Several years ago–one of my first blog posts, actually–I wrote “Why I am a Free-Hugger”. Some people were a bit mystified as to what it was about or what I was doing, even as an introvert. It was a way to give people a chance to chat or have a good moment in a busy day, or a hug if they really needed it.
As far as what I felt at the time, I’ll let you read that old post to get the gist of it. My feelings day by day were not consistent.
And now we’re at today, with Coronavirus and social distancing and people not sure what the hell is going on. We’re even more divided and volatile than we were back then (and I naively thought it couldn’t get that much worse as I wrote that post). Maybe it’s where I’m at, but either people are just trying to take it a day at a time and get through it, or they’re complete assholes, trying to take everything off the shelf for themselves or do some price-gouging profiteering. Or worse, people making fun of those taking it seriously by doing really stupid shit like sneezing or licking things that others may pick up in the stores, as if to prove a point that people around them are overreacting and won’t get sick.
I have to ask: even if it was some kind of overreaction, when you know people are dying, IN WHAT UNIVERSE WOULD DOING THAT BE OKAY???!!!
Something’s wrong with the middle ground, and I can’t put my finger on it.
I still never finished that free-hugs sign I was gonna make to replace the one I carried around with me to Starbucks and other hangout spots (my original’s been in the garbage for years, too bent up and water damaged to keep any longer). It’s sitting in my art closet, waiting for me to get the paints out and finish the job.
Dad died and I was dealing with that, packing, living in my garage, moving, unpacking, working too much, and of course no access to my paints and canvas for many months. Then I was so busy I rarely had a chance to hang out. Then I was sick with flu so often or at home sleeping (thanks a bunch, migraines or anemia). And for a while there, I was so in the dumps I wondered “what’s the point?”
Then #metoo. I knew if I had that sign out, it wouldn’t take long for the idiots who like to start shit in public to use it as a bad joke to bitch about fake sexual harassment claims and mockingly claim everybody needs a sign to give permission for anything. I remember the crap posted by my butt-hurt guy friends on Facebook during that time, and can only imagine what other guys were gonna say or do–ugh. So, the sign canvas went away for another year.
And now here we are with a pandemic, and hugging is really not the best idea.
I want to have something to take out with me to generate good vibes when some semblance of public normalcy comes back (as in, we can hang out in public places again instead of at home). I’m just wondering if I’ll have to give up the hugs thing for good and try something else.
Maybe that can be a backup. If somebody wants to hug (when all this is done), I can put that somewhere small. What I really want to do is just have it say something like, “Hello, human. Have a nice day.” or whatever because I’m an odd little turd.
I’m so used to being alone as it is that hugs just feel weird again to me, anyway, and my introversion has come back full force. I’m trying to knock it down a smidge, because when I have to be out and about, I’m afraid I’ll give off a vibe that screams “cheerleader on Red Bull”.
I have verbal diarrhea when I’m around strangers, I can’t help it. I’d rather be more comfortable in my own skin or comfortable with silence when in a room full of people. Dunno why I feel like every moment around others must be full of talking. Perhaps it’s because living at home with someone that acted 80% mute just made it seem like the rest of the world was gabbing away a lot more than it actually was.
I always have this weird, driving need to make other people feel good. Don’t know why. But even if it’s something stupid to make people chuckle, I’m generally for it, usually without thinking. A sign propped up, bright and colorful, telling people to have a good day feels like something damned near useless, and yet not at the same time.
I can’t describe it, because I know I could do more, but then again, not right now as things go on this way. I don’t wanna be a walking Deepak Chopra quote-bag (I hate his quotes, anyway–sounds like double-talk that’s generic as hell). But I do wanna do something, even if not tactile because of where we are.
Even though I’d probably get shit for it if found out, I wouldn’t mind making a sign for work to put in the window, at least for a little while, just to maybe help people out a bit. Then I’d take it home and use it another day. I’m practically twitching with this useless feeling every day, and it hurts deep down. My empathy meter’s in the shit because I feel like I can’t really do much of anything. It just doesn’t sit well with me not to try, even if much of the time my introversion doesn’t let me do much, anyway.
I have to be careful, though, and acknowledge that as this virus does it’s thing, because as a prediabetic, I’m sure I have some risk factors, and as someone who’s anemic and already not getting enough oxygen throughout my body, which leaves me tired all the time… yeah, something that would FURTHER deplete oxygen is really a bad thing to be around.
Speaking of which, I’ll have to ponder this all some more. There’s a storm coming, and it’s a good cool time to take the dogs out and let them play while I have another coffee and read a book for a little while… since, you know, social distancing and all…
Be well, peoples, be well.
3 thoughts on “I used to be a free-hugger, now I’m not so sure I can go back to it…”
This was one of your best written posts to date. Sorry it took me so long to get to it. I’m putting in 12 hours a day (including weekends) trying to teach on line. Sigh….
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Don’t wear yourself out, teach. Walk in the yard a bit, get a cup of tea, be well.
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