The Time I Wailed
I want to tell you about a time I wailed, I mean really WAILED.
I was almost 2 years into my pain. I had stood up against my supervisor for winking at me and asked him to stop. He refused and then, in my opinion, proceeded to retaliate against me for having stood up against him.
No matter what he did, no matter what stunt he pulled, no matter how late and how long I worked each day, I persisted.
But I did so at a very dear cost. I internalized my pain. I internalized my fear. I internalized all of it because he had friends everywhere. I was even threatened by his best friend. I was new in town. I had no one I could count on. No one to share my pain with. No one I could trust.
Eventually, my body started screaming at me. At first, my left shoulder started to ache, a low dull ache. Then it hurt to move my left arm. Then my left knee didn’t want to work. It hurt to bend it. I could not exercise.
Finally, I could not take it anymore and I gave in to my body’s cry for help. I found a massage therapist.
She wanted to know what was wrong. All I could tell her was that I believed that my body was telling me something.
As an athlete, I knew enough about my own body to know that I had not injured my arm or shoulder and I had not injured my knee. Perhaps I had been at my desk too long every day? Perhaps I had been sitting in the office chair too long every day? The pain, though real, was also a symptom of something larger.
I knew enough about Chinese Medicine to know that the left side of the body is the feminine side. It made sense to me that given how “fight back-ish” I had needed to be and how closed I had become due to the harassment and retaliation that I had an imbalance of the masculine. I had no pain on my right side. Only my left.
The masseuse understood. In the hour-long session, she spent large portion of time working everything except for my upper back and left arm. I was starting to wonder if she was avoiding the work that I had come in for. Then with the softest touch, she started working on my shoulder and the flood gates opened.
Now if you have ever seen The Princess Bride, you know that Inigo knows that the Man in Black is near because he recognizes the scream as that of ultimate suffering.
That sound was the sound I made that day. I was not being tortured. In fact, I felt no physical pain whatsoever. Very soft hands were gently working my arm and shoulder. The masseuse opened up a gateway for me and after years of internalizing my pain and fear, I gave in and I let it all out. I wailed.
I wailed for the heart-ache. I wailed for the loneliness I felt. I wailed for the cruelty that others were purposely putting me through. I wailed for the sheer helplessness I felt. I wailed for the deep dark depression I had sunk into.
I normally would have been self-conscious of such a loud outpouring of tears and gut wrenching sobs. But on this day, with her help, I was not shy. I was not meager. I understood just how unique this experience was and that this was my chance for healing. I held nothing back. I let it all out.
I could not apologize then so I apologize now to the other patrons of the health center for having disturbed your search for peace and healing as I have no doubt that my cries were heard down the halls.
That day marked the first day of my path toward recovery. The day I realized that internalizing, and staying as Anais Nin would say “tightly closed in a bud” was not the way I would, could or should live my life.
This masseuse was not the first masseuse to help me find peace but she was the first one that made me realize without a shadow of a doubt the amazing interconnectedness between the body, mind and spirit.
I praise the health care profession and all the healers that are as good at their trade as this masseuse was. I continually seek your community and I will always sing your praises. Thank you for what you do.