Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Cup Is Already Broken

My dedication to self-care thing has hit a bump in the road.

I went to this massage therapist several times, decided that I felt comfortable with her and figured that I should do the practical thing and get a package. You're familiar with massage packages, right? Typically you buy a certain amount of massages up front and get the, say, sixth one free or at a discount.

As soon as I bought the package, the massage therapist stopped being responsive to emails. She would answer one email then not the next. I completely understand if someone is busy but to not respond is just foul. I thought about venting on Yahoo Reviews, Yelp or Twitter but I really didn't want to take that route.

When I've seen the therapist, she's been professional (for the most part) and personable. I also sensed that she is a hustler which is not an entirely negative thing in my mind.

I think it's safe to say that I have been a fighter -- often in defensive stance but, as Tina Turner sings, I don't really want fight no more.

Having said that, I still feel like Bernie Mac in that Secrets and Lies episode of The Bernie Mac Show -- I want to be unpunkable:

Yeah, I know what you did, Jordan.
I know it was you.
It was you that cut down that cherry tree.
Jordan, you're trying to punk me.
I'm going to let you know I'm unpunkable, okay? (3:00)*

When I didn't hear from the massage therapist a second time in a six week span, I was thinking that she is going to make me do something that I don't want to do and that's going to cost me more money.

I drafted a letter noting my frustration and stating a request for the return of my money. I shortened it -- made it less harsh because, really, I don't want to fight. The email is in my drafts and I was going to send it in a few days but I felt like just drafting the email signaled the end of the relationship. I don't get rid of annoyance easily and I certainly wouldn't want the person who is annoying me to touch me.

Of course, I hear from the massage therapist before I send the email. There was a part of me hoping that she wouldn't respond because I don't want to deal with her anymore -- knowing that she might respond when and if she feels like it in the future.

So, okay, what kind of lesson am I supposed to learn from this experience?

Patience? Understanding?

I remember this story that was in Prevention. Geneen Roth goes on a meditation retreat; the teacher holds up his favorite cup and says As far as I'm concerned, this cup is already broken.

I also remember something that Hazira said to me years ago when a friend properly broke my heart. You can enjoy your friends without them being perfect. This concept is a hard one for a perfectionist to swallow. Or, it's a hard pill for a purist, as Patti likes to call me, to swallow.

I don't try to be a perfectionist but I'm a Virgo:

You are bashful, but you have all the necessary wiles and weapons, including a determination to pursue happiness. You seek romance, and commitment is an integral part of it. If you are in love, you go to any lengths to make sure it works. On the flip side, if you are in an unhappy relationship, you will snap the cords with ease.

You can be deadly practical and divinely romantic at the same time. You are a perfectionist, but not perfect yourself. You have your negative traits. You can be sickeningly prompt, and think that you are the best critic in the world.
I also think about Alice Walker's The Same River Twice where she responds to critics of The Color Purple. It sticks with me how Walker says that the character, Mr., even though he's an abuser, that his love for Shug Avery redeems him as a human being.

I used to actively look for that redeeming quality in people. But now?

I returned the therapist's last email and I'm waiting to hear from her again...

*The whole unpunkable thing starts when Bernie Mac has Jordan fake an asthma attack so that they can go to a Clippers game (to see Michael Jordan before he retires) then Jordan uses the secrecy surrounding the fake attack to get away with many things.


  1. OK, chick, you are all OVER the place with these references. Bernie Mac, Geneen Roth, Alice Walker, astrology. I love it.

    It was so hard for me to understand Mr. ___. The tenderness he felt for Shug, the absolutely recognizable LOVE... how could he feel that for one person, and so completely dehumanize another? How can you feel one person's every breath in your heart, and for another deny them their greatest love (Nettie). I mean, WTF?

    On the other hand, one of the things I am wont to say is "I'll bet Hitler's dog loved him." It's so weird how people are able to compartmentalize things.

    Gotta say, I don't like the "cup is already broken" perspective. That's very good in breaking ties with material things, but I don't think I can adopt it in other matters. Also, I love that you wrote about "self care" and "package" in the same post. Because I am a 13-year-old boy. Heh heh mmmmh heh.

  2. I'm too brain-weary to say anything halfway intelligent, but I wanted to tell you I really liked this post. I can so relate to the disappointment in a person, the not necessarily thinking that a "hustler" is bad, the not wanting to fight, and the desire to be "unpunkable." Especially that last one. I think I am easily punked:-(

    Btw, I recently took an assessment that determined my "conflict management style" (The test is called the TDK or something like that. Avoidance is a legitimate conflict management style--just wanted to say that.)

  3. @gingersnapper,

    Yeah, sometimes I go there -- to many places at once.

    I appreciate your perspective and totally feel you on people compartmentalizing things and great point about material objects vs. people.

    Re: your inner 13-year-old, sometimes you just gotta go there...

    @Laura I.,

    Thanks and I can't wait to witness your intellect when you're not brain-weary. ;)

    Also, thanks for letting me know about the TDK test which sounds interesting. I'll check it out if it's available...