Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Arms length away

Ten yards: I see someone come towards me whom I genuinely love and care about. I am excited to see this person. From a distance of ten yards I am in total control of my emotions.

Nine yards:
Still fine, a smile on my face.

Eight yards: Still smiling, trying to come up with something witty to say.

Seven yards: Nothing witty coming to mind, better just stick with "it's wonderful to see you".

Six yards: The other someone is smiling, probably also trying to think of a clever greeting.

Five yards: Uh oh, they are getting closer...

Four yards: What the... the arms are going up, one higher than the other... I know what this means...

Three yards: Still advancing, no doubt about what is ahead in three, two, one second..... Sweat beads up. Can I run??

Two yards: No getting out of it now.

One yard: (resignation) Which arm do I put up? Opposing arms? One arm? Two arms? Oh......

Contact: Okay, I'm locked in the embrace, how long do I stay? One-one thousand... Two-one-thousand... Three-one thousand... Pats on the back... It's all so confusing....

Release.



There is a word for the scenario I just described. Hugaphobia. Go ahead, click on the link.

Yes, I have it. Some people fear spiders, arachnophobia (they don't even phase me) while others might fear flying in airplanes, aerophobia (I have this a little). We all have our little quirks.

My family was not of the hugging variety. Our personal space was just that, personal (except when I helped myself to older sister's clothes). Nor were we the kissing and gushing variety. Physical closeness was rare, and when it did happen it often felt awkward, mostly because it was unfamiliar to all of us. Athena and Eris were also raised that way (along with the OCD tendencies (I don't claim those)). They also suffer from hugaphobia.

Two people have helped me to partially recover from this malady. Seven years ago Amy came to live with us and she was a definite hugger. I gradually learned to let her into my space and accept the physical touching. Shortly after that the Duchess became part of our lives. Now there is an unabashed hugger!

Slowly, and with baby steps I have worked on this phobia. I no longer break into a sweat and count the seconds until release. I am still learning that it is okay to let people into my personal space, briefly. And sometimes I surprise myself by initiating this behavior!

$.81


Second thoughts: Those of you who grew up in the same culture as I did will remember the church Stake Dances. There were always strong admonitions of "arm's length apart". Could those warnings have contributed to my personal space issues? Just sayin'....

11 comments:

Me said...

You crack me up! I'm going to give you multiple hugs the next time I see you :)

ME said...

Don't let her fool you, she LOVES hugs! I guess mine are just special! :) love you!

Debra said...

AHHHHH! Stop touching me!

I don't know how I ever ended up with three kids.

The Duchess said...

I love hugging! No doubt about it, definitely unabashed. But I do not appreciate, nor do I encourage in any way, random acquaintances hugging and kissing and touching me - only the people I love. Smile.

Muriel said...

I am trying to remember if you have ever let me hug you. Athena hugs more than Eris.

athena said...

Probably because I'm drunk.

Mrs. Dub said...

Dubs family are BIG huggers.
Huge huggers actually.
You get hugged when you leave the room to pee.

If you think I am kidding, ask Eris.

But at least you know you are loved.
My family, on the other hand, shows affection with random insults and sarcasm.
I'm much more comfortable with that.

Debra said...

Muriel, the only time I hug people is when I am trying to squeeze the life out of them. Athena is a happy drunk - I am a woman easily pushed to physical violence.

athena said...

Eris - Maybe you SHOULD drink!

Muriel said...

Eris, I think you have hugged me once. I don't think you were trying to hug the life out of me. But one can never be too sure.

'boo said...

My secret is out--I also suffer from this malady. I have a definite "bubble" and am very picky about who is allowed in. I've found that waiving at people (in a cheerful, dorky manner) puts them off of their hugging stride. And you all just thought I was a little crazy...