As a Massage Therapist of almost 10 years now, I know quite well the associative properties of the elements of my work - smells, sounds, and touch. For example, we are taught early on that aromatherapy has the deepest connection to memory. So, if you have fond memories of baking pies with your grandmother, you may smell fresh apple pie and think of your family. This tends to be a direct relationship, but it can also be associative. That is to say, if you remember something unrelated to the smell, you may still remember it when the smell arrises. I think this association, this indirect connection, is more true for sounds than it is for smells.
For example, I remember a co-worker once working on a woman, seemingly healthy, no complaints, but tense... and then the satellite radio piping through the spa played a slower, remixed version of "Lullaby and Goodnight", and she began to sob. Unbeknownst to the therapist, she had just miscarried. It's what we call a trigger. A smell, sound, or touch that opens a traumatic experience without necessarily being able to articulate why, but still "triggers" the emotional response. I never really understood the full power of a "trigger" until now.
I heard on the radio not too long ago a song that always seems to choke me up, but this time, it made me sob. And tonight, I saw the movie it was in - "Toys" with Robin Williams and Joan Cusak.
The song plays within the first 3 minutes, and I was already sobbing. It went away, and so did the tears. The movie did nothing for me, not even a hint of emotion, really, which is unusual for me. But the song would blend with the ending theme, and I'd start crying again.
What in the world is going on?! I confess to being a sensitive soul, but this is ridiculous! Song, tears. No song, no tears. Hint of song, tears starting again. Ahh!
The movie ended and it became all to clear - made in 1992. The year Perry passed away.
Actually, he may have passed away in '93. Crud. Well, it was still a difficult time!
The last time I saw my father as a child was in September, 1991. I was 10, and revved for the 5th grade. That Christmas was the first where I did not see my father, but visited Perry's family instead. They were very kind to me, even though I was more than a little uncomfortable.
The next summer, Perry and my mother were to be married, but they never made it. Perry died 4 days before the wedding, and sadly, his father passed away a month later. It was like one of those horrible Jane Austin books where each woman wants a man, whether it be a suitor or their doting father, and no matter how hard they try, something always keeps them from a "happily ever after". Honestly, I think Perry's mother had it the worst, but she just kept on.
For the record, the chorus to the song goes "I may not bring you comfort, but at least I bring you home". It sends the pain of my father, consciously leaving me, and the pain of my mother, whose would-be husbad fatefully leaving her, searing through me.
And the bitch of it all is that just yesterday, I was working on a client who said something to stir this pot before it had the trigger to make it boil over. I mentioned my birthday was on the 1st, and he said, "Oh! That must have been lonely!"
To which I replied, "Well, only as a child."
"Oh? I was thinking recently. Did your parents neglect you?"
"Then why lonely?"
"Well, my father wasn't around so much."
"Ahh, and it still upsets you."
"It doesn't? Why not?"
"As a 31-year-old, I've learned to forgive and move on."
He laughs and says, "I'm 55, and I still haven't done that. Unless you're a master, I think it's still a wound."
This conversation happened within the first 5 minutes of meeting him, and I'm trying not to go off like a mad, starved Tasmanian devil just because the guy is a consultant and thinks he can presume to know anything about my life... rawr.
So, I shut up.
Lucky for me, he found another subject. Lucky for him, he was big enough to take the wrath of my deep tissue. Rawr, I say.
I don't know, today. I could theorize that it is all a sign and try to make amends, or maybe I'm just emotional before the Full Moon. But what I do know is that every time we remember, we remain human and humble. And every time we embrace our humanity and forgive ourselves for our frailty, we reach a little closer to divinity.
I blamed myself for so long for driving men away from me that I truly believed I would never find one strong enough to stay with me. And if I couldn't find a mate, how could I ever have children. My belief in my own infertility manifested into a softball-size cyst that could well have killed me.
But I must be far along in my forgiveness of myself, because I eliminated the threatening cyst, and I have a wonderful family that loves me, and I even have a caring, sweet man who loves me, even when I become drenched in my own uncontrollable tears from a silly 90's song.
Now, if only I can forgive myself for gaining 50 lbs. and wasting the last 10 years of my life. I hope I have many more years to try...
Here's to new, happier and brighter associations! May your days be merry, my readers.
***This post is dedicated in loving memory to Carol W. Dias, who remained a mother-figure and a friend to my mother, and made welcome her young, head-strong daughter. Mrs. Dias passed away Oct. 31st, 2011, Lord Bless Her Soul.