On the first night…

2020 has been one hell of a year. I’d like to forget most of the last nine months, but as I look back, I can begrudgingly admit that I have learned that I am stronger than I feel sometimes. On this first night of Hanukkah, I want to acknowledge a recent discovery about myself, which feels both deeply uncomfortable and very right to share.

I’m not a touchy-feely person. My mom is not much of a hugger and neither was my grandma, so that explains some of my hesitation. The other explanation is that I’m a sexual assault survivor and I have to really know and trust the person before they’re allowed to hug me. It’s a running joke amongst my friends that if I offer you a spontaneous hug, you better take advantage because it may never happen again. I simply have never been one to totally trust anyone, not with my deepest secrets and certainly not with touching me. I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable over the past five years, but the “trusting people” thing is still a work in progress.

My aversion to touch probably has a lot to do with me not wanting to make myself vulnerable. As I am fond of telling my friends, my heart is frozen, black, and rotten. But this year has required me to be more open in the emotional sense. I’ve learned just how much I actually need to be around people and how important it is that I have friends to really lean on, people that I feel comfortable enough with to share things that I may not ever share with anyone else.

This is the first year that I can wholeheartedly say that there are people who I feel safe and secure with, meaning that when I’m with them, I don’t have to put on a facade or code switch, I can just be myself. I can also say that I leaned hard on my instincts, took a gigantic leap of faith, and trusted someone almost immediately and I wasn’t disappointed or let down. For someone who has mastered the art of crafting many personas to use in different situations, that’s an incredible feat. And who knows, maybe I’ll even get better at hugging people, post-Covid.

Chag Urim Sameach!

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