Not a Normal Response

So, this will be a pictureless post, because I really just feel a need to talk about something, and there is no picture for it, but I need to get it out of here, here being my mind. Because, as my friend Jenn posted on facebook today:

Tell your story. Your story will heal you, and your story will heal someone else. – Iyanla Vanzant

I’ve shared with you what happened between my ex and I that led to our divorce. I have shared a bit about both my dads with you all. I think I probably haven’t ever shared that my first husband and I went toe to toe several times to a draw. And maybe these are things that have some bearing on this other stuff that I need to say. And maybe they don’t, but I think maybe some of them do, and I am not sure which ones and how much, but I am almost certain it is greatly on the first, somewhat on the second and mostly none at all on the third.

So, here is today’s story. I worked this morning for a couple of hours, and in between the watering and the credit card processing, I needed to re-bag some busted sacks of soil and such. They are quite heavy and so one of my male co-workers was sent out to help me. Now, this is a guy that I have worked with for awhile, we get along fine, and laugh and joke, shoot the poop about work, exchange friendly banter and so on. I wouldn’t call him a friend per se, because we’ve never seen each other outside of work or anything like that, but we do have more than a passing acquaintance.

We were working fairly closely together because of the nature of the task, and at some point he wanted to go around me, and he put his hand in the small of my back, just like I do to people I pass close to– that touch you do that says “hold up, I’m moving right behind you”. You know the one I am talking about? Nothing to it, right? I do it myself all the time. Except that when he did it, it was ….. not right. I know that he meant nothing by it, and I knew it then, and yet my internal alarms went off and I felt …… dirty somehow. Even as I realized my response was completely inappropriate to the situation, it squeebed me out.

Is this where I am supposed to confess that I have just now gotten back to the point that I can hug any of my kids except the youngest two without willing myself to do it and steeling myself for it? And that I can name on one hand the men who I can accept touch from? I can, you know, and have fingers left: one cousin, That One and Guitar Guy. All other male persons, even family members, make me uncomfortable to one degree or another. I can do it, usually, but I try to avoid it, and when it is unavoidable, I make it as quick as possible.

I mean, I absolutely know I have trust issues. And I know I have personal space issues. I just didn’t realize until today the ramifications of the two joined together. Because really? What happened today should not have made the hackles on the back of my neck stand up, and it certainly should not be bothering me these several hours later, and yet it is.

And I am sitting here thinking, because I want to understand this thing. When I do that where do I touch people? Mama, shoulder. Kids, shoulder or top of head. Female coworkers, just put a hand out so they bump into it if they move too far. Male coworker, never get that close. Guitar Guy, middle of the back. That One, any non-erogenous zone.

I mean, the more I think about it, that seems like a very intimate gesture, because of the location. I will say that of the three men I named, I think all of them have touched me there, in much the same circumstance but never has someone I didn’t know very well done it. So, was what happened today normal in the context, or was it not? And if I wasn’t dealing with all this other baggage, would I really have to write 800 words to try to figure out something that I feel like I ought to know the answer to?

You know, I used to touch people. I used to touch people all the time. And I used to not avoid being touched myself. Is this just the way it is for me now? And how long is now going to last?

3 thoughts on “Not a Normal Response

  1. No, I said “both”, so I agree this is a very long term thing recently brought to a head. And btw, you should have seen me jump around when someone touched me today that I didn’t even know was behind me!

    Did you have a particular event in mind, or did you just mean the whole messed up mess of say 5-9 years old?

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