don’t touch me

I write this with internal defiance; it is something I have not talked about beyond a small circle of friends, something I have wrestled with internally for many years. But putting my feelings in words has always helped me sort out my psychological problems, and I hope it will now.

Honestly, I cannot remember when it started. I have always had sensitive senses; socks used to drive me to fits, mild salsa caused me to writhe in pain calling for water, and I could (and still can) hear the vibration of a cell phone from inside a purse from yards away and I can hear if an ipod is on when it is very far from my ear. The super sensitive hearing is my favorite;  useful and it makes me a very skillful eavesdropper. Then again, too much noise gives my brain an overload and I freak out. I have always been very, very ticklish as well. But plenty of people are like that, right?

As I entered middle school, and especially high school, I noticed something. My peers seemed to need touch to verify their surroundings; sitting on each others laps, hugging, holding hands, linking arms, and just leaning on each others shoulders. Typical touchy-feely teenage stuff. But this stuff made me feel uncomfortable, not just in the emotional sense, but physically. Normal, everyday touch made me jump away in pain or shock. And it seemed to grow, or maybe I just noticed it more. I hate social dancing, the closeness and the bumping and the touching of the hips. I cannot do it.

I HATE hugs. I don’t want to seem rude when I see people I haven’t seen in a while or when I leave places, but I try and avoid hugs at all costs. When I do hug, I find it uncomfortable and empty. I will very, very rarely hug even my best friends. I keep telling myself that when I find the right person for me, I will no longer shrink away. But I’m beginning to doubt that; I don’t even like touching my best friends, people who I’ve known forever, people who see me run around in my underwear all the time. I don’t know where this stems from and I don’t know how to fix it. To add onto this, being thrown into a new social setting has caused me to experience social anxiety attacks. It has happened three times during school, and made me feel small and empty and crazed and filled with thoughts in my brain and very very warm.

I only hope that one day this will sort itself out and everything will make sense.


2 responses to “don’t touch me

  1. Well since you’re not antisocial and you’re not asexual, it’s probably just the fact that you’re in that horrible age bracket that is like baby hatchling sea turtles. When some people come out of it OK, it’s a phenomenal surprise. And you will come out of it.

    But not everybody likes being touched. I don’t personally care so much, being…you know, largely unable to think in sexual terms (“OH! You had a CRUSH on me? Is that why you were following me around like a duckling for the past four months? Hey, can I survey you to find out what that’s even like?”)

    Um…basically, just be glad you’re not asexual. Honestly, they call straight orientations “conventional” for a reason. It’s relatively unfortunate being anything else, especially asexual. Or just infatuated with one person.

  2. Brenna first off I would like to say THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. I love you and respect you and am really sorry that I haven’t read/commented on this topic earlier. Remember when we where talking about this In DC, well I think I could have given you better advice if I had read this before then.

    The way you describe finding the perfect guy and being able to touch him and feel comfortable doing that. Well I think your perfect guy would be one who does not feel the need to touch in order to be intimate. But I feel like that guy would be open to you touching him and I think that at one point you would want to once your relationship became more complex. Don’t try and compare a relationship like that to one with friends. Though there are similarities between them if you really LOVE someone the mentality will be different and therefore how you act and interact with them is going to be different.

    So touch is not appealing to you, big deal! It may make situations difficult for you and some people may not be able to understand it, like me at one point, but it is nothing strange and it definitely not bad. It is simply part of who you are and it makes the experience of being touched by you voluntarily even more enjoyable for those of us who desire touch.

    But I’ll go back to a more pressing topic. I’m proud that in your post you did not express a feeling of shame when talking about your heightened senses. On the contrary you even expressed a feeling of pride about them, which is fantabulous! However, one thing about what you wrote did worry me you conveyed the sense that you think of your difference as an abnormality. That is a perfectly reasonable conclusion for you to make, especially since it excludes you from some “common High School practices” and occasionally causes you sever discomfort (like contact with the seam of socks and clothing tags), despite this however it is not the right conclusion to arrive at. I don’t want you to “settle” with how you are I want you to appreciate yourself. Your heightened senses make you special because you are more complex than others, this may be burdensome but it is not something so sever that it should be taken away from you! This is part of you and there are so many people who accept you despite this you don’t need to worry about changing it.

    And now to address your anxiety. Your anxiety is not an effect of your over sensitivity but of your discomfort with your situation. So you are not the kind of person who can be thrown into large social situations where you don’t know any one, you and half the world. So it causes you sever discomfort and arises in you the desire to leave, you and half the population mentioned before. So it even causes you to fall into a full fledged anxiety attack, you and a hundred thousandth of that second mentioned population. It is not the end of the world, and likely a feeling that you will never again experience unless you are in a school setting. From what I know of you, you are fine in typical crowded settings but in a situation where social interaction seems mandatory you become uncomfortable. And you are not likely to have to look out among a sea of people and try to pick and choose a find among there anywhere else than in school. So although it may be problematic it is not something that you will have to deal with too much in the future. Relationships will occur and once you are done with school you will not feel pressured to make them.

    So there is my rant. I hope that it helps some. Just know that I love you the way you are and would not have you any other way, and I guarantee that there are many other people who do and will feel the same way (and yes that includes guys too ^-~).

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