I think it might have been in college that I first realized I have a problem with physical touch. Really what I mean by this is I’m not totally aware of my strength at times (typically during excitement) and I’ve recently realized that I lack a filter in other situations. Please read on…
My freshman and sophomore years of college, you could find me at the end of the bench (well, that was my location most of my career). With nobody on either side (somebody can vouge for this…any former Lady Eagles out there?). Reason being, when a call was made or a sweet play was completed, I would jump up and hit the person next to me screaming, “DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!”. I was usually greeted by the same reply, “We’re watching the same game, Karolyn. Yes, I saw that. Stop hitting me.”
However, it’s not always acts of violence that get me in trouble. I really love hugging. Although physical touch isn’t necessarily one of my ‘love languages’ (words of affirmation and quality time, for those of you wondering), it definitely appears to be how I show love. It wasn’t until this summer that I discovered the “Attack Hug Strategy” and my, oh my, is it a gem! Raleigh is really a trooper when receiving these hugs – she tends to just relax and go with the flow (I’d love to see one of our hugs in slow motion). The strategy has really come a long way over the past few months and many people have been able to experience this fully-enveloping expression of love. Unfortunately, it has caused minor injuries to two people (Sorry, Aunt Kathy and Steph). Through much practice, I’ve found that the best way to implement the strategy is to people who are totally oblivious, i.e. looking the other direction, engaged in conversation, lost in thought, etc. You just sneak up on them and BAM! they never know what hit them. I think I’m also really good at this because I’m so darn tall…people really can’t resist it (although, you can watch a video on facebook of different strategies you can attempt). Kristen has gotten really good at these strategies because she hates the attack hugs so much. Poor girl doesn’t know what she’s missing.
It wasn’t until we moved down here to San Diego that I realized the extent my hugging had gone. Before FCA camp, I had given J-Jax’s dad a hug. He resisted a little, but finally gave in and gave a little squeeze and called it a day. Upon returning home from camp (where the AHS was discovered), he was one of the first non-FCA people to experience the Attack Hug. His response was something along the lines of having whiplash (this was quickly turned into a marketing strategy for my massage therapy business). A few months later, Jamie’s parents drove down to San Diego and her dad donned a hand-made shirt that read, “DO NOT HUG!”. Clearly, this shirt was directed towards me – the poor guy had gotten up before day break to find Jamie’s old stencils and make this shirt! However, I should also add that in our end-of-the-semester letters, my hugs did get the most positive responses on my paper.
The real kicker comes in last weekend, when the idea for this blog started bouncing around in my mind. A few friends were in town and we were walking back from the carnival on Jamie’s birthday. We came upon a ‘situation’ (one where police and fire department had to be involved…it all turned out okay, so no need to worry). As we were wrapping up, five of us stood in a circle: A police officer, Jojo, Myself, Steph, and Bekah (in that order if you can get a mental image. The police was pretty much directed across from me). At some point in the conversation, Mr. Police said something smart aleky (is that a word?) or something, I really don’t remember what…but I do remember that in my mind, it seemed appropriate to reach entirely across our circle and give the officer a friendly little ‘nudge’ – well, this nudge caused him to take a step back before resuming his position and continuing in the conversation. While it wasn’t until later when I was recounting the story and J-Jax helped me realize that I could have been charged with assault of a police officer that I realized I clearly have a filter problem. What made me think it was okay to make any sort of physical contact with a police officer at all?! Who do I think I am?! Thankfully, we’d been talking for a few minutes so I think he kind of understood my personality and he didn’t say anything. Thank goodness!
Anyways, I’m not really sure the point of this blog or what my next steps are. Perhaps there is some sort of 12-step program I can do for forming more appropriate physical boundaries. Until then, I’ll continue to amuse myself and show God’s love to others through my hugs 🙂
(And, on an unrelated, but amusing note…I received a myspace message from a former Gompers Student (not even one of my own)…in his letter he was explaining who he was and then proceeded to mention one of his memories. And I quote (with some grammatical corrections): “i was there when u was going in side of her class with ur bike,do u remember”. He was referring to one of the times I had my students open the door in between classrooms and I proceeded to ride my bike through my neighbor’s class in the middle of her lesson. It’s moments like that when I miss teaching.)