How I met your muscles…
Okay, kids, this is the story of how I met your muscles.
I was treated to my first professional massage when I was sixteen. I won a gift certificate for raising money for a dance-a-thon. The massage therapist that worked with me was a true professional. She talked me through everything and went over and beyond to make sure I got the most of the treatment. This stayed with me, leaving a positive impact on the benefits and true healing power of a good massage.
Fast forward a couple years later to senior year of high school. I knew I wanted a career I loved. I wanted to help people, make a difference in the world for the better, not have to worry about money, and enjoy my job. It seemed like life would be meaningless torture to just do a job to make good money. This created quite a dilemma for me. There was a long list of things I enjoyed and different career paths I could follow. Looking back I would strongly advocate for gap years and apprenticeships after high school to explore different careers and find your true calling. Well, and do your research.
I did not do that. I started two days after high school graduation in a private arts college to study interior design. Once I was there, things went awry. My “college level” math class professor asked me my first semester to sub the class for him while he was away for a few days. Well, of course I could, it was 6th-grade math! I was quickly realizing this was not the strong foundation and challenging “college” academic I was seeking. Nor would it be an ideal first degree. The art classes were great but at over 30k a year not worth it. Then I found out the LA campus was not accredited. Yikes, time to move on.
Six months of college in my pocket I pursued a nearby community college I had heard great things about. In-state tuition at the time was $12 per credit. I worked at a home depot company in bath department sales and apprenticed for an interior designer for six months to be considered a California resident. I ended up working for the designer for over a year and really enjoyed it but also came to the conclusion it wasn’t my ideal career. I also explored many different classes at SMC to finally land on Psychology as a major. I still wasn’t sure about what I wanted to be when I grew up but felt that this would be the start in the right direction.
Fast forward to my college graduation. I landed at UC Berkeley with a Bachelors in Psychology. I was burnt out on school and wasn’t mad about continuing towards a Masters, then PhD/PsyD and more debt. The job prospects weren’t too exciting in the bay area at the time so I packed up my car, moved back to LA and fell into a job in finance, working for a private family.
Finance? Yes, finance. I had learned Quickbooks and basic accounting when I worked for the interior designer and later got stuck doing accounts payable for a print and film studio in LA while I was going to community college. The best job option after college graduation involved work as a bookkeeper and executive assistant. It was a cushy job. I had my own office, insurance was completely covered, I had a decent paycheck, and many perks. I was not happy, though. I found myself living for my evenings and weekends. Two years into the job I was let go when the family lost money in the market crash. No warning, the floor fell out from under me. I didn’t know it at the time but this turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. I was free to find the career I truly enjoyed. I looked through many different jobs but nothing really excited me.
There was still a lingering curiosity I had always wanted to explore massage therapy. When I really started listening to myself and returning to what I originally wanted in a career I ended up in a massage training program. It was there when classes started that it seemed like everything clicked. Massage therapy was a perfect blend of my love for being active, new experiences, art, science, health, making a difference for the better in people’s lives, and presenting new challenges to continue learning.
It hasn’t been an easy path but I feel so much more fulfilled in what I do. I don’t live solely for my evenings and weekends. I am constantly presented with new challenges and have an endless list of classes I want to take and things to learn. I have gained so much from each place I have worked and each body I have worked on.
It was clear from my first experience how important it is for a client to feel well-informed and comfortable. Since my initial massage, I have received many "bad" treatments where I felt neither comfortable nor informed. It is not a great place to be as a client in those positions. Thus, it has always been my goal to be professional, well-educated, helpful, and most of all, strive to make every client comfortable and to get the most of every treatment.
Well, I guess that sums out how I met your muscles. This story is not over, however. There is so much more to come...