Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared


CatBioCatTI really don’t like hugs. I am not a misanthrope.

Okay, this isn’t all true. I do like hugs. A lot. In fact, scratch the gripping opening, I love hugs. What I mean to say is that I hold a hug with someone else in high regard, and I have very little tolerance for anything that falls short of said regard.

Do you remember in that cold, vacuous pit of hell (re: middle school) when someone you were, at best, acquaintances with would scream your name in the hallway on the way to class and they would bring you into a hug so light and insincere that it would remind you of every awkward insecurity you and all of your peers had? Because I do, and the memory alone makes me cringe. I feel like hugs are a status symbol among adolescents. The more hugs in a day they get, the more beloved they believe themselves to be. If they could collect hugs in a jar, a hug between two people would be nothing but a rushed clutch onto a soul you will never know.

And I think that’s what I truly hate. Not the hug itself, but how easily a hug can be taken for granted. How easily they can be simplified.

Maybe I am just a weepy 40-year-old spinster taking up residence in a 20-year-old’s body, but nowadays I find myself viewing a hug as more intimate than most things. It’s two bodies held so close together that they become intertwined and in those moments a hug lasts, the parties involved can learn so much about one another.

In a real, true hug, we shut out the world around us. Everything melts slowly away and standing there are two people who want to know as much as their mind and soul will allow them to learn of another in what a minute has to offer. I want to know the relaxed shoulders and the even breathing that aren’t mine feel against me. I want to know that the arms around me will remember my curves and insecurities and hopes when I’m nothing but a memory on a shelf.

When I was younger, I knew a boy who smelled of Old Spice and fresh linen so strong that I could never for the life of me forget what that smell and embrace was like. He broke me in the end and it wasn’t until recently that I saw him again. I had pushed him out of my mind.

As we hugged, every knot his words had once made in my stomach and every chill he gave me when he flashed me a smile came back. I remembered the Old Spice and fresh linen like it was just yesterday when we said goodbye.

And you know, that shit is painful. The memories of a hug also bring back the pain and loneliness that a lack of embrace provides. And in the end, I get freaked out that a hug I give someone else could ever mean that much to them. I’m terrified to know that maybe I’ll leave such a mark on someone that whatever I smell like or the way my hands rest on someone’s back will bring up their greatest pain or whatever else I give someone.

And then there are the people whose embrace you’ll always get lost in and you’ll always run back to for comfort and solace. There are people out there, whether you know them now or they’ll walk into your life somewhere down the line, who will never leave you, and the way they hold you when your’re in tears  will be some of the greatest happiness you’ll ever come to know.

I guess what bothers me about hugs is that something so powerful can be given as something so meaningless. I just never want to be so taken for granted.