Couple embraces in the woods

My husband came home from a work trip last week. He hadn’t been away long, but when he returned, he brought me a bouquet of flowers and greeted me with a big- wrap-your-arms-around-me-tight kind of hug. He had missed me too!

As my head rested on his chest, I realized that his arms were truly wrapped around me. We were facing and his left arm went around my right side, across my back, and rested on my left side, with his fingers pointing towards him! His right arm wrapped around me in the opposite direction. All the way around me! Both of his arms were wrapped completely around me. My arms were on his shoulders and my hands around his neck, and I felt completely wrapped up in his embrace. 

I took a breath and realized that before I had lost 120 lbs (54 kg) he could not hold me like that. When I was obese, his hands would have rested on the sides closes to them and not wrapped around my back at all. In fact, his hands would have rested just above my waist on that area where back fat hangs because that’s what he could reach.

In the past I remember cringing every time he touched me there. He felt me cringe, but I don’t know that he knew that I was cringing because of ME. Was it repulsive to him? I worried about that when other people hugged me too. If they touched my arm, did it feel jiggly? More than once after someone hugging me, I would reach to touch the same part of me that they touched—back, arm, waist—and wonder what they felt. Was it as bad as I feared?

Quantum physics insists that we can never really touch anyone else, nor they us. It all has to do with the structure of an atom, electrons, neutrons and electromagnetic fields, but regardless of what those physicists say, we perceive touch. A hug or a touch is one of the few ways in which we connect with others emotionally in a way that shows care and consideration for the other. A hug should convey warmth and support. Hugs were meant to reassure us and to share joy.

There I was, for all those years, cringing and worrying about whether others were disgusted by touching me. I could not enjoy their embrace because I found myself unembraceable. I did not want to be touched and rejected. I was so overly focused on worrying about what they felt of me, that I could not accept the warmth and love that they wanted to convey to me. I was untouchable in ways that had nothing to do with the laws of physics.

After a lifetime and losing so much weight, I no longer cringe when my husband, or anyone else, hugs me. I don’t stop to wonder and worry whether they are put off by my fat rolls. While I’m not buff or muscular, and I surely have more body fat than I’d like to have, I can touch and be touched. In fact, I can be embraced, and it feels amazing!

Kristie Sullivan


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