From the Drafts: On Being {over}Touched

I’ve made some promises I intend to keep, and one of those is to some friends who insist I get back into writing, and ideally sharing, on my blog. While I work towards that, I’ve decided to publish a few of the 145 drafts currently sitting in an orderly queue. I wrote this in February 2014.

Things are, of course, different then than they are now. Things have changed with me, with my body, with my marriage, with my children. But when I read this I can remember exactly how I felt when I wrote it. I thought about adding some things, making a proper ending, changing a few words. But current me can’t speak for the me that existed back then. So I’m publishing it as she wrote it. 

The other night I lay in my bed. Dave was out of town. V was tucked safely in her own room. O snoozed peacefully in her bassinet beside me. And I just lay there. On my back, arms and legs stretched out. And I just felt relief. Asked at that moment I would have said I never wanted to be touched again.

Of course that isn’t what I really want. And it isn’t possible.

I have a toddler who needs my touch. Needs a hug, needs help with a button, needs a hand to hold, a back to ride on, a leg to cling to.  Someone to stroke her hair and carry her when she is tired. She needs feet to stand on when she dances and a hand to hold the Kleenex when she blows. At 3 she is learning about privacy and autonomy, but she still feels she has rights to be on my body when she feels she needs it. The line between her body and my body is blurry in her mind.

I have a baby that needs my touch. My arms to hold her, my breast to drink from, my neck to nuzzle. To be carried by me and rocked by me and bathed by me. She needs me to clothe her and comfort her and fulfill all her needs. She is 3 months and she knows nothing about privacy or autonomy, my body is what keeps her alive. The line between her body and my body doesn’t exist.

I have a husband that needs my touch. Needs his back scratched and a shoulder to lean on and arms to hold him. He can dress himself and bathe himself and rock himself to sleep, but he still enters my space as a part of our daily life. He respects my privacy and my autonomy but wants my touch as much as I will give it.

All these things seem simple enough. A toddler who needs a hug. A baby who needs milk. A husband who needs a hand to hold. And it is simple, in some ways, but can feel quite complicated. The physical needs of those who love me are real and logical and I want to want to fulfill them. And I want to be free of them. Both the needs exist together, not only simultaneously but symbiotically. Without one, the other would not exist.

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