Food For Thought: Why do people have to divulge personal information to avoid hugs?

Before I start, I would just like to wish everyone a good 2019. I looked at my blogs statistics from 2018. I did not have that may viewers, but there were people from so many different countries and areas around the world. I think that is amazing. I often criticize the internet, but when I see the audience I can reach with this tiny blog, my  heart smiles. So no matter where you are in the world, you have my deepest gratitude for reading this blog.

I recently watched a video on trauma. The speaker mentioned in the video how children are generally very loving and affectionate. The speaker said that children typically do not have trouble hugging people, unless something is wrong (ie. they have gone through trauma or on the spectrum). I did not know that I was autistic when I was kid. I always found it incredibly frustrating how my family members would violate my consent by hugging me when I very clearly did not like being hugged. I understand that my lack in knowledge of my autism at that time does not make me an exception to the rule, because I am autistic. But I do not understand why I or any other person should have to justify their decision to not give consent to be touched. The fact that it is their body should be enough.

A few months ago, I had a conversation with someone where upon I mentioned that I do not like being touched. I do not like hugs. I hate holding or shaking hands. The idea of kissing someone completely repulses me. After I told this to the person I was talking to, they started to go into this tangent how certain experiences can damage us and it takes a long time to get passed those events… They thought I had experienced trauma. They thought that there had to be something wrong with me or my past if I could not enjoy the fundamentals of the human experience. I of course felt a need to defend myself and my life experiences for I had never been attacked, raped, or abused; I am just autistic.

Apparently, the only thing that entitles me to turn away hugs or handshakes is not the fact that I am a living being, it is the fact that I have a cognitive difference from everyone else. Simply saying “No, thank-you” to a hug is not enough. I have to divulge personal information for it to be valid. “No, thank-you. I am refraining from this hug because I am autistic and hugs make me feel uncomfortable. Would you like a note from my doctor to make sure my claim is valid?” Obviously, that statement is a bit dramatic, but I honestly feel like some people actually would like a doctors note.

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