"umm i don't like hugs" i often tell people as i awkwardly pull away from their reach.
my close friends have learned to protect me. "don't touch her."... "she doesn't love being hugged." they will say as someone comes for me with open arms.
if i do let you hug me. that means i feel extremely secure. i was built with a longing to be safe. i crave protection and safety at all times. if i don't feel that from you i flee. but if i know i am loved and known i let you hug me. and truth me told - you should be honored. i will hug my mama all day long if i'm allowed. i will hug most of my close friends. there are some friends that i still don't hug. because ... i'm not ready. or maybe i should say - i wasn't ready.
so often i don't have time to explain myself. i make a quick exit right and dodge people trying to touch me ... and if they don't know my background ... within minutes the jokes start.
"this'll be hard when you get married." ... "one day you'll love to be touched."
i laugh and say "God will give me a special grace." but my brain is thinking "who the heck says that to someone they barely know? ... only MY PEOPLE are allowed to joke with me like that."
let's back up.
you might be like "holy smokes this is wild." ... and it is. everything about my life feels wild.
you might also be wondering why in the world i wouldn't want to be hugged.
i decided i should keep it short and sweet. [ just like me. 5 feet probs. ] okay. i'll try my best.
# 1 - i have a brain tumor sitting on my thalamus. and while your thalamus is absolutely magical and controls so many things about our incredible bodies - it has a lot to do with our senses. so a lot of mine are heightened ... my dad says i have x-ray smelling and hearing. which is hilarious since you can't see those things. and my sense of touch is just on overdrive. when my doctor took the majority of my tumor out he was worried that if he nicked my thalamus all my senses would be - poof - destroyed. so he left some tumor. it was just too risky. right? right! but. leaving that little guy behind has seemed to leave my senses on overdrive all the dang time. it's wild. see. i told you!
# 2 - this one's is a little more complicated. basically i was poked and prodded my whole life. and then one day. my brain put her foot down. and she said to me "no more of this. you don't even like to be touched. it's actually really awful." and my body began to listen to her. because she's in charge up there and all. and then slowly it became a defense mechanism. and my body became entwined in this whole charade that my brain had set before it. slowly it turned from physical to psychological. so slowly i barely even knew it was happening.
i started going to a new chiropractor in february - and at my first appointment with her she raised my arm up to do some muscle testing. and all of a sudden i sat completely straight up. because my body remembered exactly what to do. my OT used to do muscle testing on me. but it's been years and years since i saw her. but every cell in my body from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head knew what to do. it was amazing. and as she's worked on me the last few months - she continually says "your brain is telling your body it doesn't feel safe. but your body is screaming for help." it's incredible to me that this brain of mine has tricked my body into thinking it hates to be touched. shame on her.
but lately. since this whole quarantine thing it seems that i actually want a hug. i am missing the people. when i am not allowed to hug a single soul - suddenly my brain is telling my body it is longing for it. funny how that works. shame on her again. like seriously brain? no one is asking for a hug. no one is touching your arm when they talk to you for no reason. and yet this brain of mine is like " i could really use a hug. " because. well. that's how we were designed.
we weren't created to be alone. God did not desire for us to feel alone. His desire was for us to always feel safe and protected and secure.
and so my friends ...
i hate to say it. i can't believe these words will leave me. but.
i might ... just might be...
becoming a hugger.
hahaha okay maybe not. we will see how i feel once this whole thing is over and i can actually have the option again. my brain - she is smart - so maybe she's just playing games with my heart.
if during this isolation you have the gift of being with your family - hug them. way too much.
and if you don't ... and you are missing hugs. i get it. and i am so sorry. soon this will all be over.
love you fam!
shelby elyse taylor