Touch and Go

My place of employment is open now, but I'm not there. None of the choices feel good.

By late July, I began to question my decision to go back to work. How could I be a source of calm and healing if I was stressed out and rigid, overthinking everything? I thought about suspending my practice, but told myself to be patient and give myself time to get used to the new normal.

And then I broke my toe.

My body intervened. I stubbed my toe on a plastic dog bone wrapped up in a blanket. At 12:30 a.m., I literally tripped over myself.

I took a week off. When I returned to work, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was tripping over myself in that practice room, too. Was I taking care of myself? And if I wasn’t, how could I truly be taking care of others?
On Aug. 9, I saw my last client.

By the time this essay is published, I may be back to work as a massage therapist, because that is what it’s like now—expanding and contracting our massage practices, like an accordion.

Making a necessary decision doesn’t ensure feeling immediately great about it. I miss my clients. I feel guilty for leaving others to do what I couldn’t, and for quitting one job when so many are out of work.

I’m lucky. I have an employed spouse and a backup career as a writer. I had a fallback plan and I fell back.

Sometimes I just want to go back to the massage work, like calling up an old boyfriend after a breakup, just for the familiarity. But whenever I’m tempted, my body reminds me to listen to my gut and trust that I made the right decision for me, for the moment I’m in right now.

Amanda Long lives in Falls Church with her husband, Robert, and dog, Laser.

Categories: Covid Chronicles