personal space

When I was younger, I had absolutely none. I went to a school which practically had no personal space as  a whole — we all hugged and hung on each other all the time, every day. To me, it was normal.

Then I came to Emory. And I’ll be honest — the average person’s personal space was so big it was a culture shock. I was even snapped at once when I went to automatically hug a friend (Tonia, I love you!). And it was a reality check, because most people in the world did not grow up in such a close, touchy-feely community, and I had to adapt to such a reality.

Three times in the past week, I’ve snapped at someone who touched me without some vague semblance of my invitation. At Flying Biscuits, a lead who I dance with every week went for a hug, and I backed off. While I was at work, a boy went to poke my stomach, and I snapped at him. And then the same boy’s twin brother, a day later, snuck up behind me and poked me in the side. Let me tell you, I whipped around and laid into him. I snapped so loudly and so angrily that patrons were staring (oops) and that I am sure he will never ever poke me in the sides again.

Dancing, of course, is a bit more touchy feely than most communities — we hug and hang on each other at exchanges. But for me, it’s changed. I only really hug and hang on with whom I’m close. People whom I talk to almost every day, even if I only see them once every three months. People with whom I’ve shared a special dance weekend with, or had a heart-to-heart felt moment with. But then, if you’re in that category, I’ll be as touchy-feely as if I were back at Rabun Gap, and hanging and hugging and cuddling is all good.

I just…if you’re allowed in my personal space, it’s because you’re honestly special to me. It was a hard lesson to learn at first, but I’m glad now…because now, it’s important to me, too.

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6 thoughts on “personal space

  1. To be fair, it had less to do with my personal space and more to do with the fact that I, um, didn’t like you. But eventually we changed that!

  2. Yes. Only for me, I was never a touchy feely person before dancing. I’m still mostly not, unless I really really really fucking like someone. And/or switch two of those words, HAHA.

  3. @Tonia — True. But we got past that! Lol. Regardless, you’re still not that touchy-feely with me. It’s just something I’m aware of now.

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