Touch saved me from loneliness. What will we become without it? (April 2020)
Touch is essential to our wellbeing, from the time we are babies. It’s how we transmit meaning, care, love and community. Our sudden loss of it has been agonising.
I am afraid of what I will become without touch. Already the frayed edges are beginning to show. So much of my life and the lives of so many women is found through touch. We touch our babies, we hold them to our breasts and bellies, we wash our ageing mothers’ bodies and comb and braid our daughters’ hair. We massage and we pet and we soothe and we tickle. We do this with each other.
I have been blessed to feel and embrace and be embraced by women all over the world. To hold their stories and their hands, weep with them in my arms. We know how to do this, women. We know how to express loss and grief with our shuddering bodies and tears, transform our rage into medicine with the simplest caress. We know how the body is filled with microaggressions and macro ones. We know how to loosen ourselves into grieving and tighten ourselves into rage. And many of us are practised in that particular hug that shelters, that relieves, that confirms. Hugging is how we know we are here. How we feel each others’ existence and meaning and value and substance. How we transmit our love, our empathy, our care.