I used to be a hugger

Blog - I used to be a hugger

Pre-pandemic I was a hugger.  Even in work settings there were no hierarchical boundaries to those that would be greeted with an invitation to hug and certainly by the time I left some one’s company partings usually included a hug.

I live with my husband and two kids, so hugs were available on tap during lockdown.  I cannot imagine how people living in alone have survived lockdown with the opportunity to get a hug removed and being barred by law from having access to human touch.  Living in Wales I am still not legally allowed to hug anyone outside our extended household.  But with some loosening of restrictions, I was able to hug my Mother-in-law for the first time a few weeks ago.  it was joyous.  How we embraced one another.  For a long time, my in-laws were shielding so all we could do was stand outside their window and chat as we dropped of supplies.  They had each other, but the isolation was difficult for them to navigate.

But, with the possibility of lockdown ending the thought of going back to the way things were regarding “being a hugger” is difficult to comprehend.  Social distancing and restrictions have changed me.

We’ve just enjoyed a beautifully sunny May Bank holiday and visited the new Sick to Death Museum in Chester, and it was… weird.  It was so busy in the city, pre-pandemic busy, and hardly anyone was wearing masks outside.  Another trip on the bank holiday itself, this time to the Beach in Anglesey was busier than pre-pandemic times.  It felt uncomfortable.  Too many people, too close.  No one was in my personal space, but it was invasive.

I can’t imagine getting on an early commuter train to London or a packed tube train as I used to pre-pandemic.  I certainly would not even contemplate going on public transport without a mask and I think it will be a long time until I stop wearing masks when I am out the house.  Perhaps it is living in Wales where the lockdown and social distancing has been in place and more strictly enforced for longer that I have now become conditioned to being away from people.

At the beginning of lockdown, I used to mime hugging my friends when we chatted (at a distance) outside. I stopped doing that at some point. Lockdown was my hug cold turkey. The idea of wrapping my arms around a non-family member now is incomprehensible.  I hug my family more often and for longer… but other than family, I used to be a hugger.

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