I have a great imagination and can picture many things. I’m not an introvert, but I live the life of a writer which finds me reclusive in many ways much of the time. That’s really hard sometimes for an extrovert like me, who loves interaction. But, I now wonder if I’m as extroverted as I think, or if perhaps I’m mistaking an intimate need for a personality trait.
It’s become obvious to me these past few years, really more so this year, of an act so simple, yet so complex, that has affected me in such a deep way in my life, and it’s turned it upside down. That act is - touch.
For years I had fantasies, some of which I was taught to be ashamed, that involved touching. I have a certain dream of touch for so long I can’t remember when it first began. It’s nothing dirty, but every time I have this dream, I wake up and can’t stop the tears. I never really understood what it was about this dream that affected me so much, until recently. In my dream – I see a pair of hands, strong male hands that reach out for me. The backs of these hands lightly brushes across my cheek, touches the tendrils my hair, and then runs down the sides of my face, over my shoulders, and down my arms, to interlock with my own small hands. When I see our fingers together, I can’t stop the tears.
I always thought that dream was about finding love, and in a way I’m right. But I’m discovering there was so much more to it because it involved something completely missing in my life. I didn’t realize it was missing until recently, and that is touch.
Touch has been the foundation of my nightmares. Most of the touch I’ve experienced in my life has been the wrong kind, inappropriate. I grew up with the absence of hugs and the violence of abuse. I hated for people to touch me.
I remember when I first started going to church with my husband and everyone always reached out and hugged me, how it bothered me and I felt my personal space invaded. I hated hugs, and living in the South where everyone hugged drove me crazy.
My husband rarely touched me. I don’t know if that was his doing or mine. Did I set a precedent at the beginning of our relationship that ultimately led to its end? Or was it something he did and I easily accepted until not being touched was no longer bearable?
When my children were younger, I purposefully covered them in hugs and kisses and told them I loved them all the time, not wanting them feel or experience that lack as I had. But as they grew older, perhaps being more perceptive to how being touched made me feel, their hugs and kisses stopped, and even more so the ‘I love you’s’. Why? My children don’t even understand why they do this. They’ve made comments about how they don’t like to be touched, they don’t like to hug, and they feel uncomfortable saying ‘I love you’… not just to me, but to anyone. Children are often a mirror of their parents. Is this my doing? Even now I tell them ‘I love them’ often, yet they still act uncomfortable and rarely say those words to me. I know they do, but sometimes I need to hear it.
I walked away from a twenty year marriage because of a lack of touch. I wish I could say it was for much bigger reasons, but that’s really as simple as it gets. I just want to be touched, to be loved. It really hurts that I walked away and there was no hand to reach out and stop me, to pull me back, or arms to wrap around me, to know I was worth fighting for. …Maybe someday.
I do know the beauty of touch. I’ve experienced what it feels like to be wanted, to be cherished, to be desired, to be held …even if but for a brief moment. I may never experience that moment again, and perhaps that’s my greatest fear. Will it be enough? It may have to be.
To those in your life whom you love, please, with all heart-felt sincerity, don’t withhold your affections. Hold them, touch them, and tell them you love them.
Till next time,