To Be Held
umair haque

Hold me and I’ll hold you.

I appreciate your words — all of them that you share here. They resonate deeply within my soul because I also believe as you do. I am a very tactile person — or in the vernacular, a “touchy-feely” person. I give hugs freely and often. If for some reason a hug is not possible, I will still make some sort of skin contact, even if it’s just a brief touch on the arm.

You hit the nail on the head: our society does not value, does not perpetuate non-sexual, caring touch between any of its members. People are literally dying of contact starvation. Babies and old people in institutionalized care often show the deprivation of touch. Their physical needs may all be met: fed, cleaned, dressed. But without the gentle, lovingkindness of actual and communicative touch, they will turn their face to the wall and die.

Children who are not held, hugged, touched with love, grow up to be self-absorbed and unsocial. We have a nation of these children — and their children. And for men, it really is taboo to touch other men — and I do not mean sexual in any sense of the word. So men have created ways to make skin contact that does not look like tenderness: the “bro” chest bumping, wrestling and so on. Quasi-violent but acceptable within our society’s “norms”.

Our skin is the first way we experience the world. It’s not just a shame, but downright harmful that we don’t feed the skin’s need of frequent contact for our entire life. Have a hug. Here’s another to share with someone else!

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