Touch really is beautiful, isn’t it?
There are so many ways to experience it.
Touch can be scientific if I were to examine the fascinating ways it shapes the mind. The depression of the skin, stimulating the nerves, sending to the brain signals saying “something is here”.
I could look at all the different ways we are shaped by touch, whether it’s the hold of our parents nurturing our growth, or how we use it to learn about those same growing bodies, or how the sensation of touch can train us into feelings and behaviours.
The science of touch is deep, complex, and endlessly fascinating.
It helps us understand our own worlds.
It can be used to ease the suffering of those struggling with their own physical experience.
And yet, that is not enough.
Touch can be sexual, lighting up my world in a second.
How my own body can soften and sing with the right caress, how the brush of a finger can ignite a million flares under my skin.
I think about how I can touch others, bringing pleasure with my hands, my mouth, and the rest of my being.
How amazing that is! To be able to reach out to someone and make them feel pleasure, and to receive my own pleasure in return.
The sexuality of touch is often lost in the headiness of desire, but its significance should never be forgotten. It is my most natural language for sexually connecting with another, where words no longer suffice.
And yet, that is still not enough.
Touch can be emotional, in how it carves itself into our hearts.
How the touch of another person can conjure up an internal maelstrom.
A hug from my mum, shocking in its bittersweet strength as I can feel her telling herself to let me go. A rub on my back from a stranger in a moment of weakness, that even years later reminds me of how hollow I can feel. An arm across my throat, and all the confusion and fear that that brought. The clasp of a hand on my shoulder from a friend, and the grounding warmth and support that spreads through me.
Countless times, I have been floored by touch.
In but a moment, it can make or ruin my day, or stamp itself into my memory for years to come.
I like to think that our emotions are tangled and complex and layered. That one can feel multiple things at once and unravelling them is a never-ending task. Yet touch shatters that belief in the simplest of ways.
Is that enough? I do not know.
There are so many ways to look at a touch, but the more I draw it out and give those thoughts form, the more I can feel myself dancing around the core of my relationship with touch.
I both crave it and fear it.
I miss it, yet I question how much I ever felt it.
Touch is terrifying.
I can construct the most eloquent, elaborate, and sensible of narratives, and touch can wipe the board clean in a single stroke.
Touch can throw a can of red on my intricate oil painting, and create art more beautiful in that moment than I could have done with years of consideration.
How does it do that? A hand in yours, a head on your shoulder, the brush of lips against your own, how can any of it touch the heart deeper and more powerfully than I could with these thousand words?
That kind of power, without any real way to control or regulate it?
So deep and wide and gripping.
But, for all that I may fear it, I want it.
I can remember what it felt like, to melt under someone else reaching out to you.
That real and present moment of connection, when you can not pretend that you are alone. Touch that speaks of care and affection, of love and all the things I find hard to believe in.
The closeness of another life, another soul, another heartbeat in tandem with yours, even if only for a moment.
I think touch can scare me because, for lack of a better word, it touches me.
A touch can pierce my armour so effectively I can feel it shatter around me, leaving me naked to the world’s eyes. It punches through every thought or interpretation with its simple and firm declaration of existence: a booming call of “I am here”, resonating to my core.
Touch effortlessly strips me of the power I have created for myself.
It has been so long since I have felt a touch like that.
I wanted this writing to be timeless in its own way, much like I want anything I produce to be: shiny and impressive and endlessly fascinating.
Regardless, I can’t help but place this inside of the world we’ve been living in. And how we plan to return to whatever different world will spring from it.
Sometimes I like to fantasise about touching and being touched.
That sense of freedom and connection and acceptance told through hands and arms and bodies. The power of touch used to scare me so much that it would always stay a fantasy. I was too afraid to ask for touch, too afraid to reach out and touch, too afraid of rejection either way.
Maybe I can be different now. Maybe I can touch and be touched a little more freely in the future.
I don’t know.
But I do know that touch truly is beautiful.