Self Esteem by Florian ContegrecoI’m not a hugger, no sir. I hate chests touching  (unless it’s mine and my boyfriend’s of course!), but for some reason, the few I’ve received have had a huge impact in my life (even though I hardly hug ANYONE!!).

I admit to being a routine hugger; one hand over your back, arm around your shoulder, 2 simple taps on the back, chests barely touching. That’s what I do when I “hug”.But more times than not, don’t we all? I know I’m not in on this alone. I know how many of you have perfected that fake smile and plastic hug, yes, especially for the boys, as a way of tipping them into the friendzone without hurting their feelings, and for our girlfriends cuz, let’s just be honest, we girls find it hard talking to fellow girls and a hug is just an excuse to make us feel closer to each other than we really are. (unless of course we have major gossip, then we’re best friends!! <don’t kill me ‘Chicas’>)

When you hug someone hello, is it just a routine hug or are you genuinely happy to see that person?? Most important, does that hug tell that?? I think, a hug, should say all, without you having to utter a word.

As much as I don’t like hugging, the power it wields is beyond my understanding.

One of my favourite hugs is one my godfather’s son, Rhys-6, gave me when I was leaving their house after dinner with his family. After taking a shower, just before he went to bed, he ran straight to me with his arms wide open and flung himself on my neck, gave me a kiss on the cheek and bolted off to bed.(*blush*blush*)  The hug so boldly said “I’m glad you were here, and I’m happy you are going now, so go home! Goodbye”. No words, but that’s exactly how it felt, and the crazy part was-it’s like the whole family could read it cuz right immediately, we all burst out laughing. And I bet that’s probably the most expressive hug I ever received.

A lot of people I’ve always wished I hugged expressively;

I wish I hugged my best friend, goodbye and in that hug, told her how she means the world to me, how I will always hold her close to my heart no matter what. I wish I hugged my sister and told her how she is the love of my life. I wish I hugged my friend and role model Ibrah, and in that hug, showed him, how much of an inspiration he’s been, how I will be eternally grateful for him. My friend Nada, how I admire her, how her strength and fighting spirit will forever be an example I follow. And that’s not even a quarter of my list.

Then, there’s a lot of people I’d hug for very different reasons. These are the people I weep for when the lights in my room are turned of. People whose lives I hope to eventually change. People who, I want to promise a better future, to give hope, whose emotional burden I want to share.

I would love to hug the beautiful girl on the street selling lollies at 11pm, hold her close and with her cheek to mine,stare at the city lights and assure her that her dreams are valid. I would love to hug the little boy staring into Pizza hut, taunted by the smell of melted cheese, and promise him he will someday, enjoy a full meal. I would love to sit with the teenage girl in the dark street corner, wrap her in my arms and share my warmth, and show her how the darkest nights, give way to the shiniest of stars. The teary-eyed mother watching her kids playing in the sand, hug her with love, and let her unburden all the unseen evils she’s gone through for their happiness.

I honestly don’t have the courage to give expressive hugs to everybody, at least not yet. It’s a thing I’m slowly developing with time. But, if you can give someone a genuine hug, a stranger, a friend, a random person, a relative, please do. It will change your life-I promise. I won’t explain how, will just give 2 examples of how hugs have always resonated in my heart.

Best Hug experience;

“Were two you that close?” Idah asked me.”We had soo much to do! This week, we were to go to Sarakasi and in the next two weeks I had won tickets for us to attend BOGOF. I mean, he let me keep this ring”, I said, a thin tear streaming down my cheek. And Idah drew me in her arms, and for the first time, after a whole week since the passing of Edwin, I sobbed uncontrollably. In that hug, were the undertones; “Let him go. It’s ok to cry. You will be fine. He will be fine. You are allowed a moment of weakness. You can let him go now…” That was the first time anybody literally, gave me a shoulder to cry on. And I don’t think there was a time I needed it more.

Worst Experience involving hugs;

I walked to the circle of girls” Aki he went too early. Aki how could Edu go?? Alikuwa poa mkiwa na yeye JKUAT(was he ok when he was with you at JKUAT)” Mmh”, I nodded as the girls silently sniffed and sobbed. And I stood across from Milly, and she started to talk, then she stopped. And when I looked at her, she had tears welled in her eyes, she hadn’t said anything the whole time, and I knew she needed it, just before that teardrop fell. I could read the signs, I could see the loneliness, the lack of strength, the need for support, the reassurance that everything would be OK. But I stood frozen, and watched, as the tear fell, and no reassurance came, and she didn’t get the support she needed and nobody told her she would be ok. And I knew that, as a friend, in that moment, I had failed. And that is, the biggest regret of my life-the hug I didn’t give Milly.





3 thoughts on “Hugs

  1. (on behalf of ‘chicas’ I am here to kill you!!!!!!)

    Oh man. You were always uneasy with the concept of hugs but not even once did I feel weirded out by it, because you had a million other ways of showing that huge heart that beats in you. A walking contradiction who ‘never’ cried but (sometimes) the softest things got your ‘eyes sweating’. Who gave awkward hugs but remembered everyone’s birthday. And you know what she did on her birthdays? She brought old friends together for weekends of bliss and so much love that it almost stopped being about her and became about us.


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