Go big or go home, the saying goes. In my case, I went home TO go big, in a sense. Let me explain…
One of the worst residuals of my past is an underlying suspicion of anyone who tries to touch me. I used to trust my instincts about people implicitly and completely. If someone didn’t “feel” right to me, they didn’t get close enough to touch me, period. I was open to hugs from people I knew well. Casual touch didn’t freak me out, nor did those accidental touches incurred in a crowd.
Consensual touch is an important form of communication between humans; whether the touch is simple affection or something more intimate. This is especially true in close relationships. Conclusive, reliable studies illustrate the effects of touch, or lack thereof, on children and adults.
Withholding affection and affectionate touch is as much of an abuse tactic as is violence and violent non-consensual touch.
As I recovered from the past, I questioned my instincts about people, and therefore kept a wide personal space. I couldn’t tolerate crowds because someone might accidentally touch me. And for a long time, any touch from someone I didn’t know very well was BAD.
Slowly I’ve learned to trust my instincts again. And as that has happened, I’ve been able to hug friends and even tolerate hugs from well-meaning near strangers. I’ve been able to go into crowds without a paralyzing fear of someone accidentally touching me.
And how does that play into going home to go big? I got a new tattoo last weekend. A good sized one, compared to my others. One that required the artist to be behind my back and in my personal space for a long period of time. And the tattoo I wanted was something meaningful to me. Maybe it’s a little much, but I went back to my hometown, back to my roots to get this tattoo. I sought the best tattoo artist I know, someone I’ve known a good portion of my life. Someone I can trust, not just with this steeped-in-meaning piece of art, but also to be close to me and actually touch me. For me, receiving this tattoo was a sort of intimacy; a big step in healing. The art is a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings. And as the ink heals, the skin is shed, and the beauty of the art revealed; so I hope I too am remade, reborn, and rendered better than before.