Baby Taco: 5 months, 2 weeks
It has not been easy going back to work. Even if it’s just on the weekends and Thursday night, leaving Taco is still really hard. But as I see the growing pile of tip money that I am putting aside, it is starting to become worth it.
I am a massage therapist. A lot of people don’t get why I do it but I love it. I often hear things like, “We, touching naked strangers all day, how do you do it?”. “Why would you pick this as your job?”. And my personal favorite, “Do you give happy endings?”. But when I think about my job, this is the perfect job for being a mom.
Massage has always been a part of my life. Since I was little I always remember rubbing my moms shoulders. At the same time my mom would always rub mine. When I was sick, her back rubs were always such a source of comfort and even now at 27, I will still cuddle up next to her and get her famous back scratches.
Originally I wanted to be a therapist because when I worked with autistic kids after college I noticed how much they loved deep pressure. I had a little girl that when she was having a meltdown, squeezing her head or giving her a big bear hug would calm her down and put a smile on her face. There was even one time during a stressful session with her that she walked up to me and put her little hands on my head and tried to squeeze. I became a therapist because I wanted to help kids and adults like her. I wanted them to feel secure and safe.
As the years have gone by, my reasons have changed. Sure, the need to help people are always there. And sure, one day I will get more schooling in learning how to do massage specifically catered to the autistic community but right now massage for me is a way to not only nurture and care for others but to also help myself.
When I’m at home, I am constantly touching Taco. I will cuddle him, rub his back, put lotion on his feet and give him massages. But when I’m away, I feel alone. I am not around him. I need something to help me get over my own anxiety of leaving him.
When you massage a person for the first time there is always that fear. That bit of butterflys. You have never seen this person before in your life and soon they will be on a table, lights dim, music playing, door shut and you will be alone with them for the next hour or more.
I don’t always go in right away with elbows and forearms. I try to see the body for what it is. And what I can tell you, no body is perfect. Everyone has hair, cellulite, beauty marks, stinky feet. But they are all beautiful. I start out without lotion to feel the muscles, see where the pain is and only then I will start.
Throughout the service I am in the zone. My eyes on the clock my mind completly on their body. I don’t think, I don’t worry, I am one with the muscles. My hands do all the work for me. Sometimes I have clients who talk. I always like them more because then I have an idea of who they are and of how they got on my table in the first place. The ones who stay silent though are just as good. Then I can be alone with the muscles. I can slowly and carefully work through what I need to do.
There is one point of the service that is always my favorite and that’s at the end. I love to work on people necks, head and faces. I love the modality, cranialsacral where I am essentially balancing a persons brain. The client lays on their back and with their eyes closed I hold their head. For me this is always the most intimate part of the service. I get to see them what they are. Even the most meanest person is this position is beautiful. I cradle their head. Feel the movement of their brain, their breath. I feel them relax and in that moment so am I.
I figured out why I’m still a therapist. Why I still love it. I am a nurturer. I am a mom now. My life is taking care of Taco and while I’m away, taking care of others because that’s what I’m good at. I am good at helping people. I want to help people. If I can make someone feel safe and taken care of then I have done my job.
It’s not easy leaving Taco. But it is helping me regain some independence and helping me be more comfortable around people again. Granted, they are naked strangers but I am learning that it’s ok to be away from him. That he is fine with my husband. That everything is ok. It’s not perfect but I’m getting there.