Good touch protects for a lifetime

He gave her a hug. It was a warm embrace. She held her breath. Her body froze like an animal trapped. It didn’t last long, heaven thanks. And then, she offered him tea, mechanically removing crumbs off the kitchen counter. He sat down casually browsing through yesterday’s newspaper. As if nothing happened. As if there was nothing to talk about. Nobody noticed. There’s no one to witness.

Invisible traces

Her body carries a history of touch. A touch that took without asking. A touch that did not hear her no. A touch that did not see her. A touch she did not want to feel.
She is not a victim of molesting, just of an ordinary childhood.
Invisible traces mark her skin. Traces of touch that was insensitive. Of touch that was mechanical. Of touch that was impatient. Of touch that was inattentive. Of touch that punished…

Growing up, she got to know touch that expects. A touch that insists, that demands. A touch that heads for the goal.
That’s just how things are, how men are, she heard from her mother, her aunt, her friend. You have to get used to it.

When you cannot protect yourself, it’s best to just stop feeling.
Her body, wild and awake, couched inside, closed up.
And her? – she stopped noticing. That she holds her breath. That she tightens up. Grits her teeth and shuts her eyes. That she spaces out, far far away, enduring.  As if someone switched off the light. Nobody is home. Nobody to say no. Nobody to say yes.

Touch. Our basic need. Children who are not touched, die. Adults too. Inside.
A touch that asks for permission. A touch that is attentive. A tender, attuned touch that feels into the other. Good touch…

Touch me, please

I’m learning to be touched. A touch of a shawl caressing my face, the smoothness of a stone under my fingers, waves wash over my bare feet, wind breathes my hair …

I’m learning to be touched. To trust the tenderness of a good touch. Love enchanted between the fingertips and the skin. The one touched, touches. The one touching, is touched.
Who is this touch for?
For me? – I check, I accept. Or not.
For you? – I check, I allow. Or not.
For me? – fascinated, I examine the shape of your skin.
For you? – how do you want me to touch you? *

I’m learning to say yes. Yes, that’s nice. Yes, that’s pleasant.
I’m learning to say no. Not this way. Not now. My No. I rest in it, like in a comfortable armchair, the wilderness curled up in my lap, breathing. Deeply.

Good touch heals

From the space in-between the breaths, a tip of the nose peaks out, black shiny eyes glance curiously.
We get familiar with each other. We take time.
Yes? Yes.
A warm embrace. Your hand in mine.
Yes? Yes.
Like children, completely immersed in the moment. We are not heading anywhere. We do not expect anything.
Yes? Yes. It’s only here and now. And your touch on my skin. Lost between the breaths. I am. Lost between the breaths. You are. We are.

Good touch heals. It opens up. It loves. It teaches about love. It does not expect. It does not go anywhere. It just is.

Moving faster and slowing down. It feels, it tastes, it explores. Careful, attentive, relaxed.
Like a cat on a walk in the spring sun, on a meadow full of scents and flavours. Stretching with the joy of life. Its warm fur sparkling in the sun.

Sensual intimacy of lovers.
Tender caresses of friends.

A touch that asks for permission. A touch that is attentive. A tender, attuned touch that feels into the other. Good touch…

Touching your children

Mom, give me a hug! Mom, can you massage me?
She touches her children. She learns about them and they learn about themselves. Today firmer. Today, gently. Today feet. Today back. Today, yes. Not today.
They talk. About the body, about boundaries, about the pleasure of being touched, about the pleasure of touching, about love, about intimacy.

Safe, good touch, protects for a lifetime.

* Based on Wheel of Consent, Betty Martin.

Photo: Maryline Capdaspe z Pixabay