Working To Relax


I found myself with a week alone and an empty credit card before school/work starts, so I decided to take myself on a solo trip!

This is out of my comfort zone, but I needed some recuperation from the stress of this particular summer. I found a great deal on a spa getaway so I made the most of my situation -and Costco Travel- and said yes to adventure.

So far, here’s how it’s going…

On the 45 minute drive to the airport, I started my period. No biggie, right? Except that I only had bare minimum emergency supplies since I was led to believe I would not be experiencing this particular miracle of womanhood this month. Mind you, the entire trip is at a spa resort where the main activity is sitting in a pool all day or being nearly naked on a massage table for an hour or two.

Sidenote: Life in your forties is a barrel of laughs with the female reproductive system. If that barrel was in an insane assylum and the laughs were from hysterical sobs.

I arrive at the airport in time to deal with my surprise tagalong guest and figure when I arrive in the hot desert of Arizona, I could drive myself to stock up on all kinds of hotel room supplies. No biggie. Waiting to board the plane, I double check my arrival info and my rental car situation.

Oopsie! Guess who opted out of the rental car because she didn’t want to deal with parking fees and 800 degree parking lot car heat? This gal! The one bleeding and rapidly running out of supplies. Not to mention how am I going to get from the airport to my hotel? I quickly book an Uber before boarding so it would all be set when I land.

Genius. I’m a genius.

I meet my kind and patient driver and he whisks me to my retreat. On the way, I figured i’d just pick up what I needed in the hotel gift shop. Worst case scenario, I could walk to the corner store and get what I need, right?

My hotel is in the literal middle of a desert. It is 113 the afternoon I arrive. There is no gift shop and no corner store. If there was, my flesh would melt to the pavement before needing tampons, so there’s a bonus there. Good news is there’s a shuttle that drives around the immediate area to a “nearby” casino, and an outlet mall. I was told if there were no other passengers, the driver might be able to drop me at a gas station store between destinations.

Lucky for me, not many people opt for an Arizona summer vacation, so the van was empty and I was able to get some water and snacks and …. wait, where’s the bathroom essential stuff? Oh, it’s that tiny end shelf with four things on it. I was thankful they at least had pads, but couldn’t imagine how that was going to work with my bathing suit. Should I just squeeze into a swim diaper?! Like what am I actually going to do?

This is a good place to stop and explain that I have awkward person anxiety. I get anxiety about stupid shit, like where I have to park before an event, but especially a work assignment. I get anxiety when making a phone call, on an actual phone, at the thought of someome answering and I have to speak to them. I get anxiety about being a 45 year old whole adult grown ass woman who finds herself without period supplies and how to go about procuring them.

The kind lady at the front desk who had automatically upgraded me when I checked in was nice enough to hand me three tampons when I asked, “I don’t suppose the hotel offers feminine hygiene products do they..??” She was so proud of her offering, I couldn’t bear to ask for about 18 more. I thanked her and went to find my room.

By dinner time, I was starving since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. The only restraunt open and feeding people was a kind of posh place in the hotel. My dear sweet friends who were keeping me company via messenger encouraged me to splurge. I ordered the steak.

Nothing to insight violence from my allergies: no gluten, no egg yolks, no bread, just steak and potatoes. Also, since this is a fancy spot and my name for this trip is Adventure, I figured i’d order it medium well. Being as how well done is how i’ve eaten steak for 44 years, I was super proud of myself. This past year I had begun broadening my meaty horizons and getting used to medium well steak.

The server brings it to me, and the streak of pinkish red juice running from the meat to the edge of the plate should have been my first clue. I could make a connection to my surprise period that I was also experiencing, but I feel like it’s too much period content for the average reader. You’re welcome.

I cut into the first few bites and it’s not toooooo bad. It’s definitely not medium well, but I did not want to start this trip off with more drama. I cut into the middle of the meat and between the dark restaraunt, my lack of glasses or good eyesight, I tricked myself into thinking it would still be edible.

I was wrong. It was like raw hamburger meat. It moo’d at me and I had to stop and just finish off the potatoes. The server was gracious and offered me dessert as a consolation. My arm was twisted, y’all and the brownie was gluten free. It was meant to be. I had a toasted marshmallow on top of a gluten free brownie. It was delicious.

Things went swimmingly after that, I pieced together enough supplies to get me to my first spa day. Spas always have supplies, I just had to be an asshole and inconspicuously pocket small amounts at a time until I had enough to get me through. I did. I am a problem solver, folks. .. in that I create problems for myself because i’m so careless that i’m forced to figure shit out constantly.

So i’m obviously now at the spa. I have peeped the goods, and can finally breathe a little. I get settled into my locker which I haven’t paid nearly enough attention to the directions on how to operate the lock because I was busy trying to eyeball where the freebies were.

The short, beautiful, and rotund spa host points out the robe that was provided in my locker. Immediately I ask for “the biggest” one you have and she kind of chuckles and removes the “Large” robe in search of a proper replacement assuring me that the one provided wouldn’t fit her either and not to feel bad. I do not feel bad. I feel simply larger than the given robe could contain. I take the robe and change into it, instantly wondering why the hell a desert spa is handing out thick terrycloth robes to guests when it is 113 outside. I immediately remove it and change into my swim cover up.

Am I the only one walking around not in a robe? Yes. Am I the only one without a sweaty upper lip waiting for my massage therapist to beckon me while waiting in the room with an honest to God wood burning FIREPLACE? Also yes. Chumps.

I am taken to my comfy spa room and the tiny older asian woman explains my wrap experience. I have never been wrapped, so this is all new. As an anxious person who is physically uncomfortable with people touching her, I am really on my best behavior here. So i’m shown the LAYERS of “wrap” that is about to happen which leads me to ask, “So all the clothes should probably come off then?” “Yes, for optimal results, there should be no clothing if you’re comfortable with that.”

Uuummm … i’m not, but it’s past the point of no return now. I just pray that this period does not embarrass both of us and the tampon I have used is the most magical one of it’s time based on how my last 2 months with Aunt Flo have gone. This woman shows me the “towel” that I get to “cover myself” with. God bless her tiny aged heart, but this wash cloth and I look at each other and cackle at the absurdity. He’s a cousin to the rejected first robe.

As I lay my bare ass down on this massage bed that is covered in celophane and blankets and my “towel”, I do my best to relax.

Ha! Just kidding, I don’t know how to relax.

As my tiny massage therapist is literally running around the table trying to wrap me in my many layers of relaxation, I am again wondering how long it will be until we big’uns have to pay extra for our real estate. She is slathering me in aloe vera and wrapping me in plastic. Inside my head I keep coaching myself to just breathe. As a people-pleaser who doens’t like strangers touching her, it’s really hard not to “help” when she is lifting and moving and folding and slathering. I find myself holding my breath constantly. My therapists words come back to me and coaching me to, “Take up more space!”. I realize how often I hold my breath, or breathe shallow in order to take up less space in the world. To not be a burden to people. Physically allowing my muscles to relax is not innate. I have to tell myself over and over through each layer and phase of what I have paid a stupid amount of money to do, to just relax.

The “towel” that is covering my bits and pieces is working harder than any towel has ever done. This is the little towel that could. I was grateful for one of the few times in my life I am not a large-chested plus size woman. I cannot imagine what this whole ridiculous scene would look like if I had my boobs hanging out of each side of this towel. I think the massage lady was equally grateful.

After coaching myself to breathe actual full deep breaths, and to allow my muscles to relax despite hands moving over my muscles and skin, I was worn out by the end of my treatment. I took myself to the showers, changed into my bathing suit, passed all the enrobed folks pretending they were relaxed and zen while bolding their hot tea and cucumber waters and went to the pool.

Best part of the day

The rest of the afternoon was awesome and relaxing and I look forward to the rest of my adventure. I have seen three lizards, and managed to pick up none of them. I will be happy if I do not see a single scorpion or step on a cricket. I forgot how disgustingly plentiful the crickets are in Arizona in summer.

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