I am a tactile person. Or, if you prefer, touchy-feely. This is not to say I am a casual hugger. I don’t like when people think that because you’ve met you could be or should be friends that you surely will be and, so, a hug is in order. I don’t abide that sort of behavior. Though, that’s probably more a function of my definition of friend vs acquaintance than it is about whether or not I’m tactile.
I receive great pleasure in touch. I don’t mean sexual pleasure, although it is a bonus. It’s just that my tactile senses are hyper-aware, maybe. I’ve been scolded at more than one museum for touching the smooth, ancient marble of a sculpture – I just can’t contain myself. I MUST touch it. I experience things best through my sense of touch. And what better way to experience ancient art than to touch it?
As soon as I see a sign or hear a warning “Do Not Touch” I must. I need to know why. A waitress brings a plate and warns, “Don’t touch it, it’s super hot!” What is my reaction? I touch it to judge for myself, dammit. Of course I do.
I know that most people feel most deeply through their fingertips, but I adore using the palms of my hands. Maybe because they are used less often, so are more sensitive? Or maybe because when I use the palms of my hands I feel an emotional connection. And yes, I understand how odd that sounds. I might have an emotional connection to my table? Well, my table does a lot: It holds my coffee cup in the mornings. It holds all manner of clutter that land on it throughout the day, and without complaint mind you. It doesn’t complain if I forget to give it a good scrubbing. Plus, I like the feel of the bitty ridges of the laminate surface.
Beyond my table, though, my heightened tactile sense takes me to wonderful places. I touch the leaves and flowers and rocks of the forest. To touch nature is to touch the divine. I poke the sharp spines of the Acacia trees as I pass them by on a hike. They are a wicked form of protection. Then, there is the pleasure I get when I stroke the soft hair of my love’s forearm. What pure feelings of love and contentment, right there in the palm of my hand, and on the tips of my fingers. Intense and intimate, like sex, but appropriate in any setting.
I’m actually a little disappointed to think that others don’t have these same intense feelings when they touch things. But maybe, in the end, that’s not so bad. We’d be like a planetful of people rolling on X. How would we ever wage wars or hate people or —
Oh, wait. On second thought…
I am a sensitive soul. I care deeply, I feel deeply, I hurt deeply, I enjoy deeply…
I have been accused, in the past, of being overly sensitive and I understand why. I honestly do. Caring deeply about a person or a political issue, or whatever, means that I commit 100% to any discussion I have about said person or issue. I’ll get loud and adamant during the discussion and this makes people uncomfortable, because “Hey, it’s not a big deal.”
But it is. To me.
And that is not a bad thing. If I care about you in the least, I care deeply. I can’t help it, I can’t change it; it’s simply a fact of my life. I take things more seriously than most people because of my sensitivity, and that’s okay. I would feel like half the person I am if I cared less than I do now.
I won’t apologize for being my sensitive self. Nor should you feel that I should. In the same way I shouldn’t feel like you ought to feel more than you do. We should have variety in everything, right? Not just ice cream flavors.
When it comes to being labeled “overly” sensitive, I really am about being judged for it. The reason is, is that I appreciate the depths of feeling I am capable of. But if I could trade it for less pain I wouldn’t. Ever. If I am to be allowed my extreme joys, I have to tolerate the sorrows.
Honestly, it’s a lot easier to do since I decided I didn’t give a good goddam if anyone else was okay with it or not. My feelings are none of anybody’s business but mine.