Missing Hugs

Something I never thought I would miss is hugs. I have hated hugs for as long as I can remember. Hugs once were something to be avoided, given without permission to people I had no desire to touch. They were not optional and I was never allowed any control over my body. If my mother wanted a hug, it was taken, as was any physical touch. If she wanted me to hug someone else, it was a request with punishment if not completed. You learned to ignore your own feelings in the matter.

Not only does this create an unhealthy relationship with those you are giving hugs to, it also teaches you that others are allowed to touch you no matter what. This can be so dangerous for so many reasons. As an adult, I struggle greatly with my desire to hug a child and their wishes. I struggle as that lack of control over my own body taught me that a child's opinion doesn't matter and I should be allowed to get what I want. Thus continuing the cycle of false choice. I have no desire to ever put a child in a similar position.

I've been trying to create a physical barrier around me for many years, but there was always people I felt obligated to hug, feelings aside. It's hard to break something that's always been enforced, especially when the people involved refuse to understand. Applying unkind pressure, worsening the situation. It's not easy explaining to anyone why you don't want to touch them when you've never said anything before. Moving away gave me a distance barrier. A barrier that has given me a chance to evaluate my feelings. If I was put back into that situation, I am not sure how I would handle it. I worry that taught instinct would take over, before my brain even realized what I was doing. Boundaries need to be set and I need to learn to overcome taught behaviors to keep myself safe.

Going on vacation put me in a situation where I was suddenly surrounded by people. The invited guests were all people I love deeply and have never felt my boundaries broken by. It had been almost two years of no contact with anyone other than my massage therapist, my hairdresser, and Kevin. So hugging became super important to me. It became something I thought about all the time. One person in particular stands out as someone I was desperate to hug. A feeling I never thought I would know, understand, or express. Seeing her and her daughter bubbled up all these emotions. After months of Skyping and not being able to physically be with them, I finally got a hug from two of the most beautiful people I know. 

And I am so blessed to have gone from a deep seeded hatred for hugs to here. 

NOTES: 

  • I can count the number of hugs I received on vacation. All are very special to me. 
  • Hugs from Kevin are amazing. However it feels different when it is from your husband. Sometimes you just need a hug from your best friend or one of your sisters or your adopted mom. Or just anyone who respects your body and it's space. 
  • Ellies face perfectly shows how we all felt about leaving. It's hard being away from those we love even for the best of reasons.
  • I absolutely hate the fact that I got sick during their visit. I needed more time with them.