“Oh my love, my darling,–A. North & H. Zyat’s Unchained Melody
I’ve hungered for your touch,
a long, lonely time.”
Wendy’s presence was larger than life. One of my favorite Aunt’s friends, her laughter filled the room, her smile buoyant. I still haven’t met a woman as charismatic and magnetic before, that I couldn’t help but draw close to. Towards the end of the night, we were on the couch together, and she took my hand in hers. Asked me to massage her hand.
“Isn’t touch so wonderful?” she asked me, watching the rest of the party continue.
I could only blink at her, dazzled, and kept pressing my thumbs into her palm.
I couldn’t have been more than ten. How had she seen the hunger in me so quickly, before I even knew the depth of it?
In high school, Alison sat in front of me. I’d spend the class tangling knots into her hair. She was good-natured and smiled, said it was fine as long as they were easy to take out.
I also shock-therapied Emma into being okay with hugs. I did it because I loved startling her. Even though her mom thanked me for it, it wasn’t good consent culture.
Dress shopping for the prom I didn’t go to, the shop owner cupped my hips as I looked at myself in the mirror, covered in black lace. How I wanted more.
In college, Ash and I on the dining hall couch, waiting for the breakfast line to disappear. My head in their lap. Our weight sinking into the sofa, our bodies tired from rowing, resting.
Jeanette and I in the van on our way to the San Diego Crew Classic. The van wasn’t wide enough to lie fully down, so I delicately balanced feet on where the tire protruded up, and slept in her lap. Later, we switched, and I petted her baby-soft hair until she fell asleep.
Reading Malcolm X in bed while Emily spooned me, laughing at how even now I was trying to finish my homework.
My mother, when I was young. I scooted next to her on the couch, wanting the comfort of being near her, and she moved to the other end of the couch. Talia told me she lies in bed with her mom and sister, touching one another, and I wonder what that’s like.
Touch drew me to Xavier. When I met him, I was touch hungry and said fuck it. I swooped him into a giant bear hug. The momentum of my arms was too much for my water bottle; the cap fell off and water spilled across the floor.
Months later, just before Christmas, he and I squeezed into Michelle’s couch. He was pressed against me as he took us through tongue-twisters in Spanish. I don’t remember asking if he was okay with the way we were touching, if my hand was okay where it was. But years later, he told me that’s what he remembered, how my years with my teammates at Mills had taught me well and brought this beautiful boy into my life.
After that Christmas miracle, I sent him what felt like the world’s most awkward Facebook message.
I really enjoyed snuggling with you at Michelle’s. If you’re up for it, let’s do it again?
And we did. We’d fall asleep next to each other, in one another’s beds. Weeks where we effectively cohabitated.
It was the first time my hunger wasn’t just fed in sips, but fully sated. When I slept alone, at last, there wasn’t a part of me wailing. I was sound in knowing there was always more.
While I was dealing with my childhood shit, Tanisha suggested I try Marisa Peer’s free hypnotherapy.
“Imagine,” Peer said, “this person showing up at your doorstep with their luggage in tow. They’re here to stay. They’re here to follow you through your day. Ready to love you.”
I cried throughout most of this, but here
my body folded over, unable to hold its shape against this hunger.
This, this was…
I still have moments where the breadth of hunger hits me in my gut. Bowls me over, has me curled up tightly under the covers.
Most of the time I cry.
Xavier was this too, nurturing, caring. A water sign, like my mother is, like Jeanette is.
There were so many lessons about what my heart was capable of. I learned love did not have to hurt. That love could be gentle, that suffering was not required.
And the quiet surety of his body next to mine, how when I needed him most, I only had to reach for him, and he was there, and the part of me always jittery and crying for touch would quiet.
In bed, I told him, “My mother says I never went through a phase of putting things in my mouth.”
“You must be making up for lost time,” he smiled.
Later, as I’d reach out for him, he’d joke, “You’re so needy.”
I don’t think he was joking, and this was a heartache.
His sex drive might have been greater than mine, but my desire for touch outpaced him. Outpaces most people. My need for touch is great, my desire for sex rare, and sex is often my consolation prize.
It’s not just the cuddles I want, it’s the intimacy. Your body curled around mine, a reminder I don’t have to keep myself tightly coiled, that you can hold me as I unspool into salt water.
I don’t let people that close to my tender heart, my softest desires lightly. When I invite you under my coral sheets and weighted blanket, I am telling you, here is the most easily hurt, most easily loved part of me, I trust you to love me.
Snuggles are the quickest way to call me back into my body, in this moment, in the present. An anchor, a beacon telling me it’s okay to come home, to be here, in pleasure.
A year later, I tried that Marisa Peer hypnotherapy again. I thought I’d cry less, and I did cry less. But then she gave the prompt about my mother showing up at my doorstep, ready to love me. And I bawled.
“You’d be sick of all this, wouldn’t you?” Peer asked.
No, I wouldn’t.
I hunger to be loved in ways that feel like living, feel like joy, makes me radiant in happiness, has me feeling like anything and everything is possible. Fresh cookies as I read. Being told my work and my self is perfect as is. Believing this love will not be taken away if I am not perfect. Tuck me into bed, cook me food, kiss me goodnight, tell me you love me and how happy you are to have me in your life, how lucky and grateful you are to have me.
What do I do with this hunger? I’m learning to mother myself, care for myself. Will that ease it? Do I give ageplay a go? Could I even accept this love if it was offered to me? Would I be terrified of having it, because it would mean I’d gone so long without it? Am I setting up my loved ones for failure, because there is no such thing as a perfect mother/lover/hunger?
None of this changes the fact I want it.
I want it.
I am so hungry.