Hi! I’m Mel and I like warm hugs! And squeezes. And being lifted off my feet. Oh, and I love cuddles and snuggles, and having my hair stroked, and my shoulders rubbed, and my back scratched, and my feet massaged. Honestly, I just like physical affection and touch. There are times and situations when I don’t wish to be touched, yes. But more often than not, if I am comfortable with you, I’m happy to give and receive physical affection. A hug is my go-to for comfort, gripping someone’s arm or hand my way of showing support, stroking their hair a playful gesture.
Honestly, the fact that I am “touchy-feely” (I do believe that is the technical term) at all still comes as a bit of a surprise to me. My family on the whole is not very touchy-feely, unless it was the moms with their own children. My friends and I weren’t very touchy, unless we were doing each other’s hair. In fact, hugging between us girls didn’t really even come into being until we were in high school and, even then, I wasn’t much of one to express my affection physically. It wasn’t until I got into college that I connected with the side of me that likes to give and receive physical affection. It was mainly with my female friends, of course, but I also learned not to be afraid of hugging my male friends either. Several thousand miles and a whole country away from home, the caring hugs and hair-strokes of my friends became a supreme comfort to me in times when my heart was low. An arm thrown around my shoulders during a walk produced a smile. A hand slipping into mine amidst difficult words gave me strength.
Some of my happiest, most content times have been with those I care about. One of my best friends, my very first memory of her is of me standing behind her while she and my husband (then boyfriend) and some of their friends were playing a session “Changeling: The Dreaming” (a tabletop game). As I stood behind her and observed the game, I played with her hair. I remember these luxuriant, thick, silky red locks pouring through my fingers as I just enjoyed their weight. I remember asking her several times if it was OK for me to be touching her and she told me, yes, that she was enjoying it very much. Things like that I remember. I remember the way that people hug. Hugs are like fingerprints. I would dare say that there are several people I would know by their hugs alone. The way their arms feel, the way they squeeze me, the sound that rumbles in their chest when they do. Like loops and whorls and arches, each a unique mixture.
Today, my daughter stood up from having her diaper changed and leaned into me for a hug, which I happily gave. I held her a good long time, her head on my shoulder and my chin rested on hers, and I just breathed and marveled at the comfort that I received from such a little body and such a simple action as touch.