Friday, April 10, 2020

A Month Without Hugging

"Covid Cancel" button

A month ago, I needed to be in central Massachusetts for the first board meeting of an organization I belong to here, in the community where we built StarField Farm. My spouse told me to pack assuming I was going to stay here indefinitely.

I tried to argue, wanting to be there with him to support him, but we both knew the safest place for me was at the farm, where I could limit who I was in contact with. It would also limit my exposure to whatever virus might hitchhike home from the hospital on his clothing or person.

It would be a week. Maybe two. At least that's what I told myself, even as I knew better. This is the start of my second month here. As covid-19 cancels our regular lives and plans and hopes and dreams, as people I know have lost loved ones, I struggle to find a new kind of normal.

I won't lie. It's been extremely hard for me to keep to a daily schedule. My sleep/wake cycle has been upended. I'm not eating regular meals. Some meals I forget to eat alltogether. I'm spending far too much time scrolling social media, especially Twitter to find covid-19 and political updates. I turn on NPR. I turn it off. Dozens of times a day.

The only writing I've done is this blog. I had been fighting to write fiction for most of the past year, and just as I was getting back to the novel in progress, this happened.

I hate how whiny I sound.

My own life has not much been changed. Many of the things I miss are things that are luxuries - being able to be at the ceramics studio with my fellow potters, meeting with a writer friend at a local coffee shop, running to the market for fresh food for that night's dinner.

So many people have lost so much.

What is hardest is not being able to comfort my friends, my family, my community. Like all of us, I have experienced tragedy and trauma in my life, but at all those moments, I was literally embraced by those around me. We were able to come together, physically, to mourn, to process, and to heal.

As an introvert, I am comfortable with silence and solitude. But this past month has shown me how much I need physical contact. People who know me know that I am a hugger. Non-sexual platonic touch is as necessary as breathing for me. I hug when I'm happy, I hug when I'm sad, I hug to comfort others. (Within appropriate boundaries - I promise.)

My greatest personal wish right now is to live in a world where we no longer need to be wary of physical closeness, where we can greet dear friends with welcome hugs.

Until that day comes, know that you are in my thoughts and I offer you these words of kindness to wrap around you in place of my arms.

May you and your loved ones be safe and be well. 

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  1. I thought I would be fine without any physical hugs, as I am not a huge fan of them. Well. I wasn't a fan of them, but they seem to have become a vital part of my life, because it sure is painful to be without. I am kept going by the knowledge that we WILL make it through this, and that when I finally get to hug you again you are strong enough to withstand the powerful need of that first hug <3

    1. I promise I will absolutely be ready! Until then here's one: {{{{{hug}}}}