My aunt somewhat recently commented that so long as no one touches me, I’m good to go… ready for the world and taking it on, full power.
When I was younger, there seemed to be something for me about people being categorized in my head as either “clean” or “dirty”.
It didn’t mean they actually were clean or dirty, but my brain’s inner workings qualified them with these terms, and permitted the clean people to make contact with me without my being concerned…. and, if a “dirty” person touched me, I could survive, but would be bothered, though that person could not, under any circumstances, touch my hair – I would freak (even to the point of tears in my eyes, ready to cry from the upset and the sudden desire to get away and shower as soon as possible).
Nowadays, I don’t so much notice this specific categorization happening… it seems to be more of a “close people”, “people”, and “people who are not supposed to touch me”, with the “people” category being the standard person I know and around whom I am comfortable, meaning that this person is probably fine to touch me as needed – tap my shoulder or arm, fingers touch when handing me something, possibly even hug, etc.
The “close people” are the people with whom I feel emotionally/psychologically close, and with whom I also like being physically close and in contact – like a dog always wanting to be touching at least some part of its loving owner… sometimes we wrestle to sit on top of one another, sometimes we hold hands or pinkies, and sometimes we just lean on one another while hanging or and sitting around (or not touch at all at times) – the physical contact is mutually comfortable and hardly considered, because it just happens almost automatically when we are together; it is part of how we express our love.
The third category is less acknowledge in my head, unless a person from it actually acts to touch me or touches me – then I am suddenly acutely aware of their being in that category.
Typically, though, I hardly notice the categories consciously, and just act accordingly with people from each category, pretty much behaving toward them as I’d like them to behave toward me (excluding, of course, people who, I notice, don’t want to be touched, in which case, I don’t touch them, even if I would have been comfortable with their touching me).
And, when I say ‘touching’, I mean, of course, touching my skin or hair, but also touching my clothes, anything on my person, and, depending on the situation, anything that belongs to me – it isn’t merely about skin-to-skin contact.
These categorizations today seem to be less connected to physical traits – extreme acne or oily faces, something usually stuck in one’s teeth, etc. – and more wholistic, looking at how I feel emotionally and psychologically with the individuals… if I am emotionally at ease, I also am physically, which includes touching me… if I am not entirely at ease with the person, I am not ready for that person to touch me.
Sometimes, I can handle touching someone who has yet to reach the “people” category, but it has to be that I‘ve initiated the contact – if it is spontaneous and started by the other person, we’ve got some very disturbed moments to follow for me.
So, then, how do I express to someone who has not yet reached the “people” stage that I don’t want to be touched?
For me, my lack of physical contact toward others has always seemed an appropriate way to express this – neither rude nor mean, but showing that I am not interested in physical contact of any kind.
However, this doesn’t always work.
I acknowledge that I’m the one who has this seemingly uncommon trait of wanting specifically to be not touched, and I don’t want the other person to feel rejected or hated or anything of the sort – it is merely that we are not on an emotional/psychological level of comfort that works for me to have physical contact with one another.
Perhaps it is best just to explain it this way… perhaps the person won’t like being around me so much… perhaps that’s best, because this is part of my package in life, and perhaps I will be surrounded by the people who are instant “people”, when I am honest about my physical comfort around people… perhaps not…
Perhaps… perhaps… perhaps…
I’m not sure if I ever will have a clear answer for this inquiry, but it is definitely on my mind – how does one approach a socially uncommon uncomfortable situation within traditional social settings…? 😛
That is the question.