After my last massage these thoughts came to me:
Your body has good intentions: to make sure you survive. To protect you, guard you, defend you, keep you safe. Sometimes the only way the body knows how to do this is by putting on armor and growing a shield of muscles, tension, fear and pain.
But even this pain, this fear and tension are there to protect you.
Until you are ready to put the shield down, throw off your armor and say: thank you fear, pain and tension. Thank you for protecting me for years, lifetimes. Now I don’t need you anymore.
Now I am free.
When I was a teenager I used to write poems (not particularly good ones). One of them was about how I put on armor to feel safe, but later, when I wanted to be free again, it turned out that I had got stuck inside because I couldn’t find the way to open it, or maybe forgot how to do that, or the lock got too rusty… So I was locked inside the metal box and could only stick out a tip of a finger to feel the outside world.
Now, fifteen years later, this armor – or most of it – is gone. But, being a massage therapist, I see armors every day and feel them under my palms and forearms.
It may be that putting on mental, emotional or physical armor is the only option for you to survive at work or at home (sometimes – literally survive, if your environment is abusive). So you do it every day. Your body gets tensed, your emotions freeze, your thoughts become flat. Or maybe it was just this one particular moment in your life, a trauma that comes back every day. Until the armor becomes like second skin, until you don’t remember anymore how it was not to wear it. Everything seems normal. Yes, life is maybe a bit heavy, your body hurts and you are not very happy, but… well. Such is life.
It takes a lot to throw off the armor. It takes courage. It takes time, love, care and support. The courage is on you. You have to be courageous enough to let yourself feel YOU again, to touch the world and let the world touch you. But time, love, care, support… there are so many good people in this wonderful world who have all this to help you. You really, really, REALLY are not alone. But the decision is yours.
And yes, sometimes you choose to put it on again – because you don’t know other way. But every time you take it off, every time you FEEL how it is to walk, breathe and live WITHOUT IT – you invite a change. And one day you will not need this armor anymore. You will be vulnerable, wholehearted, courageous and unbelievably, unbelievably strong.