Please forgive me for neglecting my blog–and choosing instead to focus on kinesiology!
Studying the muscles of the human body, memorizing where they originate and where they attach isn’t something I’d ever imagined myself doing. I am comparing this course of study to when I first began to read Shakespeare: It made no sense. As You Like It required translation. Before I could appreciate Orlando and Rosalind’s story, I bought a little red paperback–an American-English translation of this Shakespearean play.
As time went by, I took many more Shakespeare courses before earning my B.A. King Lear was my favorite–but the language of all the plays became natural to read and understand. My vision: Let it be so with kinesiology!
Rather than write to you about muscles and the miracle of the human body, I’d like to introduce you to one of the students I’ve met: We’ll call him Marshall. He grew up with a dog as his best friend. He lived with his mom and a series of step-dads until he left home to join the army.
“In the army, I grew up,” he said. Marshall’s hope was to be shipped off to the Middle East. Unfortunately, it seemed to him then, after basis training and welding school, he was placed on “funeral duty” and kept state-side.
Soon he decided he didn’t want to stay in the army–and he no longer wanted to go to Afghanistan or Iraq: He was one of the men in charge of greeting the dead. He sometimes had to contact and correspond with the parents, sisters, brothers and lovers of the men and women sent home in body bags.
Relief for Marshall came when he was able to get away from funeral duty and use the welding skills he’d been taught. He liked fixing airplanes and patching us machinery. He counted down the days until he would be free again to live as a civilian.
Besides wanting to “serve his country”, Marshall wanted money for college. Yet once out of the army, he wasn’t ready for studies. Since he loved dogs, he became a dog trainer and even volunteered with the Netflix star, The Dog Whisperer, Cesar. . .
To listen to Marshall talk about his work with dogs is to listen to a loving mother talk about how she raises her children. This burly bearded man speaks in a soft voice as his sternocleiodomastoid softens in his neck. He’s offered to help us to find the right dog–when we’re ready.
It was after one of the first days of kinesiology when we walked to a nearby park and ate our lunches. “I didn’t like who I was,” he told me. “One day I saw myself in that way you don’t usually see yourself–as if you’re someone else looking in. I didn’t like what I saw–didn’t like who I was.”
He pulls a photo from his wallet. It was more like a driver’s license, the card issued when he exited the Army–probably the one he uses for services he now receives as a veteran. He was skin-bare, hard-face.
“I wanted to change,” he said. “I was mean.”
My new classmates come to massage school at different stages of their lives. Most have a college degree. Many have worked in another profession. A few are parents. For so many years I taught English courses at the community college, and now I sit in class at a trade school learning to think in new ways–and learning to touch people in new ways.
When the other students begin to gossip about the instructors and complain, I sit quietly. I might say to one of them, “Maybe she’s having a bad day.”
“Sometimes it’s really hard,” I told Marshall. “It’s worse being late for class when you’re the teacher–though the students might not realize it. Sometimes you can feel the students clam up, and you’re not sure why.”
I appreciate this opportunity to try something so different in my life. I knew it would be “humbling”–doing something so unlike my norm. I knew I would be stretched. And, this knowing was intellectual–until now: Now I am humbled! Now I am struggling. And I am alive, learning–and giving my husband another practice massage tonight!
Then it’s back to studying muscles and their actions in the forearm and hand.
May all be well! May my brain be at ease. . . and may all of us feel grateful for our lives.