Tagged: 9/11

Just Blog it – Day 11 – Tooting my Own Horn

Chair Massage - Atlanta Pampered Ladies Expo - Photo Credit Moore Memories

Chair Massage – Atlanta Pampered Ladies Expo – Photo Credit Moore Memories

The one thing I love about myself, in regards to massage therapy, is that I love to tell clients and potential clients about things that we hadn’t talked about prior to the massage.

It’s weird, and the looks I get are amazing. I’ll find a knot, or really tight muscles in the lower back, and I’ll ask if they lock their knees when they stand up during the day.

“How did you know?” they ask quizzically. We hadn’t talked about it previously, and you can already see that they’re wondering really, how did I know their back was bothering them.

“Your back is talking about you…behind your back!” I usually reply, which make them laugh. After the session is over, I explain to them as to how I figured it out, and how they can get back into the habit of loosening those muscles and making them more flexible.

Just last week, I was doing a Chair Massage session for Daycare employees, and asked a few of them if they had a headache. A similar quizzical comment came through the face cradle, asking how did I know. Again, I explained to them how I figured it out, and how to take care after the session was over.

The one time I freaked myself out doing this was when I was working at Logan Airport, right after 9/11. I was in my first year of doing massage, and did a foot massage for a client on a layover. He’d been on his feet after refereeing an NBA game the night before. After I prepped to start this massage session, I misted his foot with a lavender and peppermint spray, and began to start working on his foot, when he flinched. My thought process is ticklish people also flinch, but this was different. And when I say he flinched, he jerked his foot so quickly, he kicked the chair.

“You must be a middle child,” I blurted out. We hadn’t had a conversation about family, so this comment was really out of left field for both of us.

He looked at me as if I tapped into an earlier phone call with family, and overheard something I shouldn’t.

“How did you know???”

“As an older sibling, I know what a ‘Punchbuggy’ flinch looks like.”

That was the last time I asked about birth order. That was freaky, even for me.

I just had a panic attack.

I haven’t had one in ages. The last time I had a full blown panic attack was over 12 years ago, when I was lost in Seattle, and I couldn’t remember where we parked after the Seafair parade. It was absolutely debilitating, and I just couldn’t function. I had my daughter with me, and I must have scared her half to death.

I’ve since learned how to recognize what a panic attack ‘looks like’ for me, and to know how to combat the feeling before it gets out of hand. But this one, I didn’t see coming. I wasn’t looking for it, and it didn’t come on suddenly. It was one of those slow-to-boil panic attacks, very much like how one would put a lobster into a cool pot of water, and then turn up the heat.

Yesterday, I just couldn’t seem to get motivated to leave the house. I made all the tasks that I had to do be inside, and near my desk. I had calls to make, but yet, didn’t make them. I had family commitments to attend to, but didn’t go to them. I have several events the rest of this month I have to attend/run/work at, so it wasn’t an opportune time to ‘take a break’ from life. I got what I had to do in the house done, but not much else.

As the day progressed, I started to understand what was going on. I get on Facebook, and I start to see the 9/11 pictures go up on statuses and pages. I didn’t realize the date until last night that 12 years ago, we were in NY, visiting friends and family, quite by surprise (for them – we lived on the West coast, and moved back East a few days before), and we were on our way back home to Massachusetts. I was home by the time the second plane hit the tower after sending my then boyfriend to work, and daughter off to school. I remember being in the Towers 10 years before, on a date, pressing my head against the glass to look down, recalling how, even that far up, that ice crystals change over to rain, before they hit the ground. The hyperventilating began, and my heart began to race. Tears rolled down my face as I sat on the couch, just frozen to the spot, hands firmly stuck under my legs.

I had to tell myself that these events are two separate incidents, and it’s OK to be upset, but it’s not OK to stay upset. I shook myself, to bring me to the present.¬†All I could do is sit and just be aware that it’s 2013, not 2011. I’m not in Massachusetts, by myself, glued to the TV. I closed my eyes, pried my hands away from my legs, and placed my right hand over my rapidly beating heart, and the left one over my stomach. Take a deep breath, I repeated to myself. As I got more and more calm, and aware of my surroundings, I got up and shook that mess (for the lack of a better word) off. I realize that it isn’t as easy for those who actually lost friends, family and colleagues, but sitting in that space of fear and despair wasn’t going to serve me today. What I need to do today is serve others.

As I sit here, finishing this post. I feel much better. I have clients to serve, and will shift my focus on how to help, as opposed to feeling helpless. Now that I know what was going on, and how I can do better, I think this 9/11 will be better for me than the last 12.