Is my introversion showing?

DSC00156As much as I can fool everyone else that I am an extrovert I just can’t do the same with myself, and you better believe I have tried. Sometimes you just know as a kid that being around with people drains you, and that you totally crave ‘me‘ time. I was always that quiet and shy kid who always loved to just be alone with herself and my imagination would just run wild. If I ever was sent to my room for being bad or whatever reason I would relish in the quiet time and bring out my toys to play with them.

The only thing that has changed about me is I know how to handle people to make them feel at ease. I know how to make them believe that I am an extrovert and being considered an extrovert seems to make people feel comfortable. I put a lot of energy into being outgoing, loud, and fun at work which is who I am, but I don’t have enough energy at the end of my work day to go out and be social. After a day where I push myself all I can think about is coming home to my husband and being quiet and just taking it easy.

005With my job you can have some down time and when there’s down time people expect me to be around other people. On certain days I can push myself to be social and interact, but sometimes, I just can’t and that is when I generally keep to myself. During these forced quiet times I think that my introversion is showing, and I try my best to not to let it show, yet I can’t deny when all I want to do is recharge in peace and quiet.  My profession of massage has me being with people all the time when I’m busy, and if I have a day when my clients want to talk during their session I can get particularly exhausted. Luckily, it tends to be unusual for a client that needs to talk during their massage and even more peculiar for there to be more than one in a day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve become quite accustomed to the declaration that I am crazy. Pretty much everyone says it and growing up as a kid who was always called strange and an oddball I’ve learned to wear it like a badge of honor. My favorite thing to say in response, though I have many, is You wish you could be this kind of crazy!” Even when I was younger the other kids would try to bully me about my strangeness, and my anti-social nature, and back then I would still take it as a part of myself. I was unique, extremely unusual, and there was really nothing wrong with who I was unless I wanted to believe them.

So, on days where I know my introversion is showing I just tell myself it is a part of me. I can dance, and be goofy, and be crazy without a second thought but when I come home it’s time to press that recharge button.

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My middle finger hurts

140Imagine my surprise today when I woke up this morning and noticed that my middle fingers, right in the joint area, were aching every time I bent them. This perplexed me because my work day massaging the day before wasn’t too intense and I only had one deep tissue massage. Every time I wake up and something I need to massage is not working (my hands, my fingers, my wrists, etc.) it always makes me panic for how I’m going to work around it.

I of course wondered why it was mainly my middle fingers which were hurting me the most. All I could think of was that I may have been flipping someone off in my sleep, that’s all I could come up with. And I had to be intensely flipping them off in my sleep, because the joints were sore and I haven’t had my fingers hurt like that in a while. Or, who knows, maybe I was doing deep tissue frictioning on my pillow in my sleep, you never know.

So, when I walked into work I was less than enthused with my current predicament. One of my coworkers asked me what was up and I was honest that for some odd reason my middle fingers were aching. She immediately concluded that I must be angry, especially since it was the middle fingers that were bothering me. I told her I had a good day the day before, and she luckily offered to help me out.

My coworker is like a witch doctor because she seriously has magic hands and can make a certain area feel better with her voodoo magic. I knew she would be the one to help me at least dull the pain so I sat down, had a cup of coffee, and let her use her fairy dust on me.

We sat there while she held where the area was that was sore on my one middle finger, and then the other, and voila! it was totally feeling better. She says it was really nothing that she did but I don’t know any other person who can tune in like her and make something stop aching by just the tiniest bit of work. I’m convinced she is a magical handed voodoo priestess, but of course, she won’t admit it… yet.

Why isn’t this a career?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnyone who has been reading this blog for a while may know about my profession which had started out as a job, and over the years evolved into a passion. This would be my profession as a massage therapist, which I did on a whim because it was one of the few careers I could enter without having to do math. I’ve never been one to dream of being something as a little kid, I never played the game of, “when I grow up I wanna be…

So many people who entered the same class as me ended up dropping out. How many, you might ask? Well, more than half the class dropped out and there were so few of us that we were told if anyone else dropped out our class couldn’t graduate.

My classmates that did complete the class and graduated didn’t get their massage licenses. From what I know and the times we checked up there wasn’t anyone who was practicing… Except for me.

I must admit getting a job in this career as a new therapist was one of the toughest things I went through. Completing massage school was equaling difficult, as noted by my fellow classmates quitting the program. I haven’t come across many therapists who consistently do this as a job fulltime. On that same note I haven’t come across massage therapists in this profession full-time for several years. It seems to be that thing you do on the side with another part-time job.

I know why this seems to be the case, massage is physically taxing, but in addition to that it is mentally exhausting at times. I’ve noticed since my move the clientele have been much more relaxed, calmer, and very polite to work with. It is a totally different clientele, and I really did love my clientele where I came from, but they are just so different. Performing deep tissue massage is now more of a rarity than a necessity, and my body is feeling so much better because of this.

lilypadGiving massage is my relaxation time, my quiet time, you could even say my time to mediate and clear my head of thoughts that keep on circulating in my head. I never imagined this career wold evolve into something I love, but I do truly enjoy it. There are many other people in my career who see this as a stepping stone, a sort of means to an end, for them to work toward the ‘dream‘ career they’ve been waiting for.

My family doesn’t believe I should look at my job as a career, something I will do for years and years. My mother wants me to get my bachelor degree… In what I have no clue and refuse to throw so much money out there without a clue of what I’m going after. My brother thinks this career is too taxing on me as well and has asked me what will I do for a job when I injure myself? My husband used to agree with them in the beginning when I’d come home exhausted physically and mentally. Luckily, he supports me with my decision and my passion in this career.

I have sometimes entertained the thought of what other passions I’d love to do as a career: marine biology, teaching in science, anything to do with science, insects, animals, becoming a vet, physical therapist, a massage instructor, and even the idea of becoming a nurse. There are options when I think about other stuff that holds my interest and I have always loved the excuse to learn more.

I have been doing this career for four years, and you’d think it’d get mundane and tedious, yet when I come to work I’m looking forward to it. I’d like to learn more styles of massage, different ways of doing it, and it’s just so much fun to see someone feeling better because of my work.

Hit the Reset Button and I’m ready!

I feel like Sundays are the perfect day for re-setting my body and the perfect break to a crazy weekend. It’s like hitting a little red button that tells me everything is okay, and the perfect little buffer to keep on doing this career. I’ve been working on this day for the past few weeks so I have to admit that even though the money I’ve made picking up this day makes me salvate, I recognize it’s a good day to have off.

And, I must admit, making extra money gets me to salvate enough that I’m probably drooling a bit. But, having this day off does give my body, arms, hands, and back a chance to breathe and not hate me as much.

My weekend had me at 90% booked for the day so I was working hard for my money! Luckily, my clients I had were about medium to firm pressure which is just like perfection for me. Not too light that I can’t find where their tension is, the pain, and I can’t work things out, but not so hard that I’m mainly sweating my butt off. I feel like I can relax with them in the massage and at the end of it especially I can just stop thinking, stop wondering what’s next, and massage with a clear head. If the pressure is extremely tense it’s hard for me to breathe and I can’t relax if I can’t breathe during a massage. I mainly tense up, hold my breath, and switch to my elbow if my hands start aching.

It’s not as easy as it sounds with switching to my elbow. I seem to have a very pointy elbow and generally reserve it for deep tissue massages (mainly guys) who I can’t deliver the pressure with thumbs, fists, and fingers alone. I should be using it more often, but have always felt uncomfortable with transitioning to it. I don’t know why I have such a complex against it, yet I do.

Nothing quite compares to the moment where my head clears at the end and I’m just massaging.

I’m not thinking about my lunch, I’m not thinking about my next client, I’m just breathing deeply and feeling and trying to connect with where they have tension. It’s a moment where I listen to my body to see where the strain is, adjust it, and keep going to stay my most relaxed. I’m also not watching the clock, yet at the same time I’m in tune to it. This is where five minutes of the massage will feel like just one minute, and you can kind of get lost in the moment of what you’re doing.

The Retail Smack down

The thing about our season where we are focused on Christmas (which happens right after Halloween) is that everyone gets so dirty with what they do. One of my girls I liked yesterday ended up changing my retail to her underneath my nose. I came across it just because I had a feeling about it and confronted her about it. I don’t think either of us suggested the product, but I already had a manager fix one of my big retail mess-ups where yet again it was put underneath someone else, not me.

Now, with that, I did go up to my client while she was searching through some of the face stuff and helped her from grabbing something I don’t think would be right for her skin. I double checked and saw it was underneath another person, which upset me. So, I had it changed and didn’t want to have another thing changed on top of it.

We get so emotional about it and feelings get hurt with the retail and fights break out. It gets worse during the holiday season so instead of just dealing with holiday stress, now you have to worry about screwing-you-over-stress.

Plus, we have this holiday game and anything to do with games and we get a little crazy. I have not done or finished any little square on our game, while others are just breezing through it. It’s just a little frustrating when you trust the people you work with but suddenly everyone is turning on everyone because they want their numbers to be the best. That is probably one of the things I least like about my work, we always seem to be fighting against each other when it comes to that.

I don’t blame anyone. Raises are done because of retail, and supposedly ‘paid vacation.’ When we don’t sell retail, or fall behind, or someone takes it and puts it under them, they literally are taking money out of our paycheck for when we get our next reviews.

Will (literally) work for food!

Don't worry, I'll eat your scraps...

Okay, so I was a little spoiled a little bit ago at work where I gave out two massages to two of the gals at work. I was extremely bored, didn’t have too busy of a day, so took them back in my room and did some work on the table. Well, with the one gal she ended up getting me lunch, which I was so excited about that I think my eyes were about ready to pop out of my head. She told me she’d get me lunch and then I heard one of them say, “Whoa, Sarah, maybe you should sit down…” It’s just I don’t treat myself to too much when it comes to food and I basically never go out to get lunch. I bring in frozen food meals, thankyouverymuch.

I lucked out with some lunch, but then I promised one of the girls I’d give her a tune-up massage after she got off from work so I did a little something something for her. And, in return, she got me a cupcake. But, not just any cupcake, like chocolate or vanilla, but a special kind…

A s’mores cupcake, I absolutely love marshmallow. The only way to make it better is to mix it with peanut butter!

After all of this showering of food I kind of felt like the whole “Will work for food” was literally me. I was so excited and happy, because normally I’m the one getting little gifts and special things for my girls at work when they aren’t feeling that well. None of them know what I’m going through personally (my fiancée’s job, he’s basically gone all this week, coming home for a little bit, leaving for next week, his job is in jeopardy, we may be moving, he is totally stressed out and scared, the wedding is on hold until we know what’s happening, etc, etc.) but it was a nice little pick-me-up. Especially since I was going home and ate my lunch I got for dinner that night.

Oh, and today I had the most awesome pumpkin cake with the most delish homemade frosting… like, ever! Fortunately, it was awesomely tasty, unfortunately I couldn’t stop at one slice and ate about four of them. My bad. Then my stomach felt like I dropped a brick in it after eating all of those slices and massaging afterwards. It was so worth it though, and if I could do it all over again, I’d probably eat another slice.

Jealousy is a Green-Eyed Temptress

I’ve been a jealous person since I was a kid. Now, it seems like I have another thing thrown into the mix of my envious nature. The other thing is the fact that I have to be the best at my career. Once upon a time I wasn’t a perfectionist. I didn’t even care about what my grades were, as long as they were passing that’s all I cared about. I’d get occasional Ds in school and mostly Cs, but never was I an A student. Then I hit college and suddenly everything changed.

I got my first few A grades in college and then kept getting more. I suddenly got a taste for being the best. And, like a strange addiction, I wanted more and more. Just being okay wasn’t good enough any more. Luckily enough, I got a late start with being a perfectionist. Unfortunately, I seem to be making up for that late start.

I’m slightly obsessed with it, especially when it comes to retail. High monthly retail numbers are very important for me to get raises. Even paid vacation is based on our monthly retail average. I like have to be the best at it. Which, brings on this whole jealousy being a green-eyed temptress thing, because I wasn’t seen as being the best. I’ve been busting my butt on those stupid numbers for the past 3 months, and have successfully beaten my set average each one of those months.

Yet, still, I feel like I’m not recognized for it. As if I’m held at such high standards that it’s not much of a deal. And, the thing is, it is a huge deal! I see maybe 50-60 clients a month, if not more. To get an average of $10 I’d have to sell $500-$600 worth of retail. People don’t like buying retail from massage therapists… I don’t blame them. Hair stylists get to send you home with shampoo, conditioner, and about 50 different products that you can use to style your hair. You can duplicate what they did in the Salon if you wanted to (though, if you ask me, it never turns out the same outside of the Salon).

Retail for massage therapists is tough. Period.

But, I don’t let this stop me. I push myself even though the odds are stacked against me. I laugh in the face of reality and try to educate my clients on the products I know will help them outside of the massage. I’m beating the goals set in front of me, and every month that retail goal looks like a mountain I have to climb. I don’t know if I have the endurance and perseverance to make it to the top. And, even more than that, go beyond the peak staring at me.

I’ve done it, yet I’m still not the best. The numbers are good, but another person did better than me. I’m angry at myself for jealousy tempting me and winning. I just want to be happy for that person doing it for herself, and kicking retails butt. The envy is still there, swelling inside of me, threatening to explode. I’m taking it hard, feeling like I didn’t do enough, as if I haven’t been my best. The feeling is one of letting myself down, because I’ve ended up having my standards higher than anyone else.

I just don’t know why I do this and feel like I haven’t accomplished enough? When, in reality, I’ve done everything I can possibly do and give my all to each and every massage. What else can I ask from myself? I guess just to be okay and realize that what I do is good enough. And, to keep a reminder that I’m only human and to take it easy.

Weekend Work Woes

After every Saturday I work I wonder quite how I survived it. Fridays sometimes stir this thought in me, but Saturdays are when I just wonder how much vodka I can drink to help ease the pain and get me to stop replaying situations in my head. Of course, the man won’t let me go crazy with that so instead he gets me some ribs from my favorite place and massages me even though I never do massage him. Which, I feel bad about, but I kinda think that my arms want to abandon me after the weekend if they could.

This Saturday was no different, though worse.

We have this situation where we have to rotate rooms which means more likely that we get behind because we have clients scheduled and if someone shows up late, and we still take them, we always take them if they show up late, then the timing is all off. This happened and I had to ask one of the estheticians to help me with changing over my room, which then another client yelled at me since she walked in and the person who was supposed to be out of my room wasn’t. It was an accident, but she was very upset, so I apologized only to get more bitching out by said client.

At one point, I clamped my mouth, basically said for her to have herself a grand day, turned on my toe to get to work changing over my room because obviously I was behind. It wasn’t my fault, yet it wasn’t going to change the chaos I had to deal with. Another repeat client of mine was asking up at the front why I was running behind so the manager came back to tell her about the situation and that it wasn’t my fault that I was running behind. She then discusses to me when I get in the room how she doesn’t want to be late for her hair appointment and set her behind.

I think about this. I worry about this. I don’t need a client telling me that I need to worry about this. I need to get you in, do what I need to do, and do my own form of damage control because I am left to my own devices on how to catch up. This added much more stress to me when I couldn’t even eat my food during my lunch. Ten minutes left I started pacing because my next client was there, the one client who was in my room who wasn’t mine wasn’t out, so I was left there to wait and pace.

I did six and a half hours of massaging. Luckily this was with varying degrees of pressure, from light, to medium, to a couple of firm, and I still feel the effects of it today. Even though I’ve been putting myself on a strict thing of being lazy and re-cooperating from yesterday. I’m so over-done, nothing quite upsets me or gets me as riled up as disappointing people, or not giving my all, or just the plain fact of being late and having my clients be upset about that. Even if I couldn’t help it, it still hits me. At times I’m satisfied that I’m hidden in a dark room all day, so co-workers can’t badger me about how things are going.

They aren’t going. They aren’t going great, good, or mediocre. I am managing as best as I can the situation, this day, and this moment. Do not try to tease me, because I may just bite you. There are times when I’m in a mood to deal with people giving me crap, and there are times where I am fighting myself not to throw that stuff right back in your face.

I am a pleasant person, giving, loving, caring, and most of all I am a hard worker who will try to, at all times when she is at work, give 100% and more to her clients. To not do that is a disappointment upon myself and I take it hard, harder than anything you could do or say to me.

I know that I need to remind myself that I am human. There are days I will be my strongest, there are days this career will give me a smile I go home with, there are other days where I will drive home like a zombie. My eyes will barely be open, my arms and hands hurt just from gripping the steering wheel and you’ll catch me driving one-handed to give an arm a break and switching back and forth. This career allows me to meet so many different people from so many different walks of life. It’s just some of those people aren’t understanding, and some of those people will yell at you for a mistake you didn’t even make.

You take what they throw at you. You wish you didn’t have to take it, you wish you could fight back, but you bow your head, move on, switch over that room, put a smile on your face, extend your arm, and take the next person back. You massage in silence, hoping they enjoy it, trying to read them, and having this eternal battle not to think about every possible thing going on in your head.

More money, more problems

My brother has this thing about interviewing for jobs which is kind of funny. It’s definitely uniquely him too, because while I may interview and I have no idea except maybe they liked me, but probably not, he has this overconfidence. He finishes up with an interview, and you’ll call him up, and he’ll be so excited and basically say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, they loved me! I’ll be hired next week, it went perfect, of course, it’s me!” I can’t even count how many times he’s done this because I think it’s been after every single interview. He is just brimming with confidence and is so sure he has got it.  Now, how many of those jobs actually did hire him?

Ummm… not so many…

But, he recently had a job interview and was very excited about possibly being hired for it. He was, as me and my mother call it, twitterpated. My brother seems to have this wanderlust, it’s always greener, kind of outlook for things. While, with me, I’m a very loyal person and like to stick where I’m at. My brother for the longest time talked about leaving where we live to live someplace else for many years, which is not okay with me, because I need to have him around. If he had to eventually relocate I would understand, but I’d still want him to be here.

I just found out that he did get the job that he interviewed for. Supposedly, he will be making more money than his last job, but it will definitely have a lot more responsibilities. I thought that with his job that he had currently that he seemed to be not exactly happy, he was definitely more content than any of his other jobs. I’m just hoping he will be as happy as he can be with the new working situation.

If I just did my career for the money, and the money alone, I’d be long gone from it. If all that mattered to me was to make the most money, massage would be the last thing I’d go after. Maybe you can make a lot when you have your own spa, and you are a one woman show, but even then I’m not sure. I’d think the overhead might catch up with you even if the money goes straight to your pocket, a lot would come out of your pocket to keep your own business going. To say it’d be tempting to have your own hours, not have your lunch disappear from your shift, have control of when, where, what, is very true. I’m also realistic that there are cons and pros to it.

This career is what I do because I have a passion for it. A definite love for it. I have pride, confidence, and an ability in what I do that makes me cocky, yet also quite happy in it. When my clients leave and I can see there’s a change in them, a lightness in their step, it definitely makes what I do special and unique. Sometimes, some people leave and they never quite relaxed. It’s not my fault, I tried my darndest, gave my all, and that’s all you can ask with each session, and each client I have.

When you’re exhausted and you just can’t hide it

Sarah, are you tired? Oh, no, of course not! I just got something in my eye...

I just love it when a manager calls me out on how tired I look. I think every time they do that it puts an extra 10 years on me. And, when the man calls me out on being so tired looking, it adds on another 20 years. So, luckily, both these times are rare because I hide how I’m feeling so well, except these rare occurrences.

And, whenever someone suggests that I should be giving out free chair massages I wish I could stomp on their toe. Or toes. Or whatever will give them the sort of pain chair massages give me because they are much more painful at 10-15 minutes of doing it than a regular table massage at 30, 60, 0r 90 minutes. I can use my body and oils to massage, doing a chair massage is just me squeezing my hands for all that time and hyper extending my wrist.

You dingbat, you. Damn people and their stupid ideas, how about they try and do some little chair massages and see how great they are feeling afterwards. Oh, what’s that? Not feeling great at all and your hands hurt? Exactly my point.

At least I’m somewhat busy tomorrow. Sometimes, it’s just better to keep me in my dark massage cave.