Hugs and More Hugs


So the other day I was talking about touch with a friend. This conversation came about because someone was rubbing my shoulders in public. Although it felt nice I was a bit uncomfortable with it. My reaction to this made me think. And then I thought about it a lot and I realized, I am touched A LOT. Every day. By people that I’ve come to care about.  My caregivers touch me when they help me dress, bathe, move, etc. My physical therapists or trainers touch me to transfer me, they touch my legs, my butt, my thighs, shoulders… now this is sounding erotic but it’s not. This touch is purely functional.  When their arms wrap around me, it’s not to hug me but to move me and there is no enjoyment in that touch.

I was hugged a few days after this conversation and I posted a status update on Facebook that read: “Someone gave me a REAL hug today. It was nice.” This generated a lot of likes which leads me to believe that, in general, people like hugs and knew what I meant when I said REAL. A few days after that, a friend asked me what it meant when I said REAL hug and he was very curious as to how this hug went and if it was a man or a woman. So I will explain to you this hug.

First off, IT DID NOT GO LIKE THIS: You and a friend go out for coffee or tea, maybe a movie. There is conversation, catching up and then you two are on a sidewalk headed to your cars making “end-of-the-night” conversation:

You: …yeah I heard that movie was good too

Him/her: we should see that one next.

You: Definitely.

(you come to an intersection)

You: Oh, I’m that way (point to the right)

Him/her: Oh, I’m this way (point to the left)

(You lean awkwardly to the opposite side your friend is leaning, take a step forward open your arms and lightly pat each other on the shoulders. Say bye and go separate ways)

THAT WAS NOT A HUG! It was an expected social interaction! Ok, I will get on with it…the hug…

This person (I am purposely being gender neutral because this is not important) was standing and leaned down to me sitting in my chair. We both opened our arms and leaned into each other until our shoulders touched. With a full embrace our chests were touching and there was a long deep breath. As I exhaled my eyes closed and a slight smile broke the line of my face.

I go into such detail because everyone knows what a hug like this feels like and how appreciated it can be during certain moments in our lives.  This hug made me happy and then immediately made me sad to think that I don’t get a lot of hugs like that and maybe it was because my wheelchair gets in the way. You know, medal and wheels aren’t squishy and stuff- not particularly conducive to hugs.  And it is even more difficult when said hug is between two wheelchair users.

Just a couple years ago when I was moving away I went to say bye to my very good friend Stevie. After talking awhile it was time to say good-bye.  Since we both have big clunky wheelchairs, he said, “We can’t hug, so let’s hold hands.” In that moment all I wanted was to hug him so hard and I refused to leave without doing that. It took us some tricky wheelchair moves but in the end there was a hug, and it makes me smile to this day when I think of it.

Sometimes I think people in chairs don’t get hugs that often…and just now, I rethink my thoughts and conclude that I should get out of my self-pitying, hug-lacking bubble and realize that probably everyone in this world is not getting enough real hugs or just a pure touch, a solid handshake, a genuine smile, or an authentic “How are you?”

And maybe it’s the naïve, innocent little girl in me walking through the zoo, with a red balloon in hand, looking for penguins… but maybe it’s not. Because it made a difference in my day and can you imagine what that could do exponentially?!?

Ok, let’s not get carried away, world peace will probably not be achieved with hugs, but they sure feel nice on the quest to get there!

In conclusion, I don’t think this blog actually has a point to be made so just accept my HUGS TO YOU!

And if you want to smile, watch this, and go to:


  1. Aileen
    May 30, 2012

    I have to show you the Not-getting-away-with-a-bad-hug-but-good-close-hug Hug Maneuver =) It works

  2. Victor
    May 30, 2012

    I am a hugger & I always hug my friends.

    I hug them hello & I hug them goodbye. When we are all having a good time, doing whatever we are doing, I have no issues hugging it out and letting them know how awesome they are 🙂

  3. chris kerr
    May 30, 2012

    hugs back at you … even if they are from a long way away!! xx

  4. glenn Sale
    May 31, 2012

    I love good heartfelt hugs. I had one the other day and I really did make me feel good. If someone with a sign “free hugs” comes up to me , I am not interested. for me Its not the act of hugging- its the emotion behind it. so I say; Hug your friends often,and let them know you care, hug your coworkers once a year at the christmas party, and if you see someone with a sign Free HUGS, well them, there worthless

  5. Lynnae Ruttledge
    June 3, 2012

    Thanks for showing the power of hugging! A good friend of mine from Mississippi describes herself proudly as ”a Southerner who hugs and kisses her way through life.’ Imagine what a better world this would be if we allowed ourselves to share this joy?

    • Reyna
      June 30, 2012

      What a lovely post! Just renaidg it made me feel like I’d had a big hug. Loved the picture too. I must admit sometimes when I feel really fed up I go for a walk and make an effort to be pleasant by smiling, saying hello to strangers etc. It really lifts me.I like the idea that a hug doesn’t need to be literal, there are many ways of hugging.

  6. Jude
    June 30, 2012

    Being hugged is a spaceil feeling, it is safe and warm and sharing. It asks nothing in return, but gives so much. Sending you a spaceil HUG for your HUGG Bank

  7. Tom
    December 29, 2014

    This description of hugging someone in a wheelchair doesn’t work for me. My wife’s disabled legs are in front of her chair. If I were to straddle them I could get closer, but I stand more than six feet tell and picture myself falling forward onto her as I lose my balance. I think she’d soon be saying, “Get off of me!” I’ll try it though because it’s the only example of hugging I’ve come across.

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