I miss hugs. I miss handshakes. I miss reaching for something at the grocery store at the same time someone else does and not leaping back as though we’ve simultaneously been shot. I miss passing people in the aisles as we go opposite directions down the same aisle. I miss meandering through and checking out the sales and buying things we don’t NEED, but they look good. I miss popping out quick for a treat meal or to run an errand. I miss going for walks and not darting off to the far edge of the path or onto the grass at the edge in order to pass people. I miss feeling safe to chat with the neighbour across the fence without maintaining a big distance between. I miss going for a drive just because. I miss get togethers and in person chats with friends. I miss feeling safe to touch nearly everything without fear of dying. I miss buffets and meals with friends. I miss holding my nieces and nephews. I miss painting other people’s canvases.
But mostly…I miss hugs. The big, squishy kind that feels like the huggers melt into each other so deeply that their hearts wrap around each other and fill each other up with love, safety, peace, security, protection, understanding, and foreverness. The kind of hug that turns shallow, quick breaths to deep, slow breaths. The kind of hug that takes the coldness of anxiety and fear and warms it up so completely that the anxiety and fear fade away. The kind of hug that lets the body know that it no longer needs to be flooded with cortisol and epinepherine and instead can have a rush of oxytocin to move from isolated hypervigilance to connected relaxedness. The kind of hug that eases tense muscles, nauseous guts, and 500 mile per hour thought tornadoes. The kind of hug where you feel the other person’s soul as you are permitted access past all the layers of masks, guards, and armour. Heart hugs.
I am shocked to discover this about myself. To find out that of all the ways love can be felt and expressed, physical touch and connection is strongly my top way of feeling the most loved. I am also incredibly proud to find out that the massive amounts of work I did to heal from abusive touch and the journey I have been on to discover safe, healing touch has been so beautifully effective.
So, when physical distancing protocols are no longer needed to slow the spread of a deadly disease, there is one thing I absolutely won’t miss. I will not miss the crippling fear of physical touch and affection because it will no longer be a part of my world.
Dance. Fight. Care.