Recently someone told me that I was the only person in his life that he didn’t hug. Now, I have to imagine that is an exaggeration, but still, that hit a mark. Shocking for me to hear this as I used to consider myself an excellent hugger (still do actually, just don’t do it much). In truth though, I stopped hugging because I didn’t want to. I found myself uncomfortable with the whole act. Hugs often feel dishonest to me and that very statement means I that I am carrying some story there.
So, I thought I’d look through my hugging history:
-High school – chubby, mom-figure to my soccer team hugged and carried everyone (resultant back pain ensued)
-College still loved hugging, especially the feeling of hugging big guys so I could feel enveloped. Began to notice people that were especially bad huggers. You know, the ones that either pat or lean and keep their body from touching you?
-Post college friends – there is too much drama there that I don’t choose to go into, but this is definitely when I stopped trusting hugs. Yes, I said trusting. Because this is when I stopped trusting people. Stopped trusting them to be true and honest and good. So I stopped wanting to touch people, because a hug was too intimate and I didn’t want a hug to be a lie.
-So I finally had a child and having this child meant that I had to be touched. Constantly. And this really put the nail in the coffin of hugging. I certainly didn’t want to be touched by anyone else because I never got to choose the touching. I began to resent this touching and it took many years to get over it.
-I think I got cats again last fall because I was ready for touch again, I think, but I definitely want my space. I want to choose my touches, but I am ready for more contact in my life. (I think there will be more on this later.)
So this person wasn’t the first person to notice it in my life, but they certainly have me thinking. I have been trying to hug more. But honestly and only when it feels real. I won’t hug everyone, but I will hug people who I care about just to remind them in an unspoken way that I do care. I love to hug my son and my husband (who are both exceptionally good huggers), and I go in for good hugs with my friends. No half assing it here.
In a time where I don’t necessarily feel like I have a ton of ownership in my life, it is nice to feel this. A good hug goes a long way.