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4 – Putting my art apart

17 October, 2011


As a consequence of my decision to open this blog, I suspended indefinitely, at least until the end of 2011 anyway, the main activity that gave me (only few indeed) cash in the last two and over years: massage.

When in June 2005 I attended my first course in Wat Pho temple, I would have never thought one day, and for over two years, massages would become my first source of income. I followed my first course listening to my internal voice who told me “Claudio, since you are going to Thailand, you must learn Thai massage”, without even have an idea what Thai massage was. I heard it was great and being honest I believed it was something erotic, but when I decided to listen to my voice, I did not worry beforehand to find out what really was, because I had to do it regardless. Thai massage has nothing erotic, but with great pleasure I discovered a way to know my body and improve interpersonal communication.

I went back to Thailand three times since my first trip and every time I enrolled, always just for personal knowledge, to massage schools. Over time I changed schools, cities, countries and techniques and little by little curiosity became passion and passion became art. An art that every time I was learning and putting apart, since I was doing something completely different for living.

The turnaround happened in March 2009, in the same days I found myself unemployed for the first time in seven years: after a course of abdominal massage, I began to practices it among the students of the yoga school where I was learning for months (and there is no doubt that the intensive practice of yoga had a preeminent role in develop my sensitiveness, control of subtle energies and the ability to listen and act positively in someone else body and spirit). After for years I felt as much insecure as passionate, one day someone judged I was “very good” and since then I received only spontaneous praises and encouragement to cultivate the art seriously.

Despite that, after a brief return to Italy, on my first trip as an unemployed in Central America, my goal was to open a hostel and doing massage for living did not seem something feasible to me. Until one day I read a job offer in bar in Granada, Nicaragua and I started my career of massage therapist, after years of erratic manipulations reserved basically to colleague students, friends and relatives. And now I recall, even after that very positive first experience, I went back to Europe thinking I should try to recycle my managerial expertise in fantasy sports games to find a job in the betting or on-line poker industry, before finally deciding to make massage my first choice. In this time, besides gaining real on field experience, I kept studying on my own, and now I reached a point where, putting false modesty apart, the natural talent, studies and experience had led me in the front line of the group.

But now I hear a voice who tells me it is time again to putting the art apart and go back to dedicate myself to the passion of my life: writing. I have tried since then to rationalize my decision, that like all important resolve in my life I took it in a crisp way, when usually I like to wast my time pondering pro and cons. of every move, and surely it was influenced by a series of good reasons, that I can resume on that, outside few countries in Asia and probably the American West Coast, there is no really a massage culture yet. Let me try to explain it better.

First of all, in particular for someone like me who can’t stay in the same place for too long, it is difficult to make a living only with massages, especially if you are a man. In fact this is one of the few professions where males are discriminated over females, unless you are a doctor or work in the sport field. Males are discriminated at the point that among English speakers it is used only the French word masseuse, which literally means a female therapist, and it is completely unknown the male equivalent of masseur. I’ve lost the count of the times I replied with my best macho voice “NO, I am a masseur” to someone who labeled me as a masseus.

Moreover I have enough, every time someone ask me about my job, to receive a suspect look by girls, or disgusted by boys, or even worst with a wink from both, men and women united in their prejudice in considering massage just a preliminary or a substitute of a sexual act.

Add that despite to me take care of others and being feed by the joy of my clients at the end of a session was definitely a step ahead compared to a job so narcissistic as it is the sport journalist (in which the only feedback, were the insults of some nerd fan accusing me of the sacrilege to touch their champion or team), it is also true that more than 80% of massage therapists I met are or really simple persons who learned a sequence of techniques and just apply them mechanically over and over or very unstable subjects who dedicate to cure the others in the illusion to heal them self.

I envy the firsts and find the seconds interesting, but I don’t belong (nor I wish to) to neither of human type. I did not really care that on a social scale a journalist is almost prestigious as a Brahman and the masseur is just above untouchables, but it is objectively hard keep dedication for something, without an environment that push you to improve yourself.

Finally, and this is pretty personal stuff, if despite of that, for all this time I was persuaded to made massage my main activity I should thank particularly one person who was the first to instill me the belief I was “very good”. But this person has decided a while ago not being part of my life and only recently I realized doing massage had become an unconscious way to keep myself attached to her. It’s time to let her go.
Since I had to face all the above anyway, the final reason is still the voice who is telling me it is time to go back writing. Or better, start doing it for real, since journalism is for many aspects the opposite of writing conceived as a way to express yourself.

I don’t exclude in the future to go back to massages, because I love it and I discovered I have a gift and it is felonious neglect it. Maybe if it would be better do it only part-time, so to keep it really as an art and not just a slogan for my web page, and focus on something specific, after years of exploring all possible ways to pass my good energy to someone else. In this perspective my recent studies on trigger points look the most appealing to me.

To limit only on therapeutic massages to heal injuries, leaving the relaxing ones to colleagues and clients with little ambition, seem a choice that can allow to find my niche, focusing on quality over quantity. Whatever, I’ll deal with that in 2012. For now, I decided to put my art apart.

Tools & Tricks
http://artmassage.wordpress.com/ this is the web page I created to promote myself. I really thanks all my testimonials who leave their praise and encouraged me to going on.

Saveyourself.ca My favourite site, especially for the work of his author, Paul Ingraham, to present in accessible language all the recent medical and scientific researches. I admit, I found ironic I am presenting someone who has stopped massage therapy to dedicate fully on writing.

http://thaihealingmassage.com/thai-massage-culture-shock/ I like to research random links for this section, something I did not know before and I discovering googling the subject of the post. This look interesting

Public places where I wrote
Centro comercial El centenario – Cali (Colombia)
Terminal de bus de Popayan

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