When I first started teaching, about 6 years ago, I was totally unprepared for how much work my job entailed and became quickly overwhelmed. As a graduate student, I had taught 1 class per quarter (3 classes a year), but as a full-fledged MA graduate, hired to teach at both the community college and university, my teaching load went up to 14-15 classes a year. And it wasn’t just the prepping and lecturing that caught me off guard; it was the essays that had to be graded.
I think that first year I cursed my love for composition a million times. “Why did I not take up math or psychology?” I deplored. Because then I would not have hundreds of essays to grade at home all the time. Because then my back wouldn’t be hunched over from reading. Because then my hand wouldn’t be cramped from writing comments (and then more comments once my first review came back with the advice to “write more comments on student essays”). Ugh.
I found my relief twice a month in massages from–and I swear this is true–the best masseuse in town. Joy, my masseuse, has the most strong and gifted fingers, hands, arms ever. She is just so strong, and she used this strength to hunt down and massacre any every knot I had in my back. It’s not a pleasurable massage. It’s not one of those massages that you may fall asleep during. It’s like a workout, and it hurts. But in a good way. In three days, the pain subsides and my back feels incredible.
After a year of a heavy workload and the massages that helped me forget all my work momentarily, I had gotten more in the swing of things and was handling my work load much, much better (I think I only wished to be a math instructor a hundred times a month). And, to be honest, I couldn’t really afford to be spending so much money on massages–not if I wanted to start paying off some serious graduate school debt. Sadly, I ended my sessions with Joy.
Until today! Yesterday my back was aching from a long year of grading and hauling Luke up mountains when we hike, and I had just had enough. I called Joy and made an appointment for today.
Relief. And pain. That’s how I feel. My back is aching tonight, but I know in a few days, I’ll be feeling so much better. It’s been over 3 years since my last massage (minus the one gift certificate massage I got about a year ago when the masseuse just basically rubbed my back, which just frustrated me. I mean, Luke could’ve done a better job!), which makes me even more thankful for my massage today, and even more so, for Joy, my kick-ass skilled masseuse.
I may have to start seeing Joy twice a year…I think that would suffice (until I start making a million dollars a year and can afford to see her twice a month again! Well, maybe not, but here’s to dreaming BIG!)