We had the good fortune of connecting with Tameca L Coleman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tameca L, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I didn’t think I would get back to massage therapy, and in the past, I always felt more comfortable working with and for someone else. I was, however, always really particular about where I would work. I knew that I was interested in working with clients who were interested in their own healing, and who considered or at least could be convinced that massage and bodywork was a collaborative work that wasn’t very effective if the client wasn’t doing much outside of our sessions. Massage in that instance would be nothing more than expensive aspirin when the potential for that work is so much more. I’ve worked in that capacity, as expensive aspirin, at what I call a massage-in-a-box business, and I felt miserable. However, when I worked at places like Swedish Hospital’s employee health center, Manton Massage Clinic, and Agua y Sangre Healing, it was apparent that we had built communities that wanted to learn more about how they could feel better all the time. Massage became one of many practices clients used for their continued and increased well-being, and those venues promoted health over tagging on additional products and services for the sake of increasing sales.
During the pandemic, all work ended or went remote for a while, and I didn’t feel safe to work anywhere face to face. At the time, I was a professor, a massage therapist, a freelancer, and a barista. At some point, adjunct jobs dried up because enrollment was low, and I was doing my best but not very well with freelance work because of very sparse and frustrated headspace.
All through this, old clients kept calling. I had a short list of very good therapists I trust, and when DORA gave us the okay to practice again, I’d refer those who called, not intending to get back, and also not really having a place to practice myself. I tried to freelance some more, and failed some, and succeeded on some odd jobs, and still clients called. I kept referring them until about February 2021 when three old clients called in the same week. I remembered a colleague from Manton Massage Clinic used to have a room, so I called. The room was open, and also reasonable! I called the three clients back, and without even having really put out my shingle, clients have started to come trickle in word-of-mouth, and I have been able to equip the studio with what’s needed to make a comfortable and safe space for massage work. It looks like this is going to be sustainable work, and the kinds of clients I want to work with are coming through! I am also working with some organizations in the community on ways I can give back with this work to be sure that the work continues to be accessible.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a singer. I still say this, even if I haven’t formally made music in over six years. I know I will get back to it. I am an artist. This is weird for me to admit, and it’s partially because of my friends that I admit it. Before my friends said I should take this more seriously, I always said that I dabble in it. I mostly play with images from my walks (cell phone snaps, collected stuff from sidewalks, etc. that I turn into things like posters, broadside experiments and poetry postcards. I am definitely a writer. My first book is coming out this year. It is a hybrid memoir-ish book. My writing generally explores heartbreak and healing, finding the words for our experiences, familial estrangement, being ‘in-between’ things, finding beauty, even during times of strife, and movement towards reconciliation, and hopefully, if it’s not too late, restoration. My debut book ‘an identity polyptych’ will be available from The Elephants on the Salish Sea September 2021. If people want to keep abreast of news about that or any of the stuff I’m doing, they can follow me on social media at: @sireneatspoetry.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have been riding the bus for twenty years in Denver, so my favorite spots in the city might be a little wingy. They also include a bit of wandering by foot. For example, the first thing that always comes to mind for me is traveling down to Southmoor Station and checking out the interactive installation there, playing with the sounds and lights in the tunnel on your way to or from the light rail and buses. We might then find some places to walk around, like some of Denver’s established neighborhoods, and depending on the season, take pictures of things on the sidewalk, or check out some of of the city’s murals and/or grafitti.
I like making stops at the the Clyfford Still museum. That place buzzes a certain peace to me. Biking along the river is fun and cuts through the city more quickly than driving can. Once I took a bike ride with a friend all the way to Riverside Cemetery and walked around there, thinking about old names and history.
Speaking of biking and walking tours, Mathias Svalina recently collaborated with MCA on the Dreaming Denver project. Essentially you walk or bike to locations, starting with the MCA itself, and listen to surrealist dreams. It’s a fun thing to do with friends.
Other places I like to go are Mutiny Information Cafe for books and pinball, and Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs for a couple of veggie corn dogs if there’s time. If we have the week, we might as well wander around Golden, and take a bus ride to Idaho Springs for the hot springs there, or maybe a train ride up to Glenwood Springs. If someone has a car, there’s a bookstore in Georgetown, or at least there was (haven’t been there in a while) whose owner unshelves an old book that is priced to *not move because of its exquisite old book smell. I think it’s worth the ride up to smell it. 🙂
Ah! When I first moved to Colorado, I lived in Englewood near the old Cinderella City Center. I spent a lot of time around the fountain that is next to the library at Englewood Station, and on of my favorite Denver/Denverish statues is out there, still. It is a marble lady, hugging herself on a pedestal. I still go and visit her sometimes. Sometimes I take folks with me to visit her, too.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I really love watching Sarah Eudakbest Svatii work and also Susan Froyd over at Westword. And if you haven’t already shouted them out, Gabrielle Rodriguez over at La Conextion is doing really beautiful work! Uh. . and Desiree Kane with First Foods amongst other things.
Other: Massage and Bodywork: https://www.massagebook.com/Denver~Massage~TLCBodyworkDenver?src=external