Can’t touch this

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.

Post-a-day 2019

Grazingly uncomfortable

A few years ago, I was talking to a male friend of mine about one of the other guys at dance, and how I couldn’t figure out if he noticed that he would end up swiping the edge of my boob whenever we danced together (partner dancing).

He informed me and the other females present that a guy always knows when he has touched boob – it is like radar… whenever boob touches any part of a guy’s body, it immediately alerts, “BOOB!”

And so then we were all wondering if the occasional faces that the guy we’d been discussing would make – an almost embarrassed, pursed-lip, laughing expression, like a little boy who’s snuck ice cream before dinner, and his favorite aunt calls him out on it, but they both know she won’t tell Mommy (and probably just will steal a bite in exchange for her nonverbal agreed-upon silence in the matter) every so often while dancing with me were because he noticed that he’d touched boob, but hadn’t meant to do so, and so now didn’t know how to respond appropriately, but did his best to ignore the event (with his face totally betraying him).

Because we really couldn’t figure out why he always made those faces when dancing with me…., but this seemed like a reasonable and likely solution to our quandary.

The specific guy was an actual well-known friend, and so we all agreed easily that he was not at all intentionally malicious in any way with the boob grazing – he was just not that great with the body management while staying on beat and all in the dancing.

I don’t remember if I ever verified this theory – aka tested it time and time again, when dancing with the guy – but I have a sense of being rather convinced of that being the case, even now, years later, so I’m thinking I did check that he always made those faces just after what seemed like an unintentional boob graze.

Now, the reason this has come up tonight, is because of something that happened tonight.

When giving me a side hug tonight, a long-armed guy’s arm went a little too far around my back – about half an inch, I guess – and his fingertips, ever so slightly, grazed the outer edge of my breast.

When it happened, I naturally pulled strategically out of the hug, from years of practice in removing myself from any sort of uncomfortable situation, intended or accidental.

I didn’t say anything, though, because I found myself wondering first, Did he notice that?, which was almost immediately cut off by the memory of what my friend had told me years before: “BOOB!”

And then I wondered, Was that intentional?

????????????????

And then I didn’t know where to go with it.

He’s a tall guy, so misalignments can happen rather easily, as they happen with extreme height differences…, but he’s a tall guy, and he has been a tall guy for some time, and ought to know how to manage such things by this point in his life… but he’s also really not a ladies’ man, and so might not be too accustomed to hugging girls in the first place…

After the fact, I feel almost embarrassed that I was too embarrassed for him to bring it up, to tell him in some way that I disapprove of the behavior, whether it was intentional or not – I didn’t have to be mean to him at all, but I think it would have been valuable to inform him either way to be cautious in the future.

Yet, it was not so natural a thing to me that I even considered saying anything at the time… I just moved away from the incident altogether, for fear of discomfort.

I didn’t want to embarrass him over something he had neither intentionally done nor known about.

I was embarrassed for myself at the prospect of pointing out that he had touched me inappropriately, period.

This is something for me to work on for myself – I want to be comfortable to speak up and conscious enough to do so, whenever anything like this might happen.

And I want all people to be encouraged to do so themselves, too – I want us to be happy and comfortable in our own skins, and to be able to express, in a useful and beneficial way, what doesn’t work from other people’s behavior toward us.

Yeah.

Post-a-day 2019