Holding Myself Gently: When I Kiss My Own Shoulder


One of the most comforting gestures I have ever received is a kiss and gentle cheek press or nuzzle to my shoulder. It is closeness, contact, a willingness to stay, to sit with me in the midst of hard places and times. It is also one of the gestures that I most often give my husband and dear ones when they are in need of support and comfort. I love giving and receiving this particular gesture, and, yes, I do understand the intimacy of it. However, that does not mitigate its comfort one iota. When a dear one draws close to gift me with it, there’s no fully explaining the deep succor it is. But, sometimes, there are no dear ones around. Sometimes, my husband cannot be near. Sometimes I am the only one I have near enough to stand with me. So, in those cases, I needs must comfort myself.

There are days when I kiss my own shoulder. Times when I press my lips to my own skin in the gentlest kiss I can muster and lean my cheek on the curve of my own shoulder for a moment. Times when I so desperately need reassurance in a moment when I am on my own. When the tears threaten and I am not sure that anyone else will understand them if they fall.

There are times when I feel that I need to comfort myself or I just need a quiet moment. It is in those moments that I press my lips to my skin and lean my warm cheek against my own shoulder, reminding myself that it is okay.

That I am okay.

That it will be okay.

Coloring a Kiss


She tastes like sweet red wine and strawberry Chapstick, the smoothness of caramel lingering at the very edge. Darker berries chase happy thoughts, faith, and trust over her tongue. 

He tastes like the bite of dark beer and the lingering heat of wasabi. Thoughts and ideas broad and wide and deep and high coil around his tongue and wreath his head like a fine, white-blue smoke. Or is it the other way around?

Art and magic, science and philosophy, beliefs and needs, thoughts and actions, even what you wear can color a kiss. It’s all part of the memory, part of the storied moment. 

Hints of sweet and spice, splashes of refreshment or a sharp, heated bite, perhaps even more so than your teeth could give. Your thoughts and feelings can slip out in a kiss, for better or worse, no matter how you might try to stop them. It’s like your soul slipping out between your lips, so that someone knows it’s there.