Summer break

I am an elementary school teacher. How did I come to decide that this was the career path for me? Easy. I love kids. I love learning. And, I love having summers off. Once I found out that most jobs do not offer a paid summer lounging at home by the pool, my decision was made. Teaching has its challenges, but it’s also probably one of the most rewarding careers a person can choose. And, teaching little ones is especially rewarding, because you’re helping to mold and shape that person for life.

This summer break, I plan to get a lot of sun. Do a lot of hiking. And get a lot of massages, lol. I usually get a monthly PMS massage, but during July, I plan to get bi-weekly sessions. I’m trying to heal, and having this time off from work is the perfect opportunity.

Massage for women a different ballgame

Recently, I wrote a blog about PMS massage for women. I don’t know if it’s really a thing, I mean, I decided to go about having monthly massage for PMS on my own. So, it’s not like I read about this somewhere and then decided to follow through on another person’s advice, or anything. But to me, it’s clear the massage for women in New Jersey needs to really take it a notch higher.

Apparently, it’s something that’s already a “thing” across the Hudson in New York City! Of course, Brooklyn is always ahead of the curve.

I am not saying that I want to be credited with inventing PMS massage. I actually Googled it just now and there are some articles here and there about it. Still, I hadn’t read any of that. It was just my own motivation to heal that prompted me to book my first PMS massage.

Some place calls it the “moon cycle massage.” I feel like it’s basically the same thing as what I have been doing all along. There’s even a study from the University of Miami that concluded that PMS massage “helps with anxiety, depressed mood, and pain immediately.”

There’s a place that was featured in Women’s Health magazine called Massage Williamsburg. But what they do seems kind of gimmicky. They use a scented pillow for the lower back. Acupressure points. What I get from my in-home massage therapist is just an amazing massage, along with aromatherapy.

I know there’s already a ton of interest in prenatal massage, along with postnatal massage services. But that’s just the point. There’s nothing for women during the 99% of the REST of our lives when we’re not trying to have a baby or have actually had one.

This actually seems quite sexist. Like, the only time a woman’s pain matters is when she’s thought of as a “breeder.” Then, and only then, is it important to consider a woman’s pains and sorenesses. Am I wrong? I mean, guys schedule massages all the time. For instance, if they’re sore from working out at the gym or just having a bad week. Women? It’s all about the baby. That seems wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a rabid feminist. I believe in women’s suffrage, equal pay and opportunities, and equal treatment in society. But I’m not anti-male. I am just being honest with myself.

The PMS massage that my therapist provides is focused on the lower back and pelvis, like you’d expect. But it’s deep tissue. I don’t think the massage technique detailed in the Woman’s Health article would suit me. I mean, I could put a weighted pillow on my lower back myself. And pressure point massage, while interesting, does not really get to my deep muscles that are tight, especially around that time of the month.

Even so, I think it’s cool that my idea actually has legs, and some LMT in Brooklyn is actually centering her business focus around this. It’s not like my idea needed validation. This has been one of the most effective ways that I’ve found to stay sane during my monthly cramps and lower back pain. I am happy other women are having the opportunity to heal, as I have. It really doesn’t matter who invented this. I’m not a massage therapist, I’m just a patient.

I can say that my period lasts fewer days. It used to be about ten or eleven days at a time, but now I bleed for only five days, sometimes four, sometimes six. That’s almost a 70% reduction in time! Of course, I cannot isolate how much each new addition to my wellness routine helps. I do know, for a fact, that Hatha yoga helped. I know that staying hydrated helped. And, I know that my monthly PMS massages helped.

In case you didn’t read my other blog, my massage therapist who performs the PMS massages is a guy. I mean, maybe he never had PMS himself, but I’m sure his mother, sister, and wife do. Most men probably are well familiar with women’s pains from this time of month.

I may seem all over the place in this blog, but hear me out. I experience pain about five days a month from P.M.S., and if we multiply that times twelve, we end up with sixty days of horrible lower back pain and pelvis agony. I wish more massage therapists would provide a similar service, but I am thinking that it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Even we women seem to discount our monthly pain as nothing serious. But anything that takes away from my focus and quality of existence is not really good, is it? And, that’s not even counting the monthly migraine headaches I get from premenstrual syndrome. I don’t really get irritable, but I am probably one of the least irritable people you’re ever going to meet – or read the words of – in your life.

It just seems like society at large, both men and women, feel it’s acceptable for women to suffer every thirty days. And, I’m just not into that idea set. It seems like a holdover from times when women were expected to lie in bed and avoid men when menstruating. It’s time that we all get focused and plant ourselves firmly in the twenty-first century!

Tucker Carlson goes off the deep end?

OK. I am mostly apolitical. I watch CNN and FOX and MS-NBC. And, of course, the local news stations, which tend to not be so biased. That is, when I bother to watch the news. I really don’t have time for concerning myself with it all. It’s just too negative, and I prefer reading news stories, anyway. All that talking and talking gives me a headache. I feel so much better once I turn off the TV!

So, Tucker Carlson said he’s being monitored by the N.S.A. The National Security Agency has better things to do, I would bet! Is he even serious? Or, is this just a feeble attempt to stay in the news?

You really have to wonder. I mean, is Tucker really a threat to the nation? Maybe in his spare time he’s into wearing a sheet and burning crosses in the woods? I am going to guess that this is just the latest in click-bait cooked up by the Fox people. Then again, maybe he’s not so innocent.

He’s a sexist, and everyone knows it. But a sexist is one thing, a white supremacist is quite another. Still, if I know you steal bubble gum, perhaps you’re also stealing beer? Bad analogy, but I hope you get the picture.

Here I am talking about politics? What am I crazy? I apologize for wasting your time, dear reader. Back to life.

Hiking and tick bites

OK. I love to hike. I walk fast and go uphill and get tons of exercise. The woodlands I love hiking in are very hilly, and in fact, flat forests bore me. I actually try to hike on every day it’s not raining, if I have a spare hour. I do not hike all day or bring a rucksack. I hike for an hour to an hour-and-a-half. That’s it, generally.

It’s a healthy habit in so many ways. I am building up my endurance, chiefly, but it’s also good for my legs and buttocks. Plus, the natural environment is soothing and what life is all about.

But I also have had six tick bites so far this year, and it’s only the end of June. I got a bullseye rash, and now, I seem hypersensitive to the ticks. I end up with giant welts that last for days, even after I remove the tick. I have to take antibiotics to make sure I don’t get sick.

I’ve had so many tick bites in previous years, I couldn’t begin to count. Probably hundreds.

I am not going to stop hiking, that’s for sure. I am using a home-made mixture of essential oils. I guess it just doesn’t work? If anyone has a good recipe for a tick repellent that is based on essential oils, please respond in the comments. I really detest Deep Woods Off, as it smells gross to my nose, and also DEET, one of the ingredients, is probably not something I want to apply to my skin.

It’s safe, it’s on the market, but it’s no secret some chemicals have been taken off the market. So, I’m erring on the side of caution, exercising the Precautionary Principle.

A Woman’s Cycle

I wasn’t happy getting my first period at eleven. Really, who in their right mind wants to bleed every month? I have come to realize that it’s not so bad. I eat way better and exercise and I’ve found that I don’t suffer as much. I now value the monthly cycle, because it keeps me in tune with the moon’s cycles, which drive all life on Earth via the tides.

There are some interesting new developments. Like Free Bleeding movement. Honestly, it’s not exactly for me. Still. I do value some of the new products. And, not the Diva Cup, before you get all excited. That thing is not my favorite. Really just not. For me, at least. I tried it. Not only did I find it messy, but I can’t be reaching into my V in every public bathroom I end up taking a pee in! But the new period panties are not so bad. I use them with a maxi-pad and it’s fine. On it’s own, it would probably suck. I tend to have a lot of moisture down there on most days I’m not having my period, so I wear these almost every day. They do come in different thicknesses, which makes it a lot easier.

Recently, I discovered massage for PMS. It’s not like I knew that massage could help. I have been trying to live more holistically for a while now. I only introduced massage into my routine fairly recently. I figured, I’m single, I have no serious bills, why not spend the money on my well being? So I go every month, or rather the therapists come to me every month.

My therapist is a man. I feel like it’s more balanced that way, you know the yin and the yang? It’s not like massage therapy is sexual in any way, but it is still the exchange of energies between two Beings. So, it matters. I am trying to get into better harmony with the moon energy. I want harmony with the moon cycle. Once that happens, life will be as a dream.

Until that time, I will try to use my monthly cycle to learn about the cycles of time and life. The eternal renewal. I’m not a pagan or anything, but I’m definitely a yoga practitioner. My faith at birth was Presbyterian. I lived in California, believe it or not, and migrated East at the age of 18 to attend college here. I went to NYU and dropped out in my third year, only to transfer to Columbia and graduate.

Anyway, I started getting into the cycles of the Earth and moon on my own, not from reading a book or getting involved with any certain philosophy. I pay attention. The moon changes every day. I noticed since i was a young girl out in Oakland. What does it all mean? What did the architects of this reality want for us to come to understand by witnessing all this?

My last PMS massage was on a full moon. My cycles have been aligned with the full moon now for over three years. What does it mean? I have no idea. Maybe a witch or someone into pagan lore might? I had a cathartic experience as John, my therapist, helped me with a longstanding tightness in my hips. I feel like a different person. I think I am getting over an abusive relationship I had when I was twenty. I met a football player, and he was way more into alcohol than anyone should be.

As you might have guessed, he had real issues, and drank to drown out the pain. He flunked out of college, and took it all out on me. I was abused for five long months, and when it became physical, I left. I needed to get away. I was still in college, but that’s why I took a break and transferred. Even though my ex was out of class, he still stalked me. So, I went home for two years and then transferred to Columbia. It was the smartest move I ever made, as I haven’t had to deal with the stress of my ex and his insanity ever again. New phone number, too.

So it’s really more than getting a massage to deal with premenstrual syndrome pains and aches. It’s about deeper issues. It’s about personal growth. So, my last session was an amazing healing experience. We had the massage table out on the deck. At the end of the session, I actually felt like a new person. And the next day, I still felt revived. It’s the emotional connection, I’m sure. Touch therapy is really something we Americans probably are a little late to, as our Puritan ancestors really didn’t go for anything touchy-feely.

My therapist is used to my tears. I have to say, it’s an interesting career. You’re helping people with physical issues, but the body stores emotional memory, so these therapists are constantly encountering clients who are unloading their sadness, distress, pain. It must be extremely rewarding, but I think it really takes a special kind of person to do this in a way that is really at a higher level.

I have been asked why I am so “obsessed” with the moon, if I’m Christian. But we all live on Earth. I’m just paying attention. Because you have a clock next to your bed, does that mean you’re obsessed with time? The monthly cycle is one of possibility, reaching toward that possibility, and then preparing for a new possibility, if that doesn’t work out. It’s true with fertilized eggs, and it’s also true of plans and hopes and dreams we hope to make real in life.

I am just observing the physical universe around me and trying to make sense of life. If that’s somehow against Christianity, you’re going to have to try harder explaining how that’s the case, because I just don’t get it.

For monthly issues, try some yoga. Child’s pose, wide legged straddle, sleeping pigeon pose, Supta Baddha Konasana, and Viparita Karani poses are supposed to be helpful. For me, I just stick with my usual Hatha yoga routine. It works.

Whether you decide to practice yoga or not, coming to grips with the cycles of the day, week, month, and year are something any woman can begin doing. If you’re a man, get in touch with your wife or girlfriend’s cycle and through that, you can learn about the ebb and flow of life, of push and pull, or yin and yang. Maybe you even want to consider trying a couples massage at home and experience the healing together.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not one of those women who use their menstrual blood in rituals or anything like that! I mean, I know witches do that. There’s all sorts of information online about it. More power to them! Definitely not my thing. To me, my monthly cycle is all about harmony and balance, not about menstruation being some magical time, or something. Or, menstrual blood being some sort of incredible elixir.

Three hundred moons

Aloha, friends! I am not Hawaiian, but I do love 80s movies, like Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Get the connection? If you didn’t see the movie, you won’t get the reference. See the movie. It’s nonstop incredibleness! And, three hundred moons in years is 300/12. Any math whizzes?

Herein, I shall discuss health and wellness. This is the most important topic. Without our health, we can’t even do good for others. We can’t do anything. This is my path to recovery, not from drugs, but from autoimmune arthritis and PTSD. A life of being abused by Narcissists. It’s a lot.

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