Self Love Challenge


I haven’t treated myself to a massage in a looong time. It used to be a treat for me when I used to work out hardcore as a reward for all the physical hard work I put my body through. I haven’t worked out hardcore in years and over time it turned to an occasional treat whenever my neck and shoulders would seize up. Even then,  I’d only allow myself to go if I’d shaved my legs and my toes were presentable, if not pedicured. I haven’t shaved my legs in a looong time and I've been picking at my toe nails sooo bad that I have none left but last week my headache and tense neck were just begging for release, so I gave in. Since my husband and daughter were off on a hockey date, I invited my mom to a mother-daughter date.

As I showered and got ready I debated whether to shave my legs. I’ve been making a conscious decision not to shave my legs over the last year or so, so I had to pause for a second to assess whether this massage would warrant the personal statement I was trying to make to my body to love it for all of its miraculous and wonderful ways, which is so much easier to do when you don’t have to expose your personal decisions to other people. I decided not to shave in order to continue honoring my practice of self love.

Although my massage was neither luxurious nor intended to be a spiritual experience, it turned into an exercise of gratitude. Instead of grimacing and tensing up in shame when the masseuse uncovered my thick unshaven legs, I had to remind myself to relax. As the masseuse lifted my thick and heavy legs, I didn’t find myself silently apologizing that he had to carry so much weight. I simply silently thanked him for his strength and exhaled and enjoyed the sensation as he released them and allowed myself to feel the weight of them drop with a thud back down to the massage table. I didn’t find myself assuming that my extra layers of soft flesh would disgust him but instead caught myself thinking that my soft flesh was probably like a huge stress ball for his tired fingers to squish.  I allowd myself to simply relax and be thankful for the experience and my body thanked me. With every single one of the masseuse’s strokes my body screamed, “Thank you!” With every tight and painful knot he pressed and squeezed the shit out of, I exuded gratitude for his time, energy and skills to enable me to experience this release.  Instead of apologizing for my body and the state of my being, I spent the hour melting into gratitude- something both my mind and body needed.

Challenge accepted and passed. I totally got my $20s worth. 


Charmaine Illenberger