Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Closing Up Shop, Part I

Oh noes!  What happened???

In short, life happens.  One contributing factor is an injury I took in December during a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class.  I fell incorrectly, and it looks like it's going to take a little longer to heal.  For many reasons, I do not have the drive to maintain my practice while I await some unspecified future date.  What are my reasons?  That is a well-thought-out blog for another time.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Impostor Syndrome

As of this moment, the following is wikipedia's description of the topic at hand:

The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

Does this sound like someone you know?  Does any of this describe yourself?  I learned about imposter syndrome in 2011 when my husband forwarded Jean Hsu's blog entry, Overcoming Impostor Syndrome.  He was not-so-subtly trying to make a point.

I recognized it in myself, immediately.  At the time, I had a BA and I was close to finishing my Associates in Applied Science - but I wasn't a good student.  I just sound intelligent, so people make assumptions.  I was also digging myself deeper into debt, and without a lot of help, I would not have attained my degree - anyone can apply for loans.  This isn't a healthy train of the thought.

I shared Ms Hsu's blog with my classmates and asked if any of them felt this way.  One of them, unimpressed, said, "All the time," though this was new terminology.  It helped to put a face to the enemy, even if we've long since been familiar with its work.

I thought I'd left the bulk of this problem in that classroom, but today I learned otherwise.  This video taught me that I'm still afraid of being "found out".

To recap, as I know you took the time to watch the video Ms Diamond put together for us, what is fear?  False Evidence Appearing Real.  I've had all the evidence stacked against me.  I only got through two degrees because I had a bunch of help (never mind that help is part of education).  I'm only an AMTA volunteer because someone else didn't sign up (although I see merit in someone doing something that others do not want to do, I offer no merit for myself).  I've only met accomplished MTs because of the people I've met through AMTA (because I haven't met other wonderful people under similar circumstances).  You see the pattern.

I thought myself much over impostor syndrome when I applied for my business license.  Understandably, I was nervous about this new endeavor; who wouldn't be?  I've never run a business before, and it could fail.  Dwelling on this fact certainly doesn't help, and can set one up for failure before even trying.

Failure is always an option!

No need to get philosophical on me.

What do we do when we fail?  Wrap ourselves in a blanket, cry, eat a pint of ice cream, then try again.  That's the easy part.  So, what do we do when we succeed?  I had no idea that one could be afraid of success, but it's just as real as being afraid of failure.  Success leads to new challenges and new potential for failure.  In a cynical way, I feel this is a reason to embrace success, if we're so familiar with failure.

Aside from our worst critic, who's keeping score of our success and failure?  That annoying relative who knows everyone's marital and parental status doesn't count.  We are our own worst critics, so once we've assessed our efforts and concluded that we've done all we can, who can fault us for success or failure?  Whether we're the CEO of a mega-corporation or a sole proprietor, we're always looking for ways to improve our business.  We don't know everything, and we're always learning.  Once we accept that we have this in common, who can we call an impostor?

Thursday, March 6, 2014


As the title of this post suggests, I'm sick.  For those keeping track at home, krankheit is, indeed, the opposite of gesundheit.  And some of you just knew that. ♥

This is the first time I've been sick since opening my door (and closing it for clientele privacy).  I didn't grow up with the best examples of how to deal with illness.  Short of pneumonia, if a soldier is sick, they still go to work.  If a massage therapist is sick, we have to close up shop.  This hurts, because our natural inclination is to take care of people.  Writing the cancellation notice was more painful than my raspy throat.  My clients are very understanding, and for that I am fortunate and grateful. 

Instead of sitting around and sulking, I'm taking the time to catch up on some Massamio blogs, perusing the Massage Therapy Foundation, working out kinks in my website (and removing Neocities' groundfloor, so it's going to get worse before it gets better), and just taking care of myself.  I've read accounts that claim a daily 20-minute bath, while you're sick, can reduce the time you spend under the weather.  I find baths to be a boring waste of time, and a huge waste of water.

"I've seen your twitter sermons.  I'm REALLY worried about you wasting water."

My point still stands!  In any case, the last time I wasn't feeling well, I followed that advice, and I got through it with barely a tickle and less-painful coughing.  This is very anecdotal, so what does the research have to say about it?  While I'm not sulking about being sick, I'll do a bit of digging and find out.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Conversation & Online Etiquette

I have a simple request for everyone, as you surf the web and interact with other users:  don't be a jerk.

On the surface, it seems like a simple request.  We've been raised with this simple lesson, haven't we?

But, alas, when we feel our intelligence is being insulted or challenged, many of us feel we must retaliate.  This is the worst thing we could possibly do.  If someone is trolling, they don't care how much evidence we have to support our case.  If someone repeatedly refutes our evidence by pulling rank ("I've been in this business for 20 years!"), cease and desist.  We can't control how others conduct themselves on the internet or elsewhere, but we can control how we react to it.  I remind myself of this often, but I have made the mistake of engaging when I shouldn't.  It's a human mistake, so I hope the person on the other end of the line knows not to deal with me on a day in which I should not be within 50 miles of a keyboard.

Here is a chart that may help you identify a lost cause.

Sources22 Words and Atheism Resource.

Save yourself some agony and recognize when someone is not willing to change their position in light of solid data.  Recognize when you've entered the realm of opinions and subjectivity.  Though I don't have numbers to prove it, I have a feeling that most people live there.  If you do make a permanent home there, please learn how to approach a dissenting opinion.  Not everyone is going to agree with you in all things.  You don't need to be in eternal agreement in order to have a good conversation.

Since so many people view a dissenting opinion as an automatic attack, my online involvement is limited.  The only online forum for massage therapy that I'll engage is POEM | Project for Open Education in Massage, and I've given up on LinkedIn conversations.  If we can't be decent to each other, it isn't worth the time or effort.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Off-Topic: Cats & Carpets

This morning started much like any other; which it shouldn't, because it's Sunday and I am not a morning person.  Smidget, my older cat, understands this.  There are days I'll get home from work, and I doubt she's even left the bed.  When Nym wakes up, there's no going back.  During the day, you may not pick her up or snuggle her, though she might take a nap on you if you sit still long enough.  In the morning, she's happy to demand your attention and adoration.

This morning dawned at the usual hour.  Instead of a certain kitten pestering for food, she was pawing at the floor, which means she didn't make it to the litterbox.  I was out of bed in a flash.  If you want to discipline the critter effectively, you need to catch them very quickly.  That out of the way, both cats were closed in the bathroom while I dealt with the mess.

That out of the way, I flopped onto the bed next to my husband and bemoaned the ubiquity of wall-to-wall carpet.  Bare floors are just cleaner.  You spill coffee on hardwood or laminate, it's easy to mop up.  Spill it on a rug or runner, mine are thin enough to thoroughly clean (no thick, shaggy material for me, thanks).  Spill on carpet, have fun.  Pet makes a mess on the carpet, best of luck to you.  Growing up in a series of rentals – including one gloriously carpet-less, military-issued apartment – I'm ready for anything.

Real product

After whining about the unfortunate infestation that commonly plagues rentals, I got up to release the beasts and shower myself.  With the last concert of the season at hand, my choir has a busy afternoon ahead of us, and this is the least I can do to assuage some of the problems we'll encounter.  I turned the knob and attempted to push the door open.  A few millimeters' clearance showed me that one of the drawers under the sink was pulled open.  Someone also knocked a couple items off the counter, for added difficulty.

I called for an axe, hammer, and fire.  My husband used the stick end of a cat toy to knock the smaller obstructions out of the way, then bargained for food, coffee, and a trip to True Value.  Seeing as I like all three of those, as well, I accepted.  Fed and caffeinated, we confessed our woes to the guru, and she helped us find the materials we needed for this endeavor.  We didn't need a machete, but I got the next best thing.  Mine came in red.

Relevant to the problem at hand, we bought a flat slab of metal, bent it into a 90° angle, which we slipped under the door to knock the drawer shut.  I can only guess which of the two is the morning's undeserving miscreant, but they were both fed before I attended to myself.

Fortunately, this ordeal did not interfere with any clients.  While I am not a morning person by nature, I understand that there are fully-realized adults whose schedules do not respect the sanctity of early hours.  I do my best to be accommodating, but I'll be moving my standard hours off the weekend in the new year.  Despite two decades in school, I'm beginning to see the value in giving myself a couple days to recharge.  Downtime is especially nice when dealing with unruly kittens.  I take my hat off to parents.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Massage Education & Sunk Cost Fallacy

Sunk Cost Fallacy:  the idea that a company or organization is more likely to continue with a project if they have already invested a lot of money, time, or effort in it, even when continuing is not the best thing to do...

Science has proven that massage therapy cannot increase circulation, spread cancer, cause miscarriages, dehydrate you, or remove toxins.  When last I checked, these myths are still perpetuated in schools and practices.  Why?  Part of the problem is a lack of research literacy, so even with the evidence under one's nose, how do you make sense of the damn thing?  Another problem is that we don't want to admit that we're wrong, especially after investing two year's worth of time and money.

My BA gave me my first real experience with the sunk cost fallacy.  Three-quarters of the way through my studies, I realized, "There's no room for my interests in this economy," but with only a handful of credits standing between me and graduation, I put in the extra year.  Was it worth it?  That depends on what you consider to be a payoff.  I was looking for a career, but today's mantra is, "You're better off having a degree than not."

To be fair, some people understand the situation.

We experience this fallacy under menial circumstances, as well.  This past summer, a few friends and I decided to check out a festival.  A garlic festival, if you've ever heard of such a thing.  Under normal circumstances, the drive would have taken roughly half an hour.  With everyone in the valley heading the same way, it took well over an hour.

Twenty minutes in, a couple of us were nauseated from the congestion and stop-and-go traffic.  Forty minutes in, we wanted to turn around and go home, "But we've already come this far..." so we continued.  The sane thing to do would have been to turn around and go home, but after putting so much time in, we wanted to see a payoff*.

After you put all that time, energy, and especially money into anything, you don't want to turn around and say, "Well, that didn't work.  I think I'll put even more resources into something else, now."  You want to see a point and purpose.  You want some sort of validation for your effort.  Until I found myself elbow-deep in massage studies, I had not seen this desire expressed so strongly.

Rasmussen is a private college of various disciplines, but everyone had to take Human Biology, especially Health Sciences.  The course curriculum was the same for everyone, and for this reason, I'm fairly certain that everyone was required to find out why we don't need to drink 8 glasses of water every day.

As a general rule, just drink when you're thirsty.

Unfortunately, we grew up with this soggy "8 glasses per day" myth.  It stayed with us as we learned how Columbus alone knew that the world is round, brain cells never regenerate, and you'll need to know how to write in cursive for high school, college, your anyone using cursive?

When we spend so much time believing one thing, it takes a reckoning force to make us see and accept otherwise.  We seem to enjoy bashing Columbus, so most educated people know he did not "discover" the world to be round.  With the advent of computers, many are rejoicing over solid evidence that we actually don't need to use cursive.  I don't know of anything so righteous that debunks the 8 glasses myth.

My massage classes still discussed how very important it is to drink so much water (and it must be water) every day.  We were supposed to be able to assess someone's daily intake by the feel and color of their skin.  We were supposed to encourage clients to drink extra water after a massage to flush toxins, and we discussed the dangers of neglecting to do so.  After two years and tuition, how can anyone expect us to admit that this was all wrong?


Well, naturally, but that's another discussion.

*The driver insists it was worth it, because we had to try the garlic ice cream.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Off-Topic - National Adoption Month

In business classes, we're cautioned about mixing personal and professional interests.  We'll inevitably step on someone's toes, at some point, and that's bad for business.  My business is too new for me to say, "I don't care," but here it is:  I don't care.

November is National Adoption Month.  I come from a very blended family.  My paternal uncle is adopted, my grandparents helped raise me and my brother until my father remarried (it takes a village!), said marriage giving us a great step-family, and I can't count the number of "uncles" I had growing up in the military.  The holidays were a blast.

I had the opportunity to share this with a class while attending UW-Green Bay.  The assignment was to present our respective heritage.  I could sum it up with "military & geek culture", but that wouldn't fly.  I went over the usual stuff, proclaiming what a typical American mutt I am, but the two most important factors were my military and step family.  Nobody in either of these camps had any obligation in my upbringing, but they were there, they're part of who I am, and I can't imagine my life any other way.

Following my presentation, a classmate caught up with me after class.  Her boyfriend had two children from a previous relationship, and she wanted to hear more about what it's like being a step-child.  We chatted for a bit, and my answer to her final question sums up the experience for me.
Q:  Do you get along with her?
A:  She's my mom.  We have our ups & downs, but she's my mom.

I could have said, "Oh, yeah!  We're like this!" and done the little finger-linking thing, but that would have fallen short of the truth.  I wouldn't risk providing any false hope or horror, and the military provides a special form of strife to add to the teenage years.  And you know what?  My friends had similar issues with their own families; biological, military, or other.

I don't have the 1950's, white-picket fence, 2.5 (point five...?) children image of what makes a family.  That certainly isn't what my family ever looked like, and I won't tolerate any insult to my mom insisting that "it isn't the same" unless I bear the child myself.  I don't know if I'll have 2 children or 5, but I don't plan on taking 9 months out to make one.  If it happens, my husband and I will be happy, and we'll be especially curious as to what sort of creature our genetics will create, but this isn't a prerequisite for family.  For all we know, our first child might be waiting for us as I type this blog.

Learn about adoption and foster care:
- How to Foster (November 23rd)