My Battle with Touch, if not the Hampton Hug…
So I’ve finished reading the book, “Five Love Languages (Singles Edition)” where upon reading you discover how you love, receive love, and what type of love one needs to work on. I’ve discovered a few things on is journey. First, I was well loved as a child. Although I sometimes question now, my mom (and family) gave me every form of love. I was complimented, given gifts, had quality time spent with me, people would do things and look out for me, and I was hugged or touched often. Second I learned my love languages. I realized, that quality time is my love language. I like just being with people. I had a coworker in the DR, where we rarely spoke, just would sit quietly and work in the same room. I can’t tell you how much those days meant to me. I learned that words hurt me immensely, so that’s my second love language. I remember hurtful things, which means my first/ main dialog of love is affirming words. My third language is of actions. Reciprocate. Don’t wait for me. I hate confrontation, so just doing helps me to not sit and steam and do, ultimately feeling used and fueling resentment. And while I don’t mind giving, I don’t require gifts. Any act of kindness or thought makes me feel special. My roommate’s daughter wanting to say “good morning” to me, makes me feel special… No money needed.
And thirdly, I found, although I already knew, I have issues with touch. And while it’s interesting because I grew up with touch, as I became an adult the nature of touch changed as did my views with it. Touch used to be about pure pleasure with no selfish/ self serving meaning. We touch babies or puppies for tactile reasons, and we enjoy making them feel loved. But as I got older touch became either sexually driven or power driven. I was touched as a means to control or manipulate, to pacify or to get off. I love to touch. That’s one reason why I love Hampton University. Because I go, and get hugs and know of love and no strings attached… Since ultimately, those strings attached caused me to detach. But don’t think my dog isn’t cuddled or petted or loved. Even my roommates daughter likes to cuddle and hug, especially since I have big “mamas”. LoL. And I give to them freely. But when my breast become sexualized without my permission, or my body is touched to satisfy the “need” of the other only with no consent from me, I feel lessened. I feel taken advantage of. Don’t pat my back to shut me up. Don’t squeeze my knee to make a point. I am very touchy if people pay attention, even freely… But get inside my walls first.
In the last years of my life, I’ve been in places over crowded or of different cultures where things like personal space didn’t come up. So another touch issue developed with Stranger Danger and strange folks in my individual bubble. Then things like my locks or natural hair got me petted like a fucking animal. So now I’m ducking and dodging for the “don’t touch my hair!” movement. Then unwanted touches of Red Zoned/ No No Areas, or people patting you to shut you up so they can be heard during your issues… And they piled up. But I love touching. I pass you by, I touch. We’re in the same room I’m sitting as close as possible, I touch. You need a hug, I touch. You need a shoulder to cry on, I touch. I love holding hands and I love spooning (although I prefer to be the small spoon). I had a homie in college after my father died, where we’d watch movies and I’d lay on his back. That’s it. I just wanted to be close to someone. Those times are priceless. Just don’t force it on me. I feel violated and dirty.
I’ve also experienced hugs as a manner in which to deliver criticism. In the same moment I’m given a hug to show love or that I was missed, it usually was followed by some form of criticism. So hugs have become the figurative bell to my Pavlov’s dogs. It’s happened so much, that even when a hug doesn’t proceed criticism, I wince in readiness. I put up blockers going in, when the average person drops them. If every time someone touches, there has to be some fault on my part, I’d rather not. And as it’s been uncovered earlier, my second love dialect is words of affirmation. Meaning the opposite hits harder, sounds louder and harsher, and resides longer. I’m sensitive. So be it. So here I feel I’m being attacked, with every hug, knee squeeze, pat on back, etc. If not intimate, I struggle. But I’m working on it (even if it is by force).
I want to love so bad. Not for what’s reciprocated, but to just give and give in abundance; an out pour. And while I know it can be taken advantage of, which it usually is, I rarely have regrets and actually little heart ache. It perplexes me, while I’m grateful for it. I mean it’s such a Catch-22 trying to find that balance. The book says no sex till marriage, “Think Like a Man” says 90 days. You’re told not to treat a man like your husband, but men complain when women can’t (don’t/won’t) cook and do other domestic tasks. I’m supposed to keep my body and be called a prude, or try to make myself desirable and end up being a THOT.
I know I’m a hard cookie to crack though. Both mentally and… physically(?) especially these days. I get bored when not mentally challenged, and that in turn fuels frustration of homies wanting to touch when they haven’t earned access. And as I read, I feel someone one is thinking “high sididdy,” too much work, not worth it… And that’s okay. I know there are kings out there. I can wait. Not like I have any other choice. I also know I love hard, and hell, like and crush hard… not romanticized, but forever ready for and to love. So, so be it. Tears fall, no phone calls, I’ll get along without you. Learning to hug everyone after you. *Kanye shrug*
I’m just saying.