For the longest time, I enforced a no-touch policy against men. The policy, no doubt unfriendly kept approaching men at a safe distance. Humans who interacted with me knew enough not to touch me and as all insecure policies go, I admit, it was myopic. The teenaged me had neither the brawn nor the brain, for self defence or well thought out reactions.
Humans within my personal space induced a chain of skin crawls. Touch to me was always threatening. ‘Is this person feeling me up?’— a consistently invasive doubt. What saddens me most is to look back and remember squirming out of my mother’s embrace. My own mother! Large scale misattribution had made me an unwilling recipient of all kinds of touch.
Trauma tears through compartments, and I had lost the ability to compartmentalise. But life has beautiful ways of working with hormones. Where men had made me averse to touch, a puppy— my own— is my first remembrance of the beauty of touch. An oxytocin upsurge. Thence began the widening of my sensory world.
The widening had not yet cancelled out the need for the no-touch policy. I still believed that if I gave the man a small friendly leeway to touch, he would take it all the way. And I was not prepared to deal with that lack of control. Fist balls were hard enough to make.
Years later, one Sunday morning, unafraid, I was moved by the spirit. Defenceless, I looked on with an open gaze at the beauty of touch.
And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” -Mark 8:23
That was the day I heard my skin ask for more soul. I wanted to touch and be touched. I witnessed a silent awakening, a progression into my skin and soul. Finding strength in my vulnerability, I taught myself to embrace and receive embraces.
Men may think that they are powerful. Men may make happening happen. But we happen to love. That is our greatest action. To all those men who we fear, who have had the balls to defile the beauty of touch for us, there can be no greater sacrilege.
I saw. I loved. You touched.
Touch Me Not.
(Inspired by ‘The Valley Of Its Making’ by Nate Marshall)