Here is what I couldn't have imagined. Being comfortable stark naked in front of strangers. Not being embarrassed or humiliated with my sagging ample flesh out there for all to see.
Here is what somebody else imagined: create a space where women of all ages, with lives of trials and losses, some fit and hardy, others who have not taken the time to take care of themselves coming together in a clean, stress freee environment. Soaking in tubs of various temperatures, with jacuzzis, or sitting in dry or steam saunas just being. A variety of rooms: a salt room, a sand room, a charcoal room, a reading room, a meditation room, a log cabin room, a chilling room, a mud and rock room: all these rooms with mats and pillows, warm rocks to hold or place on your body if you want, and no talking. Some quiet, some with nature sounds, others with soft instrumental music. No time limits. A place to relax, to rejuvenate, to self pamper. That was the Olympus Spa in Lynwood, where Julie and I spent over six hours today. Relaxing. We got body scrubs...oh my. That was an experience to be repeated. We had body wraps: detoxifying and probably something I wouldn't repeat (I got a little claustrophobic and slightly panicked). We ate a delicious Korean meal. In our robes.
When Andy was little and I was totally stressed out I would occasionally make a point of getting away with my girlfriends. We often would do a craft project or cook together. I thought it would be great to have a business that catered to mom's: a place for them to get away. I imagined a craft room. And a big kitchen with really yummy fresh foods (chicken nuggets and pizza would not be allowed). I'd provide a smoking patio outside. A bar with a bartender of course. A massage area. Phones would be taken at the door and all clocks would be removed. A masseuse and some really good therapists for drop ins. Pedicures. All the things that mothers fantasize about. Of course I never found that kind of place. But the Olympus provided the kind of escape experience I imagined at one time.
When my friends had described the Olympus experience to me I got hung up on the naked part. Could not imagine feeling comfortable naked in front of strangers. Even when told that it is not a big deal. That it would be good for anyone (like me) with body issues (as in is appalled by what my body has become). Sis and I arrived at about 9:30, got checked in and a short tour and then were handed our robes, towels and head coverings. The rules were simple: keep your head coverings on, shower before going in the pools, converse quietly, hydrate. Shoes were left at the front. Clothes went in our assigned lockers. In the pool area robes go into cubbies. And suddenly you don't notice you are naked. There are bodies of all sizes. There were missing breasts (mastectomies), wide bodies, thin bodies, old bodies, young bodies. As Julie pointed out, the good thing is you can't see your own body. I think the fact that women with scarred or really large bodies aren't self conscious takes away your own self consciousness. It's hard to describe. Because everyone was naked pretty soon you don't see naked. You see the women as beautiful souls: ones who have been through a lot and survived and love themselves enough to give themselves some good pampering. Outside of the pool area everyone has the same robes on as you move from room to room wherever your whim takes you. I think I dozed off a bit in the salt and sand rooms.
I would write more about the experience but I am just too damned relaxed to say anything more. It's been a lovely day with my sister. I can't think of a better way to have spent today. My skin is soft as is my brain. Goodnight!
6 hours ago