I really don’t know when I became a big softy. I know it wasn’t before 1999. I know it wasn’t before that particular year, because I would say before that year, my emotional growth was a bit stunted. I just didn’t connect with people in the way that others seemed to. I was a lot more introspective. Perhaps that’s simply how I perceived myself, and others perceived me differently. I often attribute the distant relationship I have with my family to this. I love my family, but we don’t have that deep affection and camaraderie that I often feel like I see in other families. I’ve tried that, and it just feels foreign. It doesn’t feel right.
In 1999 I had a emotionally traumatic event. That’s all I care to say about it, but in that event, I ended up in the hospital for a short while. In the midst of it, I didn’t really know how to deal with emotions. I’d always dealt with them very much on the surface…so what happens when they get deeper. When you have to face true issues of love, and lost, and anger and pain…emotional pain. Well, if you can’t handle them, you either shut down, or you escape.
After 1999, I was told I needed to become more well rounded emotionally. What does that mean? I don’t know. Still to this day I don’t know. I do know that now, I’m a bit of a big softy. I still don’t feel, emotionally “normal”…I still don’t make connections in the same way I feel others do. I have a much more fluid ideal of human connection and interaction…and it’s constantly changing, and evolving…it’s odd.
I think that’s why it’s so odd that I can make a connection so deeply to someone I spend 20 minutes with, and sometimes feel like I hardly know someone I’ve known for years…and truly not care to.
But at some point, I became a softy. I don’t know when. I just know that one day, tears came easier, smiles came easier, the clinical depression that was a halo over my head became a stepping mat under my feet. My view on life has changed, and with it the dynamics of my interactions…
…and the emotion I feel inside of me.
That’s what this picture makes me think of. Emotion. We so often hinge the idea of emotion on the ones which are so easily identifiable…love, anger, hate. Those are strong, so direct, so immediate in their recognization. I feel like for so many years, that’s that was on my palate. I kind of reveled in the fact that i didn’t find myself mired in the sea of emotions, so many of them unexplainable, that people around me seemed to. But slowly, they crept in.
Some good, some bad. Envy, admiration, longing, curiosity, lust…they all have found a place on my palate. I paint the world slowly, determinedly, with each and every one.
Unimaginable to me before 1999, I now cry at movies. Me…cry…really. The final scene of Monsters, Inc. always gets me. As does the ending of “Stepmom.” I do find my affections for people are…more sincere. And have a greater sense of permanence.
However, I find that at this juncture, I have a distinct desire for physical intimacy. Now when I say that, I don’t mean sex. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I love to cuddle. Cuddling, hugging, caressing…in some ways, those acts are so much more intimate than the simple physical act of intercourse. I mean, in my life, I wasn’t always the upstanding individual I am now, and I’ve had sex with people I wasn’t in love with…I’ve had sex with women I downright detested in retrospect…but I wouldn’t cuddle with someone I don’t have some emotional connection with. That’s also why I’ve been able to cuddle with lesbian friends of mine in the past without issue. It’s not necessarily sexual…it kind of transcends that.
But all of that is what this picture makes me think of. It makes me think of the joy and affection that comes with hugging someone…holding them close. It’s a sense of…acceptance? Safety? I’m not sure how to define it, but it’s so pleasant. I mean look at them, take a good look. Even though you can barely see either of their faces, that moment captured in time simply radiates with affection and joy. It’s sweet…such a subtle dance. The entry, as your cheeks past each other for the embrace. If you look close, you’ll notice her head is on his shoulder, and his head is gently resting on top of hers. That’s the kind of hug that’s coupled with that back and rocking or twisting motion.
Those are the best hugs aren’t they? I hate formal “arm over shoulder pat on the back, butt out in the air” hugs. I’d rather you simply shake my freaking hand. They just scream,
“I don’t really want to hug you, but it seems like the right thing to do, and I’m expressly fearful of you rubbing your junk either on my leg, or God forbid, directly on my junk!”
But close, tight hugs, even to a stranger, there’s nothing better. I’ve had an occasion to take part in a free hugs campaign event. That’s basically when you go to a public place with a sign that says “FREE HUGS” and simply offer hugs to people passing by. It may sound strange…but without fail, eventually someone comes by who offers a hug. Men, women, children..it’s cool.
I like the little short people, when you give them an over the back hug, and their head rests on your chest or stomach. Occasionally it’s a little Christian side-hug action.
But the best are when it’s someone whom you really wanna hug, and they really want to hug you back…and you just get in deep. The woman goes around the neck, and the man goes in and places his hands on the small of her back,and pulls her in, and you feel your belly buttons meet…and perhaps your junk touches a bit. But it’s totally ok.
Those hugs are the best hugs…
…I’m always astounded at how much I’ve grown…evolved. I’m also amazed at how much growing I often feel I have to do.
But this picture, it simply brings a flood of thought…of past and future…and most importantly the present.
* This post was written in response to The Daily Post @ WordPress.com’s Weekly Writing Challenge. The challenge this week is to write a post based on the above picture, in 1,000 words.