Monday, April 20, 2015

Learning To Be A Hugger

“I don't do hugging. I don't like people touching me ever when there's no treat involved. It's too intimate and it bothers me.”
― Katja Millay

Hugging practice.
I am not a Hugger.

There, I said.  I 'fessed up.  But here's the tricky part:  I so desperately WANT to be a Hugger.  All the Huggers I know are terrific people.  They basically pull you into their very essence and transfer a little bit of love into the nonexistent space between your bodies.  I want to be like them.  I want to be warm and cozy and invite people into my personal space.

And, yet, I can't. 

I didn't grow up hugging.  I can't recall every really being hugged as a kid.  I mean, there were awkward, arm-patting, loose "hugs" when people you knew were leaving for a long time.  But there were no loving, squeezing, "ohmygoodnessIloveyousomuch" hugs.  My mother was never a hugger so I didn't get that "precious little girl" doting either.  And so, I didn't hug.  Hugging was weird to me.

My roommate in college was (and, frankly, still is) a Hugger.  She was confused by my standoffishness because she is one of those serious Huggers.  She respected my space for many years but has since told me on various occasions that she will violate my personal boundaries sometimes when circumstances require it.  And, secretly, I like it.  Shhh.

When my children were born, I was determined to make them Huggers and wrapped them up in hugs and squeezes as often as I could.  Making them feel cozy and loved was my number one priority.  I succeeded with one who hugs continually, firmly and with wild abandon.  The OTHER would prefer that you keep your distance, thankyouverymuch. #Fail.

With The Boyfriend, I am a terrific hugger.  I hug him all the time.  And HE is one of those good huggers.  He's a wrap-you-up kind of hugger.

With other people, I'm working hard on becoming a hugger.  There are so MANY people in this world that I absolutely LOVE.  I adore them.  I kind of think that standing awkwardly two arms lengths away while offering them a smile and a firm handshake is probably not conveying the message I want to communicate.  I want to say, "OH, how I LOVE you, you incredibly person who I am so blessed to be a part of."  Instead, I smile abashedly and shuffle my feet while mumbling something about the weather.

When I am face-to-face with an actual Hugger, I get a little giddy because I know that I have NO CHOICE but to be swept up in their warmth and delicious expression of human joy.  I wait for it and then, after a nanosecond of tension at the space invasion, I fight every instinct in my rigid body and allow my arms to wrap around them and...for the briefest of moments...I squeeze.

So now I practice.  I offer awkward hugs to a variety of people in a variety of circumstances.  I'm getting a little better.  My hugs are a little firmer.  My tension is less noticeable.  I'm working on it.

It's a goal.  I'm gonna be a Hugger.  Someday.  Somehow.  So, watch out.  Next time I see you, I may just wrap you up and squeeze you. 

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