I don’t feel loved if you don’t touch me. I don’t know if that’s normal or not, but it’s true. I read a Psychology Today article about bonding — about how romantic bonding has the same fundamentals as infant/parent bonding. I hadn’t thought that through for myself.
Because if you’re touching me and I’m not touching you, I may not realize that you’re touching me. One of the things they encourage fathers to do when they’re feeding infants is take off their shirts so that the child is against their skin, as the child would be during breastfeeding. There is no substitute for touch. For skin contact. I have let you this close because you are safe with me. You are this close because I am safe with you.
It’s innate, but I don’t think it’s obvious. I can spin right out of my body if I forget to touch. If I forget to be still and concentrate on Mary’s ears, on the line down her neck. I love you this much. I can trace how much I love you on the path of your body. I love you like lines of text. Like lengths of breath. I love you like the warmth of your back.
People who live too much in their heads can forget they have bodies. I don’t have that problem. But I may forget that you have one. That it is sore sometimes. And hungry. I may forget that my happiness and your body live in correlation. This is what illness has taught me. You don’t have much for long. Touch. Reach out. Not to hold on, but to feel.
We make much of our sensitivities. To lactose, to gluten, to light and noise, to stimulation of every variety. I think sometimes we think of these things as weaknesses instead of another way to notice.