I tend to get asked by new clients, “How did you get into this profession”? It’s somewhat of an interesting story, to me anyway, since I literally had no idea what I was going to “be” when I “grew up”.
Some might say, we don’t really grow up, but expand our experiences, and grow in some direction, based on that expansion of knowledge through those experiences.
The idea that there is a “grown up destination” has definitely eluded me for, well, most all of my life.
If we’re being honest, turns out, I’m not the only one who still laughs at inappropriate times, and you have no idea how hard it is to keep it together when someone passes gas during a massage. NO IDEA!
My freshman year of college I was thinking I’d be a teacher and a coach. I had always been a student of all of my sports, and a collegiate athlete after all. What else could I have possibly been good at?
I had zero imagination when it came to seeing what could be out there for me to do upon graduation. Let’s face it, even when society puts the pressure on us to get that job and make that money, the truth is, it’s OK to still be unsure. It’s all going to be ok. Really. You’ll see.
After doing some private shot put and discus coaching, I soon realized I had no patience for high school athletes who didn’t want to be there, and/or listen to what I had to say. I also wasn’t keen on the idea of dealing with the parents who forced them to show up. Ugh. NEXT.
I was finishing up my Bachelors of Science in Health and Sports Sciences at the University of Oklahoma. I was tossing around the idea of going to Chiropractic school. I had seen a Chiro for years and felt it would be a good transition from what I was already studying.
I soon found out that I would need more pre-requisites beyond all the sciences I had already taken, in order to apply.
I called up my uncle, who is a Chiropractor, and asked him what seemed like a million questions. What came of that conversation was that not only did I not want to attend 4 more years of school, I also told my Self I didn’t want to be responsible for cracking peoples necks.
Now we all know that’s not what they are doing, cracking necks, and through training and practice, I would have been just fine. It’s truly amazing to think about the lies I told my Self in order to not have to try something challenging. Like I wasn’t smart enough or didn’t have the right study habits to buckle down and do it. What if I failed?
Fear is really a bitch, y’all.
During the same conversation, my uncle asked what I thought about soft tissue work, or Rolfing. I had never heard of Rolfing and it sounded interesting.
The next occurrence was nothing short of a gift from the Universe. I found out I was just ONE hour short of graduating with my Bachelors. At the time I was certainly not happy because of this massive oversight, but looking back, yeah, it was perfect.
I went to Dr. Ratliff, my favorite Biomechanics professor, to get my orders for this one-hour independent study course for the summer. I knew he’d be fun to work with one-on-one. I once saw him stand on a desk and yell his lecture to our small laboratory class room in order to show his excitement for the subject matter. I’ll definitely never forget him.
While I was there, he said to pick a topic, read three journal articles and critique them, read a book on the topic and write a book review, then write a 5 page paper on what I learned.
“Give it to me by the end of the summer”, he said.
I chose Rolfing.
Turns out, he was mostly absent from my study unless I emailed or called him up for something. It was fantastic not being micromanaged, but also unfortunate that I didn’t get to spend more time chatting with him.
During this study I ordered information from the Rolf Institute in Colorado and found that if I was already a Massage Therapist, I would start at a different level in the program.
Again, I picked up the phone to call Uncle Mike to talk it out.
He said to me, “Before you head off to the Rolf Institute, you might better see if you can be in a small room, alone, with a naked person, for an hour, because it’s not for everyone”. Um…I hadn’t really thought about it that way.
With that in mind, I enrolled in an Associates of Occupational Studies Degree in Therapeutic Massage in Oklahoma City. I began my training just two months after finishing up at OU.
I never made it to Colorado.
What I had learned about the human body during my time as an athlete at OU, in the cadaver labs, in numerous physiology and biomechanics classes, then finally, during my 14 month massage program, was something comprehensive and expansive. I wanted to practice all of that and make it my own. It was a natural fit that I truly can’t explain with words. It just felt right.
Now, 14 years later, I am still doing it and loving it.
I have added Parent/Infant massage Classes, Cupping Therapy, and currently working on an adult class to teach massage techniques to help each other at home, as well as teaching the benefits of touch.
Of course, there are always new modalities and techniques I may learn from Continuing Ed. and other Therapists, and I’m always looking for more ways to get the word out about bodywork and it’s amazing effects.
Looking back, I don’t know that I consciously chose to be a Massage Therapist when I grew up. I think it chose me, and I was open to the possibility.
Telling this story reminds me to listen to my gut and trust that everything always works out. Even that random missing hour of course work at OU wasn’t such a terrible thing.
Much love and joy to you all!