The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

Not the bubble!

on January 2, 2012

I have a bubble.  Yes, a bubble.  This bubble surrounds my body, extending out by approximately two feet on every side.  It protects me from unwanted physical contact with people.  When I say people, I mean “all people”.  Unfortunately, people do not always respect the bubble.

Strangers sometimes bump into me.  In crowded places, I sometimes begin to get, ummm, stressed.  Holiday shopping is torture, to say the least.  And visiting a theme park that specializes in Christmas lights a mere week before Christmas–I thought I was going to start foaming at the mouth.  That is not unusual.

And then there’s family–my parents know about my “issues” and typically respect the bubble.  We hug in greeting and in farewell…but in between, there’s not a whole lot of physical contact unless I initiate it (or, unless they decide to be ornery).  My extended family hug only in farewell, as a part of our social norm.  But my grandmother…she smothers me with physical “affection”, or as I see it physical “assault”.  Patting, rubbing, hugging, tapping…argh.  There is no other way to respond.  I have to bite my tongue to stay on my best behavior!

Finally, there are friends.  My oldest friend is one with whom I have never shared much physical interaction.  Hugging is weird for us…we just never did it very much.  So, physical affection isn’t a big deal there.  Newer friends, though (and by “newer”, I mean that we’ve been friends for two and a half years to three years), have their own ideas about physical affection.  The two girls that I have lived with over the past couple of years love giving hugs.  But, this relationship could not have survived this long if they had not been familiarized with my bubble.  Most of the time, they respect the bubble.  We hug in greeting & farewell…and when I get a little drunk.  Beyond these three close friends, there are a few people who are aware of the bubble and abuse the knowledge.  Most others, though, have never approached me for a hug…

Until last night.  I met up with a friend of mine for dinner.  He graduated last year and I hadn’t seen him in a while.  We met up, chatted, ate.  And then, we were walking out to our cars.  We got to his.  I said “bye” and he started walking towards me like he was going to give me a hug.  I started to panic and backed away.  There was an awkward pause and he approached me again saying “Yeah, let’s give this a shot.”  And, he gave me a hug.  Oh.  Man.

I don’t know where my aversion to physical contact came from.  It has been there for years.  Supposedly when I was very young, I loved snuggling and hugging and cuddling.  So, what happened?  The bubble.

Ah man…there is a lot more to say about this bubble.  But, I think that it’s too much for one post.  I’m going to end this post right now and continue my thoughts about the bubble later.  It will all come together under the idea of “Lukewarm Waters”…I promise.

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