It’s amazing how the little things in life can affect usso profoundly. A short little story did this for me. As a child I was skinny and gangly with more limbs than anything else running through the woods, climbing trees, playing war with my sisters and neighbors, fishing…you know, doing all the things little girls do. Through high school, I knew after graduation I was going places. I had the world in the palm of my hand and I could do anything, go anywhere, and that’s what I was going to do. So after graduation, ready and excited to go make my mark on the world, I fell in love and chose to get married and make my life with my husband and I’ve been here ever since.
After getting married I started to gain weight and my ambition seemed to disappear. I started to have good or bad days, not make them. I allowed other people to dictate my life, and I gave them the power to make me unhappy and afraid of taking chances. Twelve years later I had gone from a determined, ambitious 160 lb. bride to a self-conscious, discouraged 235 lb. self-employed massage therapist and I was miserable. I was so ashamed of my appearance I became reclusive and refused to leave the house unless I had to. I was suffering, my marriage was suffering, my business was suffering, and I allowed it to interfere with friendships by not wanting to interact with anyone. I was content to hide in my world of shame, but I really didn’t want to stay there. I wanted out. Something had to give, and soon.
Three years ago I sat at my computer searching for website ideas and I came across this intriguing story. Here’s this woman, a massage therapist working on a movie set. She’s exhausted and at her limit when this huge stuntman walks in asking for a deep tissue massage. In order to get through the massage, she climbs up, grabs a bar overhead and uses her feet instead of her hands to give what she was told was the best massage ever received. Now, I’ve seen this kind of massage before and I have always been fascinated and intrigued with it, but I have never really thought it was something I could do. This story, however, had me aching to try this so badly. I knew this was for me. There was only one problem, well…two problems:
Problem # 1: I was 235lbs. Who’s going to let me climb on them?
Problem # 2: I had the driest most cracked and rough feet ever. (Something I always
attributed to genetics and figured there was nothing I could do about it)
Yeah, overweight woman with extremely dry, rough feet…they’ll be lining up for that one! I read the story one more time, sighed in discouragement and disgust with myself, and closed the page believing another dream over before it even began. But I would always remember it and think of it often. Not only because I wanted to be a part of the Ashiatsu family, but also because I wanted to be that person. I wanted to be ambitious and tenacious enough to do what needed to be done to achieve any goal I desired. I didn’t yet understand all I had to do was get off my rear end and do it.
One year later I was still 235lbs, my feet were still just as cracked and dry, but now I had plantar fasciitis so bad it took ten minutes to walk twenty feet so I started going to PT. It would take over a year for it to completely go away. I started massaging lotion on my feet before bed each night to help with the fasciitis, and on a whim, just to see if it would help, I wore socks afterward. It wasn’t long before I noticed a difference in my skin. They weren’t as cracked or dry and they actually started to feel a little softer. Could it really be this easy? Foot problem solved! But I was still fat.
Another year later, once the fasciitis had pretty much gone away, I lay in bed feeling disgusting, ugly, and angry at myself over the weight I had gained the past 14 years. I couldn’t even bear to look in a mirror for crying out loud! There was no excuse for me to be like this. This was not me. I vowed that night I was going to make some changes. I was going to take my life back!
The next morning, I pulled out the scale, dusted it off, and stepped on. 235 pounds. Okay, not feeling so great about the number, but it’s a place to start. In a few weeks, it won’t be 235, it will be less. My first goal: get below 230. I can do this. I loaded some songs on my MP3 player, started walking, and made changes in my diet I was ready and willing to make. The first 3 weeks were very discouraging. I wasn’t losing a thing! When I was walking I pushed myself, and realized how out of shape I truly was. I wanted to cry. I was always in good shape when I was young. How could I do this to myself?!
That summer I started doing chair massages at a local athletic club, and I was still looking for website ideas. I came across a website, which I liked, but unfortunately I can’t remember the therapist or name of her business (only that she practices on the east coast). Looking through the pages of her site, I saw a photo of her standing over her client and using her feet. Instantly I thought of the story I read 2 years before and wondered if it was the same thing. I felt that fire ignite like when you discover something that’s going to be no matter what it takes, and I looked a little more closely at this website to see if I could find something that would give me more information on this type of massage. What are the weight requirements? What are the physical requirements? What kind of training is required, and where do I sign up? I found the link to deepfeet.com, and all my questions were answered. I decided then and there this was for me. I didn’t care what it took or what I had to do…I was going to learn Ashiatsu.
Since I had gotten out of the habit of walking for a couple months, it had also been 2 months since I had weighed myself, and I was actually expecting a higher number than the last time. I didn’t care. I wanted this bad enough that the scale was going down! I got home, dusted of the scale…again…and stepped on. 228! I reached my first goal! Feeling elated, excited and ambitious for the first time since I went to school for massage 6 years prior, I started walking again. I asked the trainer at the athletic club to help me get in shape, and I started making better decisions for me and my body. After that first initial goal, things seemed to fall into place. Eating healthier and exercising were things I wanted to do and got excited about. In no time I was down 20 lbs., then 40 lbs. One year later, I am down 67 lbs. to 168, and I only have 13-20lbs to go to reach my goal weight. I am in the best shape of my life, I’m happy and I have my drive and ambition back. Oh, and the best part is one month ago I started offering Ashiatsu to my clients! In July of this year, eleven months after my decision to do this, I was able to attend Ashiatsu training and it was amazing. Cindy you are a fabulous teacher and an amazing person, and Ruthie you have created something so wonderful and your passion and tenacity is truly inspiring! Thank you for supplying me with one of the biggest motivational goals in my life. I have learned so much from this experience and I will never allow myself or anyone to tell me I can’t do something because it’s too hard. If I want something bad enough I’ll work for it and make it happen, simple as that.