My current (inadequate) description of my people is: stressed-out women over 40. What I mean by this is: people for whom massage is as much about emotional wellness as it is about physical. In school, one of my instructors described my massage as having an intensity similar to that of a mother caring for a child. My classmates teased me about my "momssage." I labored against this description for a long time. It is not necessary to be (or want to be) a mother in order to be nurturing. Clearly, I thought, what my teacher meant was that I have focus, and that I am able to be present for my clients. Over time, though, I kept coming back to "momssage."
My people, the ones who respond most favorably to my massage, are carers. They have people in their lives who rely on them for support and strength. Most of my people enjoy this role, and they are good at it. But sometimes, they are exhausted. I think the shared reason they come to me is for care. I feel like for them, beyond the physical relief, the massage is time to refill. Of course I am guided by the needs of their physical bodies, and of course we often see significant reductions in pain, iimprovements in joint movement and all those massage-y things.
That's not what makes them my people, though. It is the intensity of focus (which I have some days better than others) on them as whole people. When I am trying to define my people, I keep thinking of this scene from "One Day at a Time" where the main character (a single mother of two teenage girls) is arguing with her boyfriend. She is not feeling well and wants him to take care of her. He accuses her of wanting to be "babied," and she responds, "I don't want to be babied! I want to be mommied!" That character is my people. A stressed-out woman over 40, in need of some time to be taken care of, not in the way where she loses all will and direction, but in the way that acknowledges her challenges and anticipates her needs. Mommied.