Today, I got to spend some in-person one-on-one time with a dear friend of mine. She and I have not spoken much lately, because, whenever we do talk, it usually lasts a couple hours or more, and I tend to think of calling her when it is a little too close to bedtime for such a long call. And our schedules have been kind of opposite – I go to bed early, and she late – which hasn’t helped her be able to reach me either. We just both accepted that we were in a bit of a scheduling break (break due to scheduling, that is).
We used to spend at least one evening a week together, spending quality in-person time with one another and a few other good friends. Then, we actually lived together. And then I moved away, then back… the latter of which happened right before she moved away. (Not too far, but far enough that even weekly hangouts were out of the question. So, instead, we talk on the phone a lot, which is actually quite nice.
Anyway, today, we spent time together in person. And it was amazing.
The other day, I had almost cried when someone held my hand – it was a surprise for me to have such a reaction, but it was an important but near-forgotten sensation from what feels like oh-so-long-ago. I was nearly overwhelmed by the feeling, by the comforting warmth and pressure in just the right place. Just as our hands were growing slightly damp in the middle, and my insides were breathing with pure comfort and delight at this specific, if odd, comfort from so many moments in my life, he dropped my hand. Naturally, I went a bit crazy in my mind about the possibilities as to why he did that. And I don’t just mean then. I mean mostly afterward, and borderline obsessively. (Fortunately, I can acknowledge when it has been enough, and I can just let it all go, but I certainly allow myself to delve, if only for a short time.) From a logic standpoint, it was likely due to the sweat that he dropped my hand, although it was because of the sweat that I was so filled.
Nonetheless, as I considered this over the next couple days, I began to see how much I had not seen regarding my need for physical comfort. My brain, body, and psyche need physical contact to survive, not just to thrive. And I have been getting by on the absolute bare minimum lately, and so certainly not thriving. Life has been just that much harder because of it.
And so, this evening, as that all was not news to this friend, I was given a good, solid rub-down. Her strong, firm, warm hands placed intentional, loving pressure on my back, both massaging my muscles and giving me comfort. Then she purposefully rubbed all along my arms and each finger, my neck and shoulders, and each leg. I asked her to treat me like a dog, and give me a rub-down, and she did. And it was extremely comforting at the time. Then, further along in our hanging out together, rather than just giving hug after hug at things, we just sat together in an embrace, I somewhat in her lap, arms around her waist. Her strong arms held me tight around my shoulders and back, as my head pressed against her upper chest, and she rested her chin atop my head.
When she had first arrived, there was no doubt in either of our minds that I was struggling. I have a lot of things causing stress in my daily life at the moment – a lot. And those things have begun taking a greater hold of my attention each day, as their volume and significance have increased. Now, about to go to sleep, I don’t necessarily notice feeling any specific way, but that I notice a lack of something. There is something gone that was previously here, weighing me down. I am not tense and stress-y, clenching somehow with my whole being. I am comfortably standing, wide-legged, shoulders totally chill and relaxed, breathing very calm and easy, all without effort. Now, I am merely getting ready for bed. I see those things that have been stressing me, but they are just something I see – they are not taking me over anymore. I am breathing easily, without restriction or strain (that, though I could push through them, they certainly were there before).
And I can breathe, simply because my body can handle it all again. My skin and muscles and hair follicles were rejuvenated by her hands and arms, and they are all breathing freely once again. All because I got a rub-down.
It may sound silly, but there’s a reason that has become an actual job in some countries – people need it. Remember, babies die without physical contact. It’s a wonder we haven’t come up with something for this for people sooner, I suppose.
^Meh… got it, but had to consider