February 2019, I walked into Cortiva Institute unsure and unconfident in myself wanting to learn massage. What possessed me to begin the journey at that time is beyond me. I am sure it started as another impulsive thing for me to do. Having complex PTSD you tend to do something impulsively as a way of finding relief from a stressful feeling. PTSD and impulsivity seem to be a married couple and always coexist together. I know it well.
I have had a long history which started as a young child dealing with emotional, verbal, and at times physical abuse. Not that it was done to me directly, as a child I endured the visual and auditory effects of it. I was conditioned very young with hyper vigilance and anxiety and panic at times. Abandonment fears occurred a little later when my parents divorced. Flash forward about 40 years and I am sitting in a class environment at 45 years old questioning did I make the right choice.
The first three weeks were the scariest times and the most rewarding times all in one moment. Being bullied in grammar school it was hard for me to adjust to “making friends”. “ Were they looking at me? Did they think I was too old to be here? Was I too fat to learn massage? Was I too ugly? Are they gonna make fun of how I stand? Will they watch me massage and laugh at me? I have to strip and wear underwear on a table with these people???? They have to touch me too??? Will they make fun of my hair? My skin discolorations? Will they see how fat my legs are? How ugly my feet are? Touch my face??? No they can’t touch my face I have PCOS and excessive hair growth, they will feel that I shave my face? Oh my God I am so ashamed and so embarrassed, I can’t do this!!”
Yes, that’s just some of the thoughts that raced through my head every day the first three weeks. Was it exhausting to just read? Imagine how my head felt and my body felt every single day with a squirrel spinning around non stop in my mind. The whole time those thoughts raced I had a smile on my face and communicated to everyone in my class like it was amazing to be there. High functioning anxiety is another issue I have. I work hard at hiding my invisible scars, and I find that even more exhausting.
By the fifth week at massage school I had my first major emotional release on the table. It was then that I learned how massage had a great affect on the mental and emotional side to trauma in the body. The body holds onto emotional trauma deep within on the cellular level, “muscle memory”. I didn’t understand it until I was gracefully touched by massage hands. The feelings of warmth, nurture, and pure compassionate healing energy overwhelmed my mind and body and I released like a waterfall all the deep heaviness I had carried for so many years.
Flash forward November 2019, I have 6 more months to go to become a licensed massage therapist. My vision has grown to continue my education in trauma touch therapy in 2020. Massage is an amazing way to aide transformation.