I am not a hugger.
I wish I was.
Of course, this isn't a blanket rule for me. I would hug and cuddle my kids all day long if I could. I hug Dustin (usually willingly) and when I moved away from home I started hugging my family when we said "hello" or "goodbye".
But as for everyone else...let's just say it isn't my first instinct to hug someone at the first flood of gratitude, or love, or even sadness. In fact, I've been known to stress out in certain situations over how others feel about the fact that I just can't bring myself to physically touch them when they are grieving.
I'm not a germaphobe - actually quite the opposite. (I don't think a germaphobe would share water glasses with a two year old or eat food that has fallen onto the ground in public places - both of which I am guilty of.)
I'm not scared of people not wanting me to hug them. If I'm honest, I'm more scared of them wanting me to.
I don't really know why I'm like that, but I'm pretty certain I've been this way since I was a toddler. My parents didn't hold back affections from me, and all my life I've been surrounded by friends that LOVE hugging. In fact, I'm married to a man that would be surgically attached to me in a hugging position if I would just sign off on the forms.
I've tolerated it, and even appreciated it for what it is. Yet some would joke that they can feel me physically cringe when they hug me.
I'm a master of the half-hug, and I'll sign on to a group hug any chance I get. But the full-on embrace?
I guess it's just not my love language - ya know?
But that isn't an option here.
Let me just say that our Mondays start out here with "Happy Mondays", which involve going around the room and hugging everyone in it while saying "Happy Monday." And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. You are safe from no one. And safe side-hugs are prohibited. People here time their hugs in seconds rather than milliseconds. They belong to the "wrap your arms around them while rubbing their back and squeezing tight" camp, instead of the "stiff back-patting" camp I've bought into.
And every week gets easier.
And I think I might, by the end of these two years, become a hugger.
A real life, "put your sandwich down and give me a hug" hugger.
Because if you allow it to, it does feel good. And good things don't just grow on trees. We are responsible for bringing them into our lives, and allowing them to flourish.
So hide your women, children, cats, and dogs.....because no one is safe from what is sure to become my signature embrace.