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First Self-Massage Session in 5 Months: A Reflection.

Y'all, it's been an eventful 2023. My best friend and biggest source of support moved to LA this year, I bought a house, produced a drag show fundraiser for my 30th birthday, started the process of opening a brick-and-mortar storefront, developed a second business with two amazing collaborators, went through covid for the first time, prepared for a beloved, long term partner to also move away, and learned more than I ever cared to know about laws around refuse collection, occupancy permits, and taxes.

Meanwhile, whenever I look at the news, I see articles written with subtext suggesting that people like me are dangerous. I see politicians vow to eliminate people like me, seemingly without backlash. I watched as the Attorney General of my state attempted to rip my right to access life-saving healthcare away from all people like me, and my stomach dropped again and again as I watched our state legislature pass laws against youth like me. Not to mention the heartbreak that I feel over and over as another black boy is killed with no consequences, another "mentally ill loner" weaponizes his toxic masculinity into its most despicable form, or another one of my friends has to crowdfund their rent payment.

And it shows up in the bodies of my clients, too. So many arm adductors pulled taut, rock solid-- folks are holding their arms tightly to their bodies, making themselves small as they navigate the world. A rise in lower back pain as I notice the climbing number of pelvises tilted towards the posterior-- tailbones tucked inward, a posture of submission, fawn response. Not a single client comes in that doesn't have shoulder pain, whether from overworking or from holding their shoulders up in defensive posturing, chronically in fight or flight.

In short, I've had reason to be stressed and tense, as have we all. Two days ago I finally did something about it.

I got my hands on a foam roller, got on the floor, and gave myself a massage. I took all the time I needed and spent as much time in as many places as my body asked of me. In some places, I had to go very slow; in some, I had to prepare them with heat before using the foam roller. In some places, my leg shook as a muscle spasmed like it was throwing a tantrum. But eventually, I'd released all I could in that session.

I didn't realize how badly I needed that care of my body until I'd finished with it. I've been overwhelmed processing so much change this year, I just kept putting off taking care of myself. I didn't want to feel how bad it had gotten. I didn't feel like I deserved to rest or receive care yet.

I want to just come out and remind everyone: You do deserve care. You deserve the time, attention, and resources it takes to make it comfortable to exist in your body.

And your need for care isn't going away. The longer you neglect seeking care, attending to your body, and doing something to release the stress of the hard times we're all going through, the worse it will drag you down into the pit of it all.

It will also take time to fully release that stress, especially if you've been holding onto it for a long time. Since that first foam rolling session, I've rolled out my whole body twice more in the past two days, and I still don't feel done yet.

If it's hard to be present with your body and work on releasing tension by yourself, that's what I'm here for. I'm here to guide you into presence with your body; I'm here to remind certain parts of your body to move again, to stretch and expand, and to lay down and be at ease.

You not only deserve ease, but you need to find rest and relaxation in order to keep moving forward. If you need help finding that peace, I'm here to help.

What would it look like if you made time to receive care on your schedule? What would your body feel like if you had a regular appointment to be mindfully guided through a bit of maintenance in your precious vehicle for navigating the world? What possibilities might open up if you were consistently feeling better in your body?

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