Have You Been Hugged Today?

This post has been in the front of my mind for the past couple of months, but I have refused to work on it, which has probably blocked all other writing capabilities. If I publish this writing, I may need to change, may need to live more into my authentic self, which is my goal for 2016 (thanks to Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection).

I finally gave in and began working it out, but as I edited, this post got even harder, taking a turn I wasn’t anticipating. I’m at the point where I think this writing is all crap and hitting the “Move to Trash” button is oh-so-tempting, but I can’t for whatever unknown reason. I’m like a moth drawn to a flame. Someone will need to blow out the flame for me, either that or get out the fly swatter.

* * *

A few months ago, I knew I needed to go for a run. I didn’t actually want to go, but I knew I would be better emotionally if I did. Still, I put it off, doing everything I could to fill up my day with viable excuses for not running. An hour before the kids were due home from school, it was time to put in some miles in order to achieve a decent frame of mind for the after-school-madness.

But I didn’t have time for the leisurely long run which I had been intending to take since 6am when I woke up; thus I decided to substitute hill work, hoping to make up for the lack of endurance training with intensity.

It was a hot, humid day (meaning it was above 50 degrees). I was already sweating and sucking air as I climbed the first major hill, and I was absolutely hating myself for not getting out when it was cooler.

As I rounded a curve on that ugly hill, I noticed an elderly lady using a walker, baby-stepping up her driveway toward her open garage door. She was pushing a large empty trashcan with her walker ever… so… slowly… toward her garage.

Maybe I needed an excuse to pause the excruciating torment I had deemed exercise, but without thinking, I grabbed the empty recycle bin at the end of the lady’s driveway and ran up to her. Keeping a non-threatening distance, I asked if I could put the bin away. She hesitantly told me to put it in the garage. After depositing the bin, I went back and relieved her of the trashcan which she had only moved about 2 feet since I originally saw her.

With this finished, I started down the driveway toward her. I could tell she was shocked as she thanked me profusely. I thought she may have been on the verge of tears, and I had an impulse to give her a half-hug as I said good-bye. But I didn’t. My arms stayed stuck to my sides even though I willed them to move to her shoulders.

Maybe she will think I’m weird, hugging a complete stranger (even though I’m pretty sure she already thought I was weird).

Maybe she would be completely grossed out by my shiny glisten and brush me aside.

Maybe she would think I was going to hurt her and start to scream.

Maybe I would! accidentally hurt her thin, fragile body.

These were the thoughts that kept my arms glued to my rib cage as I waved and resumed the torment of a few moments ago.

But when I had finished my two-point-something-life-threatening-hilly miles, I was mad at myself for not doing it, for not going out on that hugging limb.

I was mad at myself for all the times I didn’t go out on that limb.

You see, I’m a closet-serial-hugger. I have a strong urge to hug people. In fact, I would like to start almost every conversation with a hug. Is that really so strange? For me, it’s not. To me, a hug says “I’m happy to see you. I accept everything about you. There is no distance between us.” It opens the conversational airways and discharges the body of frustration (as well as achieving a plethora of other positive benefits for the body and mind).


Hugging is the language I speak when spoken words fail me, which happens about 99% of the time. There’s no way I can verbally express “I’m super happy to see you even though I just saw you 2 days ago!” without sounding like a stalker, so I’ll just hug the stuffing out of you instead.

When Daniel travels, I miss his hugs possibly more than anything else, even more than his computer maintenance skills, his precision lawn mowing, or his gourmet Saturday morning pancakes. I’ve often told him that when he’s away, I’m going to hire someone to come hug me twice a day. He thinks I’m joking; in reality, I haven’t found “Rent-a-Hugger” in the yellow pages.

* * *

In the first several drafts of this post, this was the paragraph where I boldly declared that from now on I would live into my authentic self and be the hugger I really am. However, as I’ve been editing, I was reminded that not all people are like myself (shocker!); not all people like to be hugged. In fact, it makes some people very uncomfortable to receive hugs. I can’t ignore this.

In light of this re-revelation, I’m floundering a bit. I do not wish to make anyone uncomfortable, at least not for the sake of a hug. I guess I’m back to analyzing social situations, guessing whether or not this person or that person is a wiling hug receptor, that is unless I’m moving to another country where hugging everyone is the social norm.

I guess I will step back into the closet until I come up with a better idea. I’m not sure what else there is to do.