A triumphant return!

Dearest friends and clients,

The fall has begun, and with it, my return to Washington! I just returned this week from lovely Ann Arbor, Michigan, and have availability in my schedule. If you’d still like to get in soon, shoot me an email or check out the Freed online scheduler. I do receive cancellations, and I’d love to find a time to work with you. I’ll be available in DC until December, and then back in March, when I return from southeast Asia, equipped with improved Thai massage skills.

About two weeks ago, the Freed Team put up a great blog post on vulnerability that made me consider how vulnerable my clients are to me. More than ever, I value that trust that you show in me, both with your bodies and your lives. I definitely agree with Frances: “Being authentically myself is the best way I know best how to show, not tell someone, that I’m present and trustworthy.”

Yet during sessions, I struggle to voice that authentic self, in a way that still allows me to connect fully, and do all the tasks we hope to accomplish in our short time together. In no way do I seek to vent to my clients, or allow my struggles to intrude on my workspace. But I want you to know that your vulnerability is heard and seen by me, and that I, in turn, wish you to know my own life and my misadventures.

So, my apologies if this post feels unduly personal in a self-obsessed snake person fashion — it’s my hope to show, in my clumsy fashion, what’s going on underneath.

So, how was Michigan, you ask?

To my great delight, Michigan is covered in lakes. Michigan seems like the northern mirror of Louisiana — there’s plentiful waterways and huge forests across the northern section of the state, even south of “God’s Country.” Given a swath of free time, I spent as much time in said forests, rivers and lakes as possible. I went kayaking *for the first time ever in my life* down the Huron River, singing all the songs from Pocahontas around each riverbend. I ran down every trail of the Nichols Arboretum, often visiting my friend Stevia in her caretaker’s cabin in the woods.

View of the Huron River from the Nichols Arboretum

John, Stevia, and I drove out to Oak Openings in Ohio — a majestic forest clearing, close to Toledo. The weather was blissful, and when there was a little breeze in the air, the sun still kept me warm.

Some serious forest porn at Oak Openings.

Ann Arbor was charming. I felt a few flashes of Oberlin, seeing the bikes strewn across wooden porches, young queer couples walking hand-in-hand, lush green yards and sweet houses. The diag of UMich is not so different from the quads at Oberlin (or, of course, most colleges), but the building architecture was very similar, except a scale or three bigger. I attended classes in the Kinesiology school, which were relevant and thought provoking for me, and my long-term ambitions.

And most importantly, my long visit in Ann Arbor allowed me to nurture my primary relationship and my own health. My partner, John, is attending graduate school here at UMich, pursuing a master’s degree at the most lumbersexual school on campus: the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. As we’ve been together for nearly six years, I did want to see where my beloved would be attending school, and assist him in the moving ‘process’. Which was, indeed, a process.

“Imagine your whole family is behind me, and they have a chocolate cake with your name on it. The cake is ganache.” (John in his new house)

As fate would have it, the coop John had planned to move into turned out to be a terribly bad fit. We found a new house, just a block away, that was the answer to any and all dreams. But we struggled to find a cooperatively-minded soul to buy out John’s ICC contract. Before an awesome co-oper found us, we had a series of humorous credibility-straining interactions with craigslist scam-bots. One bot, “Yasuko Vo”, a faux-French woman, even sent us a fake check for $2,800, along with outrageous bot demands.

Though the moving twice was not delightful, the trying circumstances did help us realize how much we wanted to build a home together. We opened a joint bank account; we nested; we became more grossly absorbed with each other. I whistled the “Married Life” theme from Up, more times than I can count. Over the three weeks, we spent nearly every minute together.

It’s a blessing to have found my life’s mate, and to share a love that is so real, strong, and true. And it’s a total piece of shit to recognize that one sparkling person will not be a regular, proximal fixture in my life for the next two years.

Luckily, over these years, I’ve tucked away thousands of happy memories, like mighty acorns in the ground. And now, I can dig out all those acorns, and see how some memories have grown into their own presences. While there’s a sadness in separation, there’s an incredible joy in finding each little seed of togetherness.

The long stay away had another benefit: the week before I left, I took a bad spill on my bike (good news: Rock Creek is not as filthy as reported). While I was still able to work, and briefly persist in my extremely athletic lifestyle, I was in bad shape. Taking a break was very much needed for my long term work-ability.

On my return, I feel renewed in my abilities, and downright excited to be back at Freed. The fall is full of excitement, and I’m happy to be back amidst my friends, and in my community. Additionally, I’m all caught up on Steven Universe, I spent a lovely weekend in Minneapolis with my friend squad, and I’ve become a novice ukulele player. My heart is full, my body is strong, and I’m learning more chords every damn day.

with love,
Aries

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