back at our former selves and learn, contemplate, and gain insight. Today, our guest author is doing exactly that, in a way that will make you think and laugh. We’re honored to have her. — Beth
Most people, at some time during their school careers, gingerly captured caterpillars and watched as they formed a chrysalis to later emerge as a delightfully colored moth, aka butterfly. What your second grade teacher didn’t tell you, and might not have known, is what happens inside the cocoon. You imagine that the caterpillar’s plump body slims down due to the lack of food, and it decides to grow wings and break free so that it can fly. A beautiful and perfect image of everyone’s dream. To sleep until we are thin and to soar into success with the wings we never fathomed we would have. Too bad it is not true. What really happens is that the caterpillar dissolves into a gelatinous mass of primordial goo, every fiber of its being broken down and rearranged, just to have to start life over in a completely different form.
Today I went in for a massage. While this is a seemingly ordinary thing, it triggered an existential crisis. I walked into The Spa, armed with a gift card and freshly showered lest my current perfume, eau de SAHM, was not to the “therapist’s” preference. The manager on duty asked me if I preferred a male or female therapist. I answered that I didn’t care. I have had a plethora of medical issues, had a baby, and breast fed my son for 13 months. While not always happy with my body’s appearance, modesty and I parted ways many years ago.
As I was approved for entrance into the inner sanctum of the spa, I was led through floor to ceiling glass doors to a sandalwood scented lounge and handed a tablet along with a glass of room temperature, citrus infused water. I was instructed in hushed tones to fill out my medical history. I could only assume that the massage therapist must have had medical training or they wouldn’t need all that information, right?
When I finished filling out the requisite information, I surreptitiously inspected the other occupants of the room. None were talking. Well, there was the lady with the massive blown out hair, Tammy Faye makeup, and the $1200.00 Max Mara bag who was either chanting some mantra in an unknown language… or she had indigestion. With the exception of loony (probably ate too many tacos) lady, the other occupants were middle aged wealthy people that looked bored. Holy fucking shit, how did I end up here?
Yes, smart asses, I drove a car.
Twenty years ago, if you had told me that I would end up being a suburban housewife and SAHM, I’d have laughed in your face. Or put my fist in it. Never would I have dreamed that I would be clean, soft, married, or a mother! If the me of now saw the me of then, I would never have trusted that train wreck with another human life. In fact, I would have serious doubts that young woman could even take care of herself.
I wasn’t always like this.
A masseuse entered the hushed room. A very large black man reminiscent of Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP) with hands the size of Jupiter called my name in the most flamboyant voice imaginable. While the upper middle classians all sighed in relief that this giant wasn’t their masseuse, I was trying to wrap my head around hearing my name said two octaves higher than I had expected.
Not Michael Clarke Duncan left me to change. As I lay, naked, under the thin blanket, I started to wonder how I could have possibly become someone so totally different. Was this middle aged, flabby woman, on the table with a comfortable home, and a comfortable life really the same person as the girl who was living so close to the edge she had become mean and was guaranteed to get the drop on you before you even realized you might think about taking a stab at her?
Not MCD returned and temporarily distracted me from my musings, “Girlfriend, did you want light, firm, or deep tissue?” Um… firm pressure I guess? Suddenly, the scent of strawberry porn store lube permeated the room. What the ever loving fuck is that? Holy shit, it is the massage oil! The sound of those gigantic meat hooks slapping together with the lube… er I mean, oil was disturbingly accompanied by the feel of a gallon of cool lube landing on my back. With out any preamble, a gigantic forearm pressed down along the width of my back and proceeded to rearrange my back fat into a hunchback to rival Quasimodo’s.
“Um, maybe a bit less pressure there, Not MCD.” The steam roller on my back lightened up a barely noticeable amount. The rolling pin section of my massage lasted an eternity. Then, the blessed release when it stopped was brutally interrupted with the elbow shoved into the back of my skull. Thank all and any Gods above that I didn’t ask for the deep tissue massage. As Not MCD’s large sasquatchian feet lifted onto their toes to give more leverage to the elbow, I desperately tried to turn my mind to other things.
Fear. Fear of having my sweet baby boy experience the things I had. Of him finding out about the kind of life I once led. Will he be proud of his mum for beating the shit out of the tweeker who accused her of stealing her dope? For breaking the collar bone of the alcohol and halydol riddled meth head ex when the asshole held a carrot peeler up to her eyes and growled, “I don’t like having your eyes watching me, pick one.” Hiding in a closet while he screamed about her levitating around the room and took a katana to a fake plant because it was growing a mouth and trying to eat him.” For her finally giving up and running away to a different town, a different life, answering the phone to, “China Doll, I miss you and just don’t want you to hate me,” and realizing that she didn’t care about anyone enough to hate them. Except herself.
For shits sake! Do I really need a million fuck tons of pressure from your elbow right above my kidney? Are my occasional gasps of pain not a clear indication of how you are doing? I used to be a master at non verbal hints with men who were touching my body. Although, in my reminiscing, it occurs to me that none of them were gay.
Focus on something else. Not who I was. NOT the massage/ mauling. What is that music playing? Is that “War Ensemble?” Holy crap, it is! At a third the speed and being played on Peruvian pipes. Disturbed, played by a string quartet? “Madness is the gift that has been given to me. I can see inside you, the sickness is rising, will you give in to me? It seems that all that was good has died and is decaying in me.” The next song was elevator music Godsmack. “It’s my time to dream, dream of the skies. Make me believe that this place isn’t made by the poison in me.” Seriously, this cannot be happening. Between the pain inflicted by Not MCD, the travesty of turning good music into yuppie shit, and smelling like hooker Strawberry Shortcake, I started to wonder if the spa was hell on Earth. Or at least started to wonder if Not MCD was reserved specifically for gift card recipients. Sort of like a warning shot to keep trespassers (poor people) at bay.
“Ok honey, now make sure to drink lots of water today. I’ll have a bottle of water for you, complimentary, when you open the door.” Finally, I was released from the shackles of pain. Then, an epiphany! Perhaps this new me is the result of a pupa phase. Sure, I didn’t wake up thin and gorgeous, but I actually LIKE the new me. I felt the shackles of my brain release their hold as well. I have emerged as something wholely different, but not bad. In fact…
Perhaps I am still in the chrysalis, waiting to emerge.
Cogito Ergo Bibamus is a character that has set the author free. Latin for “I think, therefore I drink,” the upcoming website, cogitoergobibamus.com will be a place for the new found voice to call home. This is the first time Cogito as been published and she couldn’t be happier that it was on SisterWives!