Greetings, readers! Now that I’ve gotten in the habit of blogging regularly for a couple of months now, I guess it’s a good time for me to share my story and how I got to where I am, so buckle in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
….okay, not really….but dammit, my story needs to be told! Or maybe I’m just suffering from topic block 🙂
So we’re going to go way back in the vault…..to high school. See, I’m actually a high school dropout. Or as I like to say, I ‘left early’. Halfway through my senior year to be exact. I just never really cared for school, in junior high my parents had to actually meet with a truancy officer because I would stay home ‘sick’ so often. High school rolled around and well, the person you all know now is a far cry from the shy, introverted, self conscious person that roamed the halls of Ferndale High School. I mean, I’m still very much an introvert and can be horribly self conscious at times, but there’s been quite a transformation over the past 20 years.
Anyway…..yeah, I decided at mid-winter break that I just wasn’t going to go back to school. Left on a Friday and started working full time on Monday at the heating and cooling company I had been working at for a while, took (and passed) my GED, and enrolled in classes at Oakland Community College. I got my first job when I was 13 years old at Dairy Queen of all places (and let me tell you, I was HORRIBLE at making cones, but my customers always got way more than they paid for!), then moved on to Janet Davis dry cleaners (and let me tell you, those workers at Chicken Shack? Man, there is some FUNK that is seeped into those shirts!!) but then found my first job as an administrative assistant when I was 15. I was good at it, and spent the next 9 years in an office setting, and had pretty much resigned myself to cubicle life, but it wasn’t bad. The last ‘real’ job that I had was at Wards Automotive, I was an assistant in the production department, I gave support to the sales staff, took care of billing for the ad agencies, helped proof the drafts of the magazines, and did all of those other menial tasks that come with working in a cubicle. But, I enjoyed it! I was 24, got to take my first ‘business trip’ to Overland Park, Kansas to do some training, I was making salary, not hourly pay, and it was like $28k. For a 24 year old GED holder who hadn’t even earned an associates degree, it was a sweet gig. But I was struggling with trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was at Oakland Community College, I changed my coursework every semester-photography, medical transcription, court reporting, business administration, but nothing ever really clicked.
In 2002 I had been at my job at the magazine for almost 2 years, and we were on a salary freeze so I had never received a raise, I was coming home daily with headaches, and I just wasn’t happy. When I came home from work with another headache and saw a brochure for Irene’s Myomassology Institute sitting on the stairs going up to my room (my sister had requested it), I took a glance and thought “eh, I’ll take a look”. I mean, I had never even had a massage or given one, so sure, why not go explore something new?!
So, I went to the school for a tour, got some info and thought “well, if I’m going to do something like this, now is the time, I am still living at home, so why not?” so I filled out the application that night, went into work the next day and gave my 2 weeks notice, cashed in my 401k and paid for school.
The program, a 600 hour curriculum consisting of anatomy, physiology, pathology, business and of course, hands on massage and lecture, was honestly the best education that I could have asked for. I mean, it was about 10-15 hours a week, we got to color in anatomy coloring books, watch videos and GET MASSAGES EVERY WEEK!! While I was in class I started to think about the kind of work I wanted to do, and all I wanted to do was go and work for a fancy day spa and do body treatments all day. And you know what? After I graduated in 2003 I got a job at a fancy day spa doing massage and body treatments all day. And. I. Hated. It. The push to make sales, upgrade services, cramped rooms, hoity toity atmosphere. I hated it all. I was becoming resentful of giving away my time and energy for people who were paying for the experience of plush robes and cucumber water. That wasn’t me.
A total stroke of blind luck landed me on Catalpa road one day in late 2004. I had gone to see the dietitian that was there after coming across her card out somewhere, and we just got to chatting and then she mentioned how there was a space for rent in the building. I had 2 clients to my name, I was in no position to take on a space of my own, but then the landlord said that there was another woman looking to share space. So, I went for it. And for 2 years I shared a room with another person, and when she vacated in 2006, I worked on my own, steadily building up my clientele to a point where I needed to take on a second person, and from 2010-2016 I had someone else working with me. And then something started to shift. I was realizing that I was turning into a boss, and that was never what I wanted. I had (and still have) ZERO desire to operate a storefront business with several therapists and me going into a managerial mode. I just wanted to go to work, fix people, and come home.
In 2016 another chance encounter with a random ad in Massage & Bodywork Magazine led me to sign up for my Level 1 Lokte Method course in Colorado, and while I was doing some research on that I ended up going down the rabbit hole and went on a bender with continuing education and well, apparently my motto turned into DO ALL THE THINGS. And I did. In September 2016 I took L1 Lokte Method, October 2016 led me to Arizona for LifeStretch Instructor training, November 2016 took me to California for Roll Model Method training, January 2017 took me back to Arizona for L1 Fascial Stretch Therapist training. In May 2017 I will be headed back out to Colorado for L2 Lokte (followed by L3 in November), October 2017 will be slated for L2 FST, and in the past couple of days I have made the decision to take the 70 hour Yoga Tune Up teacher training in Washington. Additionally (because I didn’t have enough on my plate), I decided to combine my love of paleo living with helping people and became a certified Primal Health Coach. So in my spare time (because yes, I still do have that!), you can find me working on Living Well With Rebecca and helping people get healthier and happier around the country.
I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and over the past year or so, there has been this big shift in my outlook on things. While massage will always be my first passion, I had to take a step back and take a realistic look at things. Unfortunately, there is a cap on how much work I can perform doing a standard 60 minute therapeutic/deep tissue massage. I have also become much more aware of my own habits, as well as my own struggles, and self care is something that has been on the forefront for some time now. While I love fixing people, I am becoming just as passionate about helping people fix themselves in between sessions. Being able to not only offer different modalities such as Lokte and FST, but be able to teach everyone LifeStretch, techniques with the Yoga Tune Up balls that, if you’ve met me, you know I’m obsessed with them, and eventually, be able to lead classes for Yoga Tune Up, has opened up a whole new world of possibility for me and everyone I’m treating. And now, in my new home at Motor City Float in Clawson, being even closer to home, and both living and working in the little city that I love so much, I can’t wait to see where 2017 and beyond takes me both personally and professionally. I am so grateful and humbled by what I’ve been able to do over the past 12+ years, and I never thought I’d be doing something that I could love so much, have the freedom to live my life how I want to, and while it certainly isn’t all ice cream and puppy dogs, I think back to those times where I was hanging out in a cubicle Monday-Friday from 9-5 and thought it was okay and am so, so grateful that I found something else.
In good hands,
Rebecca Tamm, LMT