I am not a touchy person. I am one of those who has the three-foot personal space, or so it always was.

But apparently a change has gradually overtaken me. After spending six days away from my family, I felt so incredibly isolated that I could hardly stand it. It was like being stuck in a vortex of physical alienation.

The most difficult part of the day was being in a crowd, alone. When I got back to my darlings, I realized why.

We sat in the living room, leaning on each other. In our family, feet touch. Arms touch. Heads lean on my shoulders to say hello. Hugs happen randomly in passing.

I lay back on the couch and put my feet up on the two girls. I snoozed. They massaged my shins and feet, just for something to do, apparently. The sense of home returned.

So, although at my first conference I was not a hugger, this time around the pick-me-up each day was finding someone I know and love in the crowd and accepting a hug. It was badly needed for maintaining my sense of grounding.

So, thus says the standoffish curmudgeon: If you are someone who recently hugged me, thanks.


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  1. I have this theory that the range of a person’s space-bubble is in some way connected to the size of their spirit, and so trying to fit in a crowd is more uncomfortable than it looks. Even so, we allow that intimacy with those we love.

    Just to warn you, should we ever meet, I am a hugger.

  2. Not a touchy person, never have been (my family was NOT huggy growing up). And huggy people make me uncomfortable. But after years of having very touchy children and husband apparently I touch my family constantly and without noticing. Recently went somewhere with Es, meeting someone new (online friend) and I spent almost the entire time with my hand on my girly– patting her head, arm around shoulder, etc.– it was weird for me to notice it since that family was not touchy at all. So apparently I have changed– though I still don’t get the whole hugging strangers thing, I do now show love to my family with hugs and affectionate touch.

    1. Dave is definitely the hug instigator in our family culture. :) But raising them from babies changed me too, I think. Can’t help but snuggle a baby. And maybe it’s a maturity thing, too. As I age and time seems to move faster, I’m more interested in being “with” people in the short time I have, than defending my hamster ball of personal space…as long as it’s people I know well enough.

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