September 12, 2011

Public speaking vs. facial: Which do you prefer?

Yesterday, I had a spa day with hubby, to belatedly celebrate our 22nd anniversary. I had chosen to have a facial while he was having a massage, because the other services I wanted were already taken by the time I booked our visit.

The thought of someone putting their hands in my face had always seemed pretty unpleasant to me. From past experience with my bratty little brother and an annoying boyfriend, anyone's hands near my face made me feel like I couldn't breathe, like I would suffocate. So I always assumed I wouldn't like a facial.

When my skin care technician(?) came out to get me in the waiting area, she commented that she always waits until the other therapists and technicians have gathered their clients, because her voice doesn't project and she can't be heard above all the others calling out names. I joked that, as a public speaking coach, perhaps I could help her with that!

I told her of my concerns about having my face touched, and she was very understanding; apparently, I'm not the only one who gets claustrophobic in steam rooms, either. I also mentioned feeling vulnerable in the locker room, realizing I had to leave all my belongings behind. The robes don't even have pockets, because so many clients would leave valuables in them by accident. To leave my clothes, shoes, jewelry, money, identification, and lip balm(!) in the locker room, and wander upstairs into the mysterious world of facials made me feel a little anxious.

She said, "Just like how I feel about public speaking!"

I laughed at the idea that what we were really talking about was the great unknown.

For someone who's an inexperienced speaker, not knowing what's going to happen and not feeling in control is extremely anxiety-producing. How will the audience react? Will I lose my place? What if I go over? Feeling vulnerable and naked in front of an audience is a commonly described experience for new speakers.

For me, a facial newbie who fears suffocating in a clay mask, it's the exact same feeling! Lack of control, not knowing what might happen, feeling vulnerable in nothing but a robe, without my belongings.

I'm happy to report that I enjoyed the facial, no longer mysterious and scary, and will probably have another one some day, if the occasion arises.

I hope that my skin care technician is someday able face her fear of the unknown as well.

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