Saturday, July 08, 2006


What exactly constitutes safe? The importance of it is ridiculous. I think thats why hugs feel so good. When someone is hugging you, you feel like you are just engulfed. For that moment, nothing can happen to you. Your are protected, loved, cared for and safe.

My first recollection of that feeling was in the first grade. My mom was dropping me off at school. I had to go get in line and wait for the teacher. I used to hate that moment. The one before I left my mom in the mornings. I was pretty much the dork/nerdy/unaccepted kid until I had full command of my accent years later. I remember it was a pretty brisk but bright morning. The big bad world waiting to teach me lessons about childhood and cruelty on one side, my mom and her warmth on the other, with a chain link fence straddling the middle. I would feel tears start to well in my eyes but even at 7 I knew how much it hurt my mom to see me hurt, so I kept my mouth shut. Then two large arms wrapping fully and lovingly around my small body. The hugs lasted forever. I felt so wonderful and solid in those moments. It was almost painful to let go.

17 years later, I'm a big hugger. Usually when people meet me I'll offer the akward "oh you're a hugger!" hug. You see I feel like the most doubtful person still wants it. They want to be embraced. They fear what its like to receive love like that and the emotions that get stirred in them when they do. But I offer it because at base, we all want to feel that acceptance. No matter what our scarred brains and hearts do to us after. I like giving it. I like receiving it. I think its healthy.

I write about all this because I'm delaying writing about last night. I went out to Blondies again and I knew full well that cute boy from last week would not be my dance partner again. However, the sketchness of the people was argh-worthy. I was denying sketchy men dances and saying the word no, more then is ever really comfortable in one night. I found myself feeling unsafe. Wanting so bad for my mom or someone (preferrably bigger and manly) to give me a hug and encourage the rest of the sketch-masters to go away. But I don't have anyone big and manly here, I don't have my mom here either. Then the flashbacks started. The flashbacks aren't necessarily a surprise. I mean I have them pretty frequently. More then anyone would know. I usually am able to bring myself back to where I am. Tell myself that I am safe. Encourage myself to move past it. But last night when I popped myself out of the flashbacks, I wasn't safe. I had men around me who would not take no for an answer. A situation which was unbelievably traumatizing for me just one year ago. I folded. I mean I totally caved into myself. I started strong saying no, putting my hand in their faces, pushing them away but before I knew it I just was unable to move.

Bola asked me if I was okay, I said no, I said I needed to go. She grabbed my hand and pulled me out, Bern and Bibi close behind us. I proceeded to shut myself down and when on the comfort of my couch, I fell apart. I wanted so bad to feel safe. It's crazy how you can feel unsafe in your own brain. But there I was on my couch, feeling unsafe in my brain and wanting to have my mom's arms wrapped around me. I know in a very logical part of my brain that I shouldn't feel like an asshole for last night. Just like I know I shouldn't feel like an asshole for other decisions I am starting to make for myself. But it's hard. How do you learn the difference between self-care giver and asshole/flake? I don't know right now. I just want safe. The last time I feel like I knew without a shadow of a doubt what that was, I was a kid.

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