It’s funny/sad/odd/frustrating how memories of someone who has passed can leap out of nowhere. It seems like those times, for me, are met with joy and then sadness at the re-acknowledging of the loss. It can be the simplest or most mundane tasks which bring up memories.
I was out by myself this morning, shopping for clothing. I have a new job and I needed shirts to wear. I also have lost weight and thought it was time I buy a bra that actually fits instead of relying on sports bras with mediocre support. After all, new job, new me? Sure. Why not!
I had measured myself earlier this week and determined my new bra size. I found a style which I thought would work and tried it on. I was popping out of the sides and smooshing out of the cups, despite having the “correct” size. I thought, “My boobs look like soft, uncooked yeast dough which is stuffed into flimsy baking cups!”. The sight of myself made me laugh! Seriously, this bra was not going to work at all. I texted a friend my shopping woes and headed back to the racks. I made it out of there with two bras which fit without squishing my fat too terribly. I felt quite triumphant as I left the mall.
As I headed home, my mind flashed to one of the times my mom and I went clothing shopping. Mom said she never knew how to dress and when I was in town, we’d go to Ross or Target. I was there as another opinion and my mom liked what I would pick out for her. I remember one trip in particular, several years back. I was given $400.00 to spend on clothes for my birthday. It was a gift from my husband because he never knew what to buy me and I always asked for clothes! So, my mom and I went off. Since I found a few good deals, I decided to pay for some bras for her. She had lost weight and had recently had a lumpectomy to remove small tumors from her breast. For whatever reason, mom seemed to think well fitting bras were not supercritical. I know a well fitting bra makes me stand a little taller and I thought she needed this for herself. I remember we had fun shopping. There was a decent amount of mirth about the way things fit or how they didn’t fit. Also about how ridiculous bras are and how annoying being lopsided can be. The lumpectomy left her with a few scars and an asymmetrical chest. After a few tries, we found two bras that worked. I found several things to wear to work and it was deemed a successful shopping trip.
I’d forgotten about this shopping trip until today. I was glad no one could see my crying behind my sunglasses as I drove home. It’s funny how the little things will pop out and get ya when you least expect it. Good memories.
I wanted to give a brief update since massage school has ended. I have been out of school for two weeks and have been hired on at Lowe’s Hardware. Yes, this is not a massage related job. I know. It’s a job which can help me get some money flowing in until my licence arrives (which can take up to three months!). I’m in a new town with few contacts. No one knows me and I was turned down for jobs in the medical field, of which I was well qualified. I jumped at the first place that called me back. I’m not allowed to work as an LMT until my licence arrives, however we were told we could practice massage for “tips or donations” before our licences are in. To me, this feels risky. My insurance only covers me once my licence is active and I’m not willing to purchase more insurance to work off campus. It might be a good way to market oneself but I’m still wary. To me, that feels like a work around and I’m not sure if it’s 100% on the up and up.
To be very honest, my anxiety is high and my confidence is lower that I’d like it to be. The job which I accepted is a part time position as a cashier. I worked as a cashier some time ago. I could have held out for a different, more related to massage business to call, but I am feeling desperate. I also have a distinct urgency to get my shit together so my ex-husband can be rid of me. He has been supporting me while I’ve been at school. While he’s never complained to me, I feel like his good nature could run out if I can’t get it together. I hate feeling like I am someone else’ problem to be dealt with. (Thank you, deep seated childhood scars)
I was looking at real estate listings today. I am completely disheartened by the prices of housing. I don’t know how single people live on their own, without housemates. I fully understand the ride of the Tiny House movement as well as the RV/vagabond life. I have looked into both as a temporary idea for housing. Neither are sustainable or desirable for my life at this point. My true dream is to build a house on land that I own. I have no idea how this will come about or where I’ll land, but that’s what I want.
As far as massage, I feel like given all my experiences, I still need a fare amount of space and distance to fully process it all. I wonder how much I could have learned if there was no bullshit or drama at school? One will never know. However, continuing education is on my future “to-do” list and I am looking forward to learning more about massage and anatomy. Friday is my first day of orientation. I will start training for my new job on Monday if all goes to plan. I have a friend visiting this weekend. My goal is to enjoy life this weekend and try to empty my mind of all these worries. As Dori says….”just keep swimming”…. and swim, I shall.
In our communications class, the instructor told us that in her massage practice, she presents herself as a blank canvas to her clients. She does not speak about her beliefs and she doesn’t share her personal life (apart from talking about her kids) with anyone. She chooses to wear all black and she tries to stay as neutral in all she says and does as possible. We had a discussion about this in class. My comment was this is a good idea. Sharing with people ones insights or telling folks about yourself gives others more opportunity to form opinions about you and judge. My instructor said other folk’s judgements didn’t bother her, which is awesome. I wish I could feel that same freedom. People’s negative opinions about me do kinda get to me. Perhaps it’s yet another example of diminished confidence in myself. Yet another thing to address on my long list of self improvement goals.
I’ve been thinking a lot about feeling judged and being judged. I’ve felt indirectly judged since I started school. Going into the massage field, I knew I’d come across some opinionated people who had a different ideas than me. Differences make the world interesting and I welcome them. However, I was not prepared for the continual onslaught of strong opinions coming from both students and instructors. Never before have I felt that every opening conversation was started to see which side of the argument you were on. I feel like at this point, this post is makes me sound like a little snowflake/pansy for being in a new environment. I feel I must explain further, because I am not a pansy or a snowflake. Allow me to tell you a bit about myself instead.
I am not vegan. I’m not vegetarian. I do not buy organic. I eat gluten. I eat peanuts and peanut butter. I sometimes drink soy milk. I use single use plastics still and I also use a microwave. I use sunblock because I am pasty white and hate sunburns. I get my vaccines and I vaccinated my children when they were young. I go to the doctor for annual check ups, even if nothing is wrong. I don’t take vitamins anymore but I am trying to add veggies to my diet more often. I take medicine, prescribed by a doctor, for my high blood pressure. I have tried using “natural” deodorant (for the past 8 months) and it gives me a rash so I’m returning to the “bad” stuff. I am not afraid of traditional cleaners and I like the smell of bleach wipes. I believe every aspect of life needs balance which includes work and play. Too heavy on one side or the other causes problems. Sweets and alcohol won’t kill me if both stay in moderation. I don’t think modern science has all the answers but I don’t see it as an evil to be feared. Again, every aspect in balance. I do not believe in “cures” and become super skeptical when someone tells me about them. I keep a healthy level of skepticism about a lot of things and if something seems too easy, too perfect or too good to be true. I imagine it is. I consider myself curious and open minded but my open mindedness does not mean I agree with you.
All of the facts about me I’ve mentioned here have been an opinion shared or a strong idea mentioned/debated by someone at school. I have my opinions about things just like anyone else but I don’t give a shit if someone has a different idea than me. If they do, fabulous! It keeps the world interesting. What I do take issue with is feeling like any interaction could turn into a debate. I take issue with not having my “wrong” ideas respected. I did not come to this school to argue or change minds. I came to learn about massage, the body and about how the body works. Everyday has felt like an exercise in avoiding conflict. It’s been easier to keep my mouth shut and be that blank canvas for others to project their opinions. My silence can be viewed as agreement if as long as the conversation is quickly dropped. I don’t have the strength or mental energy to argue. I despise confrontation and I have learned to choose my battles wisely.
My main goal when starting school was to blend so I would not be a target. I didn’t want to be attacked for having a difference of opinion or an unpopular opinion. I’ve been managing and holding all of this in for the past 8 months. I was unable to articulate exactly what I was feeling because I hadn’t found the words nor had I taken the space to reflect upon my discomfort. I feel like I became that blank canvas as a defence mechanism and it’s mostly worked. I no longer feel like being the blank canvas because it’s not true to who I am.
In our communications classes we’ve learned to soften our words, we’ve learned to use “I” statements instead words of blanket assumption. I have learned to be more vulnerable, just not completely so. My silence about controversial topics might have been taken as “agreement” when I have not agreed. I feel I have betrayed myself in order to fit in and be accepted and for that I am disappointed in myself. I haven’t wanted to share in circle for a while now, because I have felt this strong indirect judgement. Why? Because I know I am the minority in this group. I’ve been told to use my voice several times this past week. Tomorrow, I think I’m going to try and share my thoughts.