So I have $13.00 in my bag, and possibly another $3.00 in change (if I really dig around on my floor.) I do have about $35.00 in food stamps so I am not gonna stave. While I use to believe that this is what an artist’s life is “supposed” to be, I realize that is bullshit. I started out painting as an escape from reality and now, some twenty years later, it has become my profession. As you can see this painting of “Patti Smith.”
In November 2015, I lost my job as a massage therapist, and was left having to face my creative self. While I needed to make this major life transition, it has been difficult. It is my responsibility to speak for people, like me, who were forced out of a profession they loved.
I had been a massage therapist for the past twenty years. I lost my job because I lost my massage certification. This was 65 % due to the “government agency” the California Massage Therapy Council, and 35% due to my inability to run in the same way on my hamster wheel.
First, we have to look at the major transition the massage industry has been undergoing in the past twenty years. When I started in the massage industry, I needed 100 hours of education. I received a certification for 185 hours from the Shiatsu Institute in 1997. I was licensed by the city of San Francisco in 2004, because I did not need a license prior to that. San Francisco Massage licensing agency sent four notifications prior to re-licensing date and 2 after with a $25.00 late fee. In 2010, I was told by my company, it was better to receive a state certification. For an unknown amount of time, we would be grandfathered in if we did not have the required 500 hours.
The California Massage Therapy Council (CMTC) was founded in 2009. If you look at the CMTC’s website, they appear to be a state licensing agency for massage therapists However they are a non-profit organization that “certifies” massage therapists for the state of California. I received my “certification” in 2011, which cost me $280.00, including documentation and $150.00 to the CMTC for the certification. They sent me no notification ( no email or letter) when I needed to re-certify and they sent no notification when my status changed from certified to non certified. So after 20 years of working as a massage therapist, I lost my certification without any notification. I would now have to get 305 hours of massage training to be re-certified because both the city and the state now require 500 hours.
As a Californian there are questions that should be asked. How can a non profit run a state licensing agency with no standards? Where do they get their funding? Who’s interests do they represent? Certainly not massage therapists.
Then there is the 35% fault which is completely mine. 100 percent of this 35% is due to my inability to run in the same direction on my assigned hamster wheel. No matter how hard I try to run in the same direction, I don’t. I run backwards, I skip, I like to stop and smell the roses, it is completely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, my fault. For most of my live I have tried my best to run at the same speed and direction on my hamster wheel and finally I realize I don’t WANNA. Granted I am a bit exaggerating my desire, but even without my desire, I did try. And finally, thanks to the CMTC, I am free.