I realized suddenly that my shoulders were literally up my my ears and I was white-knuckling the sides of the table like my life depended on it. I was embarrassed by my inability to lock it up and thus, determined - and I did it. Slowly but surely. I made myself put my shoulders back down and unclench the table. I reacted a little less every time she reached down, until finally, I relaxed. And ohhhh, how relaxed I was. It was a positively blissful hour of time. My discomfort at the outset aside, that hour of perilous neck-touching put me in a state of peacefulness unlike I'd experienced before.
So of course it got me thinking, you know as everything does, about vulnerability. I keep looking for a study that states something like, JUST KIDDING! You don't need to be vulnerable to be happy. Go ahead and hide under scarves forever. But the more I look for that, the more lessons I learn that are exactly the opposite; that everything worth having requires some degree of vulnerability on my part. Much like you can't get the full effect of a facial without letting somebody touch your neck [no matter how much it makes you want to scream], you can't really connect or be known if you're not exposed a little. It just can't happen.
Touching is the most tangible form of connection there is, I think, and thus serves as a pretty stellar metaphor here. And this experience taught me something that's probably kind of an important extension to all my other lessons about being vulnerable. Metaphorically speaking, the places I don't want to be touched are probably where I need it the very most. There's something really beautiful about letting it happen, too, I can tell you that from experience. It was horribly unpleasant, because for that window of time I was at risk of strangulation and other such neck-specific foul play, but in the end, letting go of it made for an insanely delightful hour of self-care.
There will always be options to flee, or scream, or punch someone in the jugular when they get close to wherever your vulnerable place is. But you're gonna have to suck it up and let someone touch your neck if you want the best possible experience. And you're going to really hate it, right up until you realize that you don't.