Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
I've had it. I'm sick and tired of giving and giving with no sign of a return anytime in the near future. I feel used and discarded, and I've had enough - I'm leaving.
My career, that is.
I wanted to be a massage therapist from the moment I received my first massage, back when I was a twenty-three year old advertising assistant, scraping by on twelve thousand a year and copious employer abuse for the benefit of dining at four-star restaurants, sitting in box seats, and one fateful spa day.
On that day, I lay on the table in a place I'd never have been able to afford on my own, getting kneaded into bliss by someone who actually did this for a living. I could do this for a living, I realized, tingling with delight as my chakras were artfully balanced.
Back then, massage schools were primarily private ventures and there was no federal financial aid available to attend. The school I contacted in St. Louis generously offered to allow me to make $800 per month payments - twice my rent. My heart broke, but I promised myself that one day I would be a massage therapist.
Five years and a thousand miles later, I found a program through my local community college in South Jersey. It was a dream come true and I relished every fact I gathered in the two and a half years I spent learning the ins and outs of my profession. My teachers told me this is a difficult profession, but nobody told me that it would be completely fucking futile.
I've spent the last two and a half years with no free evenings, eating dinner at 9 and falling into bed, and generally putting more money into massage than I get out of it - essentially breaking my back for free. I am sick and tired of pouring all my time and money and soul into a career that does nothing but kick the legs out from under me every time I turn around. How do you get dozens of people telling you that you're ohmygod - wow - the best massage they've ever had, and then call you once a year, if ever? Are they all lying? Please - don't lie to your MT. Tell them how they can improve, thank them and tell them their style is not for you, but don't heap praise on them and disappear, because then they just get depressed and think they smell bad.
Massage is like an abusive boyfriend, though. It pushes you to the point where you've had enough and you're finally ready to leave, and it's all like, "wait, baby, I love you - I'll change!" and the phone rings and you get one or two more clients a week and you start to feel like maybe you could leave your other job and not wake up exhausted one morning, so you start making plans and then just as you begin to believe in it all over again, and maybe even let go of your source of reliable income, the phone stops ringing.
Not this time. I'm leaving for good. I'm changing my name, I'm changing my number, and I'm out of there. Because I found myself a new love.
I'm finally going to get myself a bachelor's degree. In Music Education.
Why I didn't ever think of becoming a choir teacher before, I can't possibly imagine. I love nothing more than singing, except maybe teaching. I looked over the curriculum at the local university, and there is not a single class that doesn't make me go, "oooooh!".
I just missed the application deadline and the singing auditions for the fall semester, so I'll have to wait a year to start the program. But I'm used to waiting. And at least at the end of this wait there is a steady paycheck and summers off. Once, you know, I finally find an opening within a 50 mile radius of my house.