Cat Got Your Tongue?

I am randomly opening to pages of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and reading a few entries at a time. Tonight’s made me laugh out loud with how I could relate!

Deep Massage

If I’m getting a massage and the massage therapist happens to be applying too much pressure, I find it nearly impossible to tell her that it’s too hard, even if I’m in a great deal of pain. What, like this would really devastate her in some way?…But for some reason, lying there, being slowly bruised, I can’t seem to speak up, and I will formulate in my mind all the ways I might broach the subject for the duration of the massage.

I have the same reaction at the hair dresser. I will watch the way she’s applying color and think, “That doesn’t look like the way she usually does it,” or “That doesn’t seem close enough to the root,” or “That’s way more than I wanted taken off,” or “I don’t like my part over there.” Yet I will almost always sit silently, clenching my fists and growing quieter! I may ask a weak leading question, but if she doesn’t pick up what I’m laying down, I let it go. And my hair grows REALLY SLOW!!! So this isn’t a “It will grow back” kind of thing.

I have come home with blonde stripes in my hair, 3 inches less of hair, and in one case last summer, gray hair highlighted with lighter gray hair, to which the first person seeing me afterwards said, “You’re letting your hair go naturally gray. I like it.” I was not, in fact, letting my hair go naturally gray, nor am I that gray…yet.

Maybe it’s the people pleaser in me, or the politeness my mother drove into me, or my generalization of authority figures, or simply not wanting to interfere with an artist’s vision, but I am often rendered speechless in that hydraulic chair. The words flow when I get home, though!

Photo: Flemington, NJ. 2.19.23 by LA

3 responses to “Cat Got Your Tongue?”

  1. I totally relate! I’ve had the experience with a massage and a haircut. I think you are right, it’s the people-pleaser part of us who just can’t bring ourselves to say “I don’t like that.” Instead, we imagine all the ways we could say it while remaining perfectly quiet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! So true! I rehearse all kinds of things I don’t say! And then I beat myself up afterwards!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Speaking up can be hard, especially for people pleasers. Take it from me…baby steps can help you learn to say what you want, without being offensive (or even, sometimes, having to risk being offensive) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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