I’m checking out all the different kinds of individuals and businesses who offer massage in my area. I’m trying to understand

  • who is offering massage
  • of what varieties
  • in what parts of town
  • with what kind of focus
  • at what cost

There’s a lot of diversity out there!

Of course, there are the less-than-legal business opportunities as well:

(Click the screenshot to make it readable.) I’m so thrilled by the idea of being a “masseuse” in their “Home-a-Rama.” I love how they’re totally honest about the fact that the applicant doesn’t even need to be legal. This is why Craigslist is awesome.

So where do I fit? My last preceptor (licensed massage therapist who received a massage from me and assessed/critiqued my performance) said that she felt that I would do better in a clinical setting, since my heart seemed to be in addressing pain and doing muscle-specific work. Of course, she is the same way, but works in a pricey salon.

I don’t think I’m willing to compromise my sense of self to fit into a beauty-focused facility. My style has been described as “bohemian-librarian.” My haircare products consist of baking soda, vinegar, and water, and I couldn’t put on eyeliner to save my soul (even if I owned any makeup, which I don’t). I have the feeling some places would take one look at my bushy eyebrows and run for the hills. So there’s no point in even thinking about going after those sorts of clients.

Who am I? Well, I’m an enthusiastic localist, windowsill gardener, and vegan. I’m a regular at farmers’ markets and swap shops and veenie roasts. (What, you’ve never been to a vegan weenie roast? You’re missing out!) I spend my free time (ha!) with young, environmentally and socially aware entrepreneurs and creatives.

I work with kids in a corporate childcare facility for the biggest company in town and know lots of teachers with back pain from changing 300+ diapers each month, and plenty of executive, stressed-out moms and dads.

I grew up surrounded by classical musicians and music, and know a fair bit more than the average Joe about the body mechanics of piano playing, thanks in combination to my father and my awesome massage school education. Dad, of course, thinks I should pursue performance massage (and hit the lecture circuit with him in an unbeatable father-daughter act of applied anatomy and musicianship).

I’m religious, but that’s not what I want people to value my work for, so no faith-branded practice for me. Of course, I know nearly every Baha’i in the county anyway, so I’ve probably got that market cornered regardless. :)

I live in the Oakley neighborhood, hang out on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine, volunteer in Walnut Hills, and work downtown. (Yes, each of the 52 neighborhoods in Cincinnati has a name. Why doesn’t yours?)

I’m in-school famous for my fabulous pectoral work, my skepticism, and my knack for explaining anatomy.

Where does all this leave me?

I’m not quite sure yet. I value my values. I like working with people who feel like I can help them help themselves have better lives. I can’t not teach someone, not even for a day. I enjoy the mystery-novel quality of assessment, even as I fear I’m still too much a Watson, and not enough Holmes. I can’t bear to be disconnected from the community that surrounds me–the people, businesses, buildings, landscapes, ecology, art, all of it.

Somehow, I’m going to piece these bits of me into a practice. One where I can welcome eco-parents and executive vegetarians and pianists who’ve been in motor vehicle accidents, while keeping the bespectacled adventurer and conoisseur of children’s literature and mind-bogglingly idealistic world-saver that is ME intact.

I’m going to need a lot more skills.

I’m going to need to make a lot more mistakes.

But first, I need to graduate. One week and one day from today!

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