Sunday, July 15, 2007

I love you, don't touch me

I am not a touchy-feely person. I am a person who highly values her personal space. I enjoy the occasional hug or kiss or pat on the back but for the most part I really prefer that people not touch me.* I guess this probably has something to do with my upbringing. My parents were very loving but we were never a very physically demonstrative family. When I was a kid there were hugs and kisses goodnight but by the time I was a teenager that had stopped and there wasn't really a lot of physical affection. I don't mean any of this as a criticism, it's simply not the way our family operated. My parents showed us that they loved us in a million ways. Physical affection just wasn't really one of them.** Maybe it's our gruff, stoic German blood.

The point is that even under the very best of circumstances I just don't really like physical contact. I have found that when I'm pregnant it's even worse. I really don't want anyone touching me ever, at all. Even Jesse has to back off when I'm pregnant. I don't know if it's a hormone that's doing it or the fact that I feel so huge and bloated or if it's something else all together. Whatever it is, I just know that when I'm pregnant I'm really uncomfortable with any physical contact that I don't initiate. Jesse (who is much more touchy-feely than me) can attest to this. Often if I'm upset about something he'll try to make me hug him to ...... I don't know, make me feel better I guess. Almost invariably all this does is make me more upset. Which begs the question, why does he keep doing it?

So if you see me in the next 7 or 8 months and I appear to pull away from you don't take it personally. It's not that I don't like you. It's that I cannot stand the thought of you touching me.

*The exception to this rule is with my kids. I could live very happily with my children permanently affixed to me. I love snuggling my babies. They can often be seen squirming to get away from me as I squeeze and cuddle them.

**After thinking about this I remembered that there are pictures of Ben and I snuggled up to my mom and dad as they read books to us. When I read the Little House books to Joseph I can so clearly remember my mom reading them to me. I would snuggle up next to her and my hair would still be wet from my bath. I would lean up against her and my hair would make a wet spot on her shirt. Every book she would read would sound even better when I listened to it with my head leaning on her chest. I could hear her voice normally in one ear and in the other I could feel it rumble and vibrate through her chest and into my ear. If I close my eyes and think back I can still "hear" it. It's a really powerful memory. Every child should have someone read to them like that.

7 comments:

shyestviolet said...

I had a revelation the other day when J was reading something to me and I was resting on his chest. I hadn't remembered what that felt like until then :D

Pendullum said...

I know the feeling...
and I absolutely adore it when my daughter comes up for a snuggle...
She is nine and not afraid of affection... so many of her friends no longer hug or kiss their parents in public... and I am so grateful she just loves to still hold my hand... or give me a kiss hello or goodbye...
and nothing better than having a great book to read together... The Tale of Despereaux or Because of Winn Dixie are beautiful books for a good snuggle...

melody is slurping life said...

What a dear memory with your mom. I loved reading it.

The touchy feely thing, I am very much touchy feely...except during PMS. I'll whack anyone who touches me.

Ferdinand the Duck said...

I hate people getting all up in my personal space. That whole first paragraph could have been written by me, minus the German part. But it`s good to know that in the profoundly unlikely event that I knock someone up, I won`t hate touching the kid.

Absolutely Bananas said...

wow I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one! My friends always make fun of my "fake pat hug" where I touch as little as possible while patting their back lightly. I guess we all have to have our weird hang-ups, right?!

Sophie Treadmill said...

I'm from a very hug-friendly family. However, I've found that it really depends on the person, whether I'm affectionate. With some of my friends, it just feels natural and with others, it just doesn't. My affection is not indicative of the depth of the friendship. Your post just makes sense of that whole thing---why some friends hug and some of us don't. :)

Generally speaking, Jeff and I are very affectionate, but when we visit his parents we aren't. Because they aren't? I guess? At my parents house (before Mom passed) we were affectionate. Maybe because my parent's were like Stephen and Elyse Keaton as for demonstrable affection?

Oh, and I loved your last paragraph so much I can't leave without commenting on it. If/when I have to do some creative writing, I might use that---with full credit and permission, of course!

StickyKeys Says: said...

I'm EXTREMELY affectionate, and so is my family. We like to lay all up in each other's personal space. I'm pretty much the same with my friends, the more I get to know you the close I get to you. But there are others with established personal boundaries and I respect those as much as possible.

I'm basically a reactor, you do something to me and then I'll do whatever to match it.

ps. I LOVE your new profile, such a tease, heh.