The Power Of A Hug

Posted: 12/10/2012 by Glitzy in Human Experience
Tags: , , ,

I find that in today’s society we often hug only for a purpose. To say “hello”, “goodbye”, “I’m sorry”, “I love you”, to commiserate, to support, in protest or a million other reasons. But what we do not do is hug for the joy of hugging. Very rarely does one person wrap another in their arms and hug them simply to share human contact.

Sometimes however, it does happen, and often when you least expect it….

It seemed a day like any other. A crack-of-dawn early morning rush to a work refresher course I had forgotten about, a little rain, and a bitch out of my boss that ended with me surprising myself by popping out of my sequined louvred closet door at him. Then off to meet up with our fabulous Reverend Mother and our wonderful Paladin to spend World Aids day in true SPI style…hugging strangers, spreading joy, and generally doing things differently.

And by god, “differently” turned out to be a lot different than I expected.

Now most people handing out free hugs in a metro station do it, congratulate themselves for completing their mission, and go home. But as with many things in my life, while I was expecting one thing, something entirely other happened.

Someone really hugged me.

I didn’t think anything of it when I opened my arms and smiled at the woman walking down the concourse. “Do you want a hug?” I asked. Her reaction was astonishing. Her face split into the biggest grin imaginable, she nodded and then dropped her shoulders and set her feet. As I quickly processed her reaction and realized what was about to happen, she took off like a bullet train heading right for me. At the last second she leaped, arms outstretched and landed right in my arms, legs wrapped around my waist, head tucked into my shoulder. Still slightly astonished at the utter innocence and joy of it all, I gave her a big hug and then gently set her back on her feet. “Thank you” she said, smiling up at me. My face hurt from smiling so widely, “No thank you!” I replied “You give the greatest hugs I’ve ever had!” She grinned widely at this and walked off down the concourse as if nothing unusual had happened.

But what she didn’t know, was that this one hug would completely change my entire week to come. What she didn’t know was that, moments before, someone had refused a hug by waving his hands at us and saying “no aids, I don’t want aids”. What she didn’t know was that as a trans person, human contact is often awkward or conditional, not freely given. What she didn’t know, was that with one hug she changed me as a person and as a postulant. What she didn’t know was the powerful lesson she taught me in that one moment, a lesson about staring your differences in the face and living your authentic life, without candor or fear, showing the world the love it denies you and not taking a single moment forgranted

You see, the one person who truly hugged me on World Aids Day was born with Down’s Syndome.

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