This post was written (apparently) a year ago. (Thanks again, Tumblr for that oh-so-accurate date). I remember thinking about writing this on my way back from this particular event and how I could make it sound interesting enough to become a blog post. For me now, it’s still fairly interesting, because it told me a lot about who I was (am) as a person. Also probably because I’m a lil’ self centered and find myself kinda fascinating. But enough about me…
“This previous weekend, I had the joy of meeting my step-mother’s side of the family, most of them for the first time. We traveled for at least three hours north of the country to visit for her (cousin? nephew?)’s birthday, and there’s nothing wrong with that. She lives in another region of the United Kingdom, she has to see her family at some point, it’s only fair.
I will not pretend that I was not dreading this family get-together. As an anxious, paranoid and downright pessimistic person, I expected the worst. Thankfully, I didn’t get the worst, only mildly crappy with just a hint of social anxiety thrown in. It could have gone far worse, suffice to say.
But it wasn’t the talking to strangers part or feeling judged that provoked the amount of thought that should of in this instance. Only on the way home at eleven o’clock at night in the back of the car whilst blaring sad music like the angsty teenager I am did it strike me that it wasn’t the family as a whole that had me thrown off balance (and they were quite a jovial bunch)… it was their hugs.
The Cawleys (and I had hoped to be creative enough to forge a surname out of the blue as to avoid any name-calling but as it is, I am not so the most I have done is changed on letter.) were fascinating creatures. Their hugs were real, no cheap, knock-off ‘yeah thanks, cheers, goodnight’ things. They were honest and genuine specimens of a kind I had never encountered before, something I had never bee used to from my family history of courtesy, where you would only hug a lost-lost relative out of pure politeness. It was alien to me, something I’d never seen or needed to learn, to master. Maybe that was why I was so terrible at it.
Don’t get me wrong, I can hug just as well as anyone else, but being comfortable with strangers and physical contact was never something that had come easy to me. So when these brand-new “family” members, who I had never met before, instead of patting me lightly on the back, or giving a chaste peck on the cheek as a goodbye, actually squeezed me into a back-bending hug and smacked my cheek with the most lip-sticky kiss I’d ever received; it shocked my system.
Is this something I need to work on, comfortable contact with almost-strangers, or is this a safe way of being? Surely this reaction to unwanted touching is a safety mechanism that should be encouraged, not forced into being eradicated? Who knows.”
And there you have it, folks. More weird rambling that 15 year old me was just dying to get out into the world. Interesting though, right?
Eh well, least I entertain myself.