Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fake it till you make it.

Last week I hugged 7 people. This week I hugged 22. Why the fuck do I know how many people I've hugged in the last fortnight?

I don't want to go into the specifics, but basically I realised I'm a closed person. My body language is closed, and there are only two people in the world I actually let into an intimate space on a regular basis.

And if you are thinking 'mum and dad' you are wrong, they are Shona and Bryce, the two people I have actually let get close to me over the years. Thus they actually don't count in my hug counts.

I've been confident with handshaking since I was eight years old. Janice has repeated the story to me many a time of shopping at Wendoree village and seeing me walk off and shake hands with this chubby kid, talk like we were about to declare war on some Balkan state, shake hands and walk away. That chubby kid was Bryce.

I have no fear of public speaking, I will make a speech off the top of my head, I can approach a burning car with no fear as to my personal safety, but I can't let people get close to me. I don't know why, I've probably learned bad insecure body language from some role model along the way.

I have always fucked up the kiss hello, I cross my arms when talking to people, I keep a distance, I turn my shoulder when sitting next to somebody to erect a barrier. I notice these things consciously now. Most of my life I just did them unconsciously.

Now I am consciously hugging people. And it's:

1. Awkward.
2. Pleasant.
3. Surprisingly well accepted.
4. Informative.

I'm bad at it. Really bad, blundering, blunt, shit, bad. Having said that, behavioural change is never easy. I'm far too conscious of the whole process, I don't really know what constitutes a good hug (surely I cant be hugging everyone like they're my girlfriend).

But seriously if I had told myself that I could even hug 22 people in 7 days a month ago I would have balked at such an inconcievably large number. I still can't believe I did. That's like 3 hugs a day. Previously my max would have been 3 hugs a month and that would include Bryce and Shona.

Attitudes are often taken to shape behaviours, but behaviours in fact often shape our attitudes. Thus I am changing my behaviour pattern. I hope to get better at just opening up, opening up my body language in the same way this blog opened up my thought processes for others to go through at their leisure. Maybe I'll never be one of those people that others feel they can just walk right into a hug, but maybe, maybe I will.

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