For those who don’t know, people tend to go a little crazy going through massage school.  To be fair, they warn you about it.  Especially since I attended a holistic school, they made it a point to make sure everything was understood on a deeper level than simply grasping textbook concepts.  SpaTech was a really special place for me.  Yes, I went there to learn a new career and I certainly got that.  But I got so much more than a career.  I started learning how to be a human being.  I went from not even knowing this sort of information existed to being completely engulfed in the holistic realm.  It was overwhelming.  I came to them broken.  But these incredible teachers were the first people in my entire life to say “We see you and we will help you.”

Betsy was the Educational Direct of SpaTech Institute in Plymouth when I started back in 2009.  She was my first real life role model.  I had never met an adult woman that made me think “I want to be like her when I grow up.”  From the very first moment I met her, I was drawn to her.  Everything about this woman mesmerized me.  From her energy, to the tone of her voice, to the way she spoke to other people.  In particular, I always found it inspiring how she could diffuse any situation and bring things down to perspective.  When she would teach a class, I would absorb every single word she said.  Not just what she was saying, but how she was saying it.  I was in awe of how her mind worked, how it was able to piece the right words together.  She made everything interesting, and everything was obtainable.  

I was a wreck in massage school.  I was so happy to be there.  However, the pain I was experiencing internally as well as what was going on outside of my control kept getting the best of me.  I had never before learned real life coping skills.  If I could just make it to class, it would be ok, but getting to class was a war all by itself.  SpaTech was the first place I ever heard the concept “your happiness is your choice.”  They said it was a choice.  How could they say that?  Did I need to tell them my sad story all over again?  Maybe they didn’t hear it the first few times.  How can anyone tell someone like me that my happiness is a CHOICE?!  If my happiness is a choice, then that would mean all the suffering I had been experiencing was also my choice.  The thought of this truth was nearly unbearable.  “Trust us,” they would say.  “We know how hard it is.  But if you trust us, a whole new world will open up for you.”  Crying, resistant, and broken I decided to trust these people.  For the first time in my life, I had support.

I couldn’t get out of my own way so I decided to go to Betsy.  I knew how bad my attendance looked.  I knew she must be thinking I’m just another hopeless case.  But maybe, just maybe, if I gave her my sad story one more time...  So I poured everything out to her.  What had been going on with my family, my love life, with me, everything.  I cried and she let me get it all out.  Then this woman took my hands and said, “Nikki, you are so incredibly capable of this.  Your mom isn’t stopping you from getting to class, you are.  When you are here, you are so present and you shine.  You’re meant to do this.  Let me help you, but you’re going to need to do most of the work.”  Betsy was the first person to ever look me in the eye and say “I believe in you, I see what you’re capable of.”  Words can’t begin to explain the sort of impact this had on me.  I didn’t have this growing up.  I didn’t realize it was missing until I had it.  In that moment everything changed.  I wanted to make Betsy proud.  I wanted to make all of my teachers at SpaTech proud.  

From that moment on, I hustled.  I got my shit done.  I didn’t care how uncomfortable I was.  It was so uncomfortable at times it was physically and emotionally painful.  But they said happiness is a choice, and I decided to choose to be happy.  Even when I wasn’t.  I made happiness a choice.  I didn’t know who I wanted to be yet, but I certainly knew who I didn’t want to be.  I didn’t want to be sad all the time.  I didn’t want to be a liar.  I didn’t want to have to look myself in the mirror anymore knowing I could be more.  I practiced being happy, even when it didn’t feel genuine yet.  “Fake it ’til you make it” had never rung more clear.  It’s worth it to wake up one day and realize you’re not faking it anymore.

Every single moment that followed that conversation with Betsy I became a better person.  My life improved in leaps and bounds.  No matter what I was faced with, I knew I’d survive it.  I learned to appreciate the struggle.  Change is uncomfortable, and if I was feeling uncomfortable I knew I was changing.  I would lean into it instead of running from it.  They asked me for their trust, I gave it to them, and in return I got my entire life.

Betsy has continued to be a staple in my support system as a mentor.  I see her every month for polarity and for her.  Once it became a possibility for me, it became a priority.  My spiritual wellness is directly linked to my body, my emotions, my mind.  Being on the receiving end of this amazing modality for many years now only strengthens all that I’ve learned and experienced.  We have everything we need within ourselves.  Surround yourself with those that bring it out.

Chapter Five