Things in Erin’s Brain
When Jerry and I first moved to South Florida we used to visit a nearby doggie day care and just watch the dogs. I’ve always been partial to big dogs and I loved big dog play time. I vividly remember watching a staff member play with a pit bull. The pit bull had a partially deflated soccer ball clenched in his thick, steel-like jaws. His human playmate held the other end of the ball with both hands, leaned back, and spun around in circles. The pit bull’s entire body lifted off the ground in magical, effortless, playful flight. His jaw did not waver. It did not weaken. It didn’t tremble. He was rock solid. He would not let go.
He would NOT. LET. GO.
A few weeks ago I shared one of my nicknames with y’all (“All the Way May”) and today I’m going to share one of my not so favorite nicknames. Hump Day Fan, I’m not 100% sure I should even tell you this because these words bring out the pit bull in me… but here we go…
“Missy Black or White”
I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb when I say that 90% of the time I’m pretty chill (okay, maybe 85%). I let a lot of stuff go. But that last 10-15% ?? I am the pit bull clenching that soccer ball so tight that you can fling me around a room and I will NOT BUDGE.
This past week the limits of my temper were pushed to the extreme. In one particularly colorful moment I told Jerry I just needed to yell about all the things. When I was done he said, “Is that all you’ve got? I’m kind of disappointed in the lack of variety in your profanity. I didn’t hear <<BLEEP>> or <<BLEEP-BLEEP>> or mother <<BLEEPING-BLEEP-BLEEP>>.
So I went at it again, much more successfully the second time around (Jerry’s always got my back).
As I write this week’s newsletter I’m pausing to wonder about a few things:
What triggered me? There were actually four different encounters in a three day period of time. Each was different in it’s level of violation but they all carried a common theme:
I felt taken advantage of. (Hoodwinked, if you will).
My personal integrity, my wallet, and my time were all targets.
Was I being black and white in these situations? Kind of… but not really. To me it was crystal clear. (to me).
How did I co-create these scenarios? Hmmm. This one is tougher. Not using my voice? Relaxing my boundaries? My perception of what it means to be taken advantage of? Not just “going with the flow.”
An even deeper line of questioning: Why have I allowed this behavior into my world? Why do I feel guilty for calling people out on their ill behavior toward me?
Is it better to just walk away and not defend myself?
Is it better to walk away and not hold people accountable?
This week I did not walk away… so at what point does the pit bull let go of the soccer ball?
I don’t have answers for all of these questions. I don’t expect you to either. But it’s food for thought.
How about you? At what point do you walk away? Do you stop to consider the perspective of others?
Because it’s all about love…
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If you’re going to talk about having a temper, you might as well talk about tapotement.
The stereotypical, comedic massage image of a large Swedish woman karate chopping up and down your body. That’s tapotement.
I don’t use the technique often because I feel like people consider it cliché. But tapotement serves an actual purpose (and I really enjoy receiving it).
Tapotement (I just got an urge to make a YouTube short on the modality… someone remind me…) is derived from the French word taper, meaning “light blow” and involves repetitive staccato striking movements of the hands either simultaneously or alternately.
It can be performed with hands held in the the classic karate-chop position (properly referred to as “hacking”), in loose fists, with finger tips (usually used on the face), with loosely cupped hands, and weirdly enough in a plucking motion (yeah, like you’re plucking a chicken). There’s also a “quacking” technique where the therapist’s hands are held in somewhat of a “prayer” position and as they strike the client’s body the hands sometimes make a “quacking” sound. Tapotement can simultaneously provide both a stimulating and relaxing effect.
Nerve endings are stimulated, tissue is softened, blood circulation increases, and it can signal our little muscle spindles to contract, helping with muscle tone.
Now don’t go around hacking on your cubicle mates. There is actual technique involved and there are areas you *shouldn’t* go – like over boney landmarks or pounding on someone’s kidneys.
Tell me – do you like receiving tapotement? Does it relax you? confuse you? Do you like a softer rhythm or do you want to feel like the therapist is pummeling the table beneath you?
I wanna know…
Because it’s all about love…
P.S. Super fun fact. I got to dust off my decade old massage school textbook to check my definitions. “Massage Therapy Principles and Practice” by Susan Salvo. I actually got to be on a massage advisory panel with Susan Salvo several years ago. There’s something really extraordinary about sitting across the table from a woman and thinking, “DAMN, she wrote my TEXTBOOK.”