Massages + Disassociation

In July I had this thing where my neck/shoulder muscles didn’t want to move, so I got a massage, and I’ve been getting them every couple weeks since to try and loosen up the (apparently insane levels of) tightness, and I noticed something…and someday I’ll draw something to illustrate this better, but, when I’m on the table, I feel connected to myself and my body.
I can tell how the muscle in my right shoulder impacts my left toes, and how every piece of me is connected to everything else. For an hour, there’s no difference between me and my body, we’re the same, connected, one – I am muscle and flesh and bone and blood, and interestingly, gender doesn’t come into play here. And maybe, it’s because I’m naked in the dark but not seen or judged, maybe it’s because massages go deeper than skin, and reach the core, the ungendered center that everyone shares, so I’m not lost in my parts, because they’re just parts, epidermis that doesn’t really say much about me or who I am…
It’s not something I’m used to experiencing, but I’m trying to find ways to ground myself, to feel less like a floating sentience in a breathing corpse. I realized, while we were checking out the Universalist church last weekend, that, I center myself to the earth, which I think is normal, but what if I centered myself to…myself? maybe if I paid attention to how my skin felt around my bones and listened to my senses, maybe that would help with the generally disconnected feeling I usually have towards my body?
Most days I feel like I’m a sentience walking ghost-hand in hand with my body, or circling around in my skull that from here looks more like a cage. On bad days, or bad nights, really, I feel like I’m a balloon and like I’ll just float away unless I’m held or touching someone to ground me and pull me back down to the earth, to my skin…but, when I’m being massaged, it’s like someone is helping me put my body back on, like a coat, and helping me back to myself.
It’s weird in a good way, but also weird. I don’t know if any of this makes sense, and when she asks me how I’m feeling after (apparently I hold up really well) I want to tell her how much it helps on a psychological level, but I don’t know how to, or if she’d even understand…but it does, it helps a lot in a way I never expected.

Then sometimes things happen, and I’m around people who tend to make me question my worth and whether or not I should even bother doing things that actually do help me. Who make me feel like a burden and like I should just suffer and I don’t deserve to try and have a healthy relationship with myself-body – who leave me reeling for days re-evaluating whether or not I’m a decent human.
Being triggered leaves me feeling like the pile of dirt I was told I was worth growing up, and it makes me feel guilty for getting massages, and taking care of myself. Because who am I to have things, to have value, to have worth, and to be worth caring for?

But I am human, and I have value because I exist, and I’m not just trouble, or burdensome, and I am worth caring for.
So next Friday I get another massage, and it’ll be good for me, because it’s okay to value and take care of myself.


  1. Evan Avatar

    Actually, your description of dissociation makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t often experience dysphoria as staring in the mirror and hating my body. Instead, it usually take the form of dissociating from my body. I feel like, when I’m looking in the mirror, I’m looking at something else and when I see myself I’m not connected to that body. I think for me, perhaps, it was a method of coping with the fact that I spent most of my life being unable to understand or even actually /feel/ my discontent with my body. After all, as a homeschooler, I didn’t really know there was such a thing as “transgender” (or non-binary, or queer, or anything else) and to question the way I was created would be to insult or question my creator, which was a sin. So I didn’t. I just dissociated.
    Anyway, just thought you might want to know you’re not the only one.

    1. Kierstyn King Avatar
      Kierstyn King


  2. Caterina Avatar

    I’ve generally described my dissociation as feeling like I’m in a full-body/mind rubber glove, but you describe it beautifully. I’m so glad you’ve found something so wonderful to help ground you. You deserve to feel one with your Self in all of your Glory.

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