Thursday, March 26, 2009

Everytime We Touch

Tonight, right before she went to bed, I asked my roommate for a hug.
That sounded strange, didn't it? The thing is, I'm realizing more and more that one of the biggest things I miss about college and being 45 minutes away from family is the physical human contact. In high school and college, I was super affectionate with my friends and I took it completely for granted. I don't know if it's the fact that I've become a little hardened from living in the city or because I have this notion that adults just don't hug willy-nilly whoever, but now hugging and touching the people I love is not part of my daily life.
I realized that tonight as I (sheepishly) asked my roommate, who is also one of my best friends, for a hug and she said, "Of course! Are you OK?" While I appreciated the hug and her concern, it dawned on me that when needing a hug only indicates that someone is hurting, there's a problem.
The thing is, I come from a pretty touchy-feely family and adore human contact. But tonight, not only was I appalled that I felt silly for asking for a hug from one of my best friends, but I was shocked that I couldn't recall the last embrace I'd had. I ran into a friend on the street on my way to the gym downtown a while ago and when we parted ways, I gave her the biggest hug ever. And before then it may have been when I saw friends at a bar for St. Patty's. And before that it was when my sister visited in mid-February. Guys, I'm averaging less than one hug per week. Sad, isn't it?
Anyway, I think maybe I should try to change this. Maybe that's part of why I've really felt down and not quite myself in Chicago yet. Not only am I losing touch with who I am, but I'm losing touch in general in a very literal way. In fact, hugging has become such a rarity that I've occasionally come close to bursting into tears from a quick squeeze from a good friend. (crazy woman alert) I've never been excessively emotional, but this little act overwhelms me, like someone is throwing me a life preserver and reminding me of who I am and that people are pretty wonderful. You didn't know the topic of hugging could be so philosophical, did you?
As silly as it might seem, I may have to start requesting hugs from my friends. I have plenty of people that I know here, so that's not the issue. It's that I shy away and remain aloof when everyone is hugging in big groups. And on top of that, I forgot how integral it is to who I am as a person and to my satisfaction with life. Hugs should be natural, yes, but I think I'm out of practice, so I'll just have to ask. I read a study somewhere (correct me if I'm wrong) that humans need something like seven hugs per day to maintain a happy lifestyle. So maybe I should make that my number one goal for the month of April (or start now so I can stop being a Debbie Downer ASAP)-- get a hug everyday and work my way up from there.
What do you guys think? How important is physical contact and hugging to you and your happiness quotient?

1 comment:

chandra said...

I read this the day you posted it, and knew I wanted to comment, but couldn't find the words... lol But it's been on my mind since I read it and I have to say, I've realized I'm kind of in the same boat. Back home my friends/family and I would always hug when we saw each other, when we were leaving each other, or even just randomly if something good happened or someone was feeling down. That is not quite the case with many of my friends now. I think my "apodted family" here are the only people who offer up hugs when I see/leave them.

Lately with all the stress I've been going through with work and ill family members I could USE a big hug, but I have no one to ask for one without feeling odd for asking. It almost makes me want to cry thinking about it.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, but I just wanted to let you know (once again) you're not alone here. And thank you for bringing this to my attention - I need more hugs!! :)