I've been a working woman since before I was a woman! My first job was in the 5th grade. I babysat my teachers daughter after school while she finished working for $5 a week. I thought I was rich! Then I did house keeping at 14 or 15, until the people in the office found out I was so young, that ended that. When I was 16 I got my first full time summer job. Since turning 18 I've had a full time job. Besides one stint of unemployment in LA I've been a working girl ever since. Even after Croix was born I "went back to work". That is one of the blessings and joys of being a Massage Therapist, I got to work, from my home, very part time, and still make a decent amount of money. I felt as though my clientele, the amount of work I did, was perfect. I had clients that had been coming to me for years. I averaged 2 or 3 massages a week. It was enough work for me to feel I contributed to my house hold, provide me a little time "away" from my life as a stay at home mom, not so much that I felt "mom guilt" for leaving Croix, gave me the opportunity to continue to do what I love.
Now most of my clients have moved away, or had their businesses fail and can no longer afford massage. I no longer have any predictable, reliable clients. I have no clue if next week I will be working at all or not. I do still have clients who come and see me they are just not my "regulars". It's kind of messing with my psyche a little.
Who am I if I'm not Terina the Massage Therapist? It's been such a huge part of my identity for so many years it feels weird to not have the same business that I had for years. I loved being self employed. I felt accomplished in the fact that I had built a clientele, established my own business, maintained those clients. Despite the fact that I still have clients it feels very different now that I don't have any regular once a week clients.
I feel a little like this wonderful part of me is being wasted. Massage is something I'm good at. No I'm great at! I've heard more times than I can count "that was be best massage I've ever had". I've heard that from people who have had hundreds of massages, all over the world. I feel confidant in my skills. I love sharing them with others.
I think at least in some small measure working helped fill a social need. Usually people like to talk during a massage, even if that's just for 5 minutes. You might be surprised how intimate the conversations can get. For some reason people feel comfortable opening up while getting massages. I love feeling like people can trust me with such private details of their lives. Also this is going to sound very voodoo, new age, but even if they just want to lay on the massage table and quietly enjoy their massage I still am in tune to their body. I still hear what it is telling me. I find those little spots that need extra attention. I communicate with their body. (I know sounds crazy, but it's true.)
I enjoyed contributing to our families income. Even when I was only working an average of 3 massages a week that was still our mortgage. I used to make more money then Brent, substantially more. I secretly enjoyed that, knowing it wouldn't always be that way I enjoyed the moment of being the primary bread winner. It's a little difficult for me to not contribute anything at times, especially when we are coming into our "poor time of year" (post on that later?).
Consciously I want to be a stay at home Mom. Thought I'd be happy not working. Maybe I will be, when I figure out who I am if I'm not Terina, the Massage Therapist.