By Rita Riera Pastallé
I have never been the kind of person who hugs. People notice my discomfort when they get close to me and I send them an innocent, strong and unintentional gesture.
And it’s not that I don’t hug anyone. I hug my partner, my best friends and my cat. A tiny little circle.
I have always thought that this fact was part of my DNA. ‘I am like that’. But since I came to SCA, I am petrified of how I have changed. Before, anyone who came looking for my arms ended up disappointed. I became a master in avoiding contact. In the place where I come from I have friends who I’ve just hugged in important farewells or for comfort. Not even Christmas or Birthdays. Those were hugs in which I counted every second of them, literally. Not only because I wanted them to end but because I have a thing for counting everything. As if time was something so precious I could find its value. I hugged tight and stiff, unable to finish wrapping the other. Always noticing a frigid distance that took time to disappear.
Since I arrived at SCA, I’ve been hugged many times and not one of them was in vain. I haven’t noticed that chill in my spine and the desire to run away. I have embraced the thought of having contact at another level and I have realized that I like the comfort that others can give me.
I do not have a clear explanation of why this is happening to me. I’ve been here for only three weeks and it seems that my brain and body have turned 180 degrees. I arrive each morning and I see from a distance who is smoking at the door and I’m glad they are there.
I liked it and still like to be alone, to think and to be calm, jumping from nonsense to nonsense. But now I’m excited about the idea of being able to share my most ridiculous thoughts, because if shared, they can end up being meaningful.
It’s a very strange feeling, because I’ve realized that SCA is a place where the more you give, the more you share and the less you care about showing everything that makes you, you, the more you’ll grow and the more you’ll have in return from others.
Having the opportunity to know so many people at once feels like a complicated challenge, but I am sure that some of the friendships that I have already made will last a long time and for me it’s an incredible achievement that gives me a complex feeling of astonishment and excitement.
Tomorrow morning I will arrive at SCA and find someone who opens his arms and tells me good morning. I will approach without fear nor restiveness. And I will sink into his chest until we feel uncomfortable. And I will repeat it the next morning and I’ll last a little longer than the day before. And I’ll keep pushing my limits because I’m realising I can break them all. Even the ones I thought were part of who I am.