Are you good at what you do? What would you like to be better at.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us CONFIDENT.
I never expected to do what I do now – and be confident at it.
When I worked in physical therapy for about eight years, patients kept telling me that I had wonderful hands, and that I should consider taking classes in massage. I still remember how I’d laugh nervously and thank them for such encouraging words, though I cringed inwardly.
I never told them that my first memory of massage involved walking through a darkened corridor reading up the names of each stall on either side of me. One read ‘Tahiti’ and another ‘Hawaii’, and the next one, ‘Thailand’ and so on. It was my father’s ‘gentleman’s club’ and I had strayed away from the main room and found myself in the section of the club that my father probably never wanted any of his children to know about. From that moment on, the word massage always sent me back to that darkened corridor, a child lost in a place she wasn’t supposed to be.
As of today I have been a massage therapist for about fifteen years. Officially. That means I actually went to school to be a massage therapist and began working immediately after I graduated. I’ve worked on men, women, teenagers and even children (my favorite quote from one child is, “I know what heaven smells like,” – though I suspect it was the blend of lavender and orange diffusing from the candle). I’ve worked on the elderly with Alzheimer’s disease where every visit is the first visit, and I’ve worked in many different locations as well – in my office, at doctors’ offices, in homes, universities, at grand parties and even at the Queen Mary. Once I even gave a massage in a crack house. Alright, alright – it was a Hollywood set but it was so convincing, I just had to set up my table there once my client and I found out that the lighting guys would take over an hour to set up the lights and we had all that time to kill.
I specialize in the treatment of chronic pain caused by repetitive strain – injuries like rotator cuff syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome and sciatica pain. After the pain is gone, the clients continue to see me under ‘maintenance’ massage, and some of them have been with me for fifteen years. I guess you could say that I’m pretty confident in what I do as I even teach it, though there are days when I wonder what the hell I’m doing.
I mean, I graduated with a degree in Journalism, and worked in radio and advertising. What the hell, then, am I doing in the field of massage? But each time my confidence wanes, and I’m feeling quite unsure of myself, I tell myself that I’ve come a long way from being that kid standing in that darkened hallway. While I may not be the journalist that I had thought I was going to be, or the writer that I dreamed I would be, I’m doing something I love and I’m actually confident doing. I don’t even see it as work because I just love it – though don’t get me wrong. I also expect to be paid for what I do.
At the very least, I have confidence that what I do is worth paying for, even out of pocket. And you don’t even need to step inside the stall marked ‘Tahiti’ to benefit from it.