I’d still like to know who started the rumor that seems destined to haunt me. It started a few years ago, and it started in a church. Apparently, on rare occasions, rumors actually happen in church? Also, I’m incredibly sarcastic, so that last sentence was dripping with cynicism. Not to say I believe that all churches are ripe with discord, striving to act maliciously. I just think that churches have people in them. And people? Well, they’re not perfect.
I’ve never understood the art of lying, or why some people feel the need to do so. Especially those people who lie for the sake of lying, even when the truth would benefit them better. Honestly, it has to be my number one pet peeve in life. At least in this minute, as the list is plentiful of things that irk me. To me, lying just makes so sense. And since rumors are pretty much lies with a purpose of destruction, usually created out of boredom, I can’t stand those as well. Needless to say, when I heard about a particular rumor circulating, I was an unhappy camper.
So what’s the big gripe? Long story short, over several weeks I kept hearing the same, recurring thought being stated. The same fallacy, that is. Somehow, somewhere the idea was planted that I don’t like hugs. At all. That they were unacceptable to me (or rather, that I don’t accept hugs). See, the church we were at tended to greet people with welcoming hugs, usually forgoing the more formal handshake. I never once had a problem with this (though I will admit to avoiding interacting with a couple of particular guys who creeped me out. I’m not a big fan of hugging creepers, unless you’re talking about my shoes which I love! Yes, I love them enough to hug them). I never once stated to anyone that I don’t like hugs. Ever. But no matter my opinion, I couldn’t thwart this belief people had embraced. And if I’m honest about it, it hurt. It became a disconnect from others for me. I’d enter the building, people would be greeting each other, hugs everywhere. (First time visitors, consider yourself warned, this place is a huggy place.) But as they’d approach to say hello, numerous times from multiple people I’d hear the same stupid statement. As someone would approach, as if to give a hug they’d stop, step back and say, “Oops! Sorry, I know you don’t like hugs!” And the big response that comes to my mind for this? Referencing the movie Elf when he says,
So, if this happened years ago, why bring it up now? Why relive the stupidity?
A couple of days ago, I asked my husband to get a box out of the attic for me. I was looking for a particular item I thought might be stored in my childhood keepsake box. It wasn’t, but as I was rummaging through things from times gone by, I came across my old boarding passes from when I journeyed to Washington D.C. in 1994. And a memory hit me like a ton of bricks. I was one month shy of my twelfth birthday when I had the opportunity to travel to the East coast and explore all of the educational sights. I had one friend who went on the trip with me, the rest were students (and some parent-chaperones) from Southern Oregon. It was an amazing opportunity that I knew was a sacrifice for my parents to let me experience. And it was an extreme privilege, so I was going to be on my best behavior.
One of the days we were in Virginia, we had the chance to spend a few hours at the Williamsburg Bush Gardens (see, an educational trip!). It’s a huge theme park with amazing roller coasters and fun to be had everywhere. My friend and I ended our time there by going on a particular raft ride multiple times, getting drenched. It was awesome, but neither of us either thought of, or cared about the fact we were leaving the theme park and heading straight to dinner. We found ourselves shivering that evening as we waited on the elevated stoop outside the restaurant for our reservations to be met. I felt a bit foolish, but was trying to not make a big deal out of it. We’d be inside soon enough, and hopefully it would be warmer. As my friend and I were talking, a boy approached. This being the same boy who was a couple of years older than me and had been pestering me the whole trip. I inherently did not like him, which didn’t help what happened next. Before I knew it, he was trying to embrace me and was telling me, “I’ll help keep you warm.” Ew.
Uh, no. Remember? I don’t hug creepers.
Without a pause for thought, I reacted. And I know my reaction had to have looked awful. After what I did, I’m sure some of the parents were assuming I must be some awful, ill-behaved, uncontrollable child. (Even if I had been the picture of perfection on the trip, prior to this instance.) I’m also sure, any of the parents who saw his unasked-for approach thought he deserved what he got. I pushed him down the flight of stairs leading to the restaurant. Yeah, I pushed him. He didn’t get hurt, but he stumbled backwards, looking like an idiot in front of our whole group. And I felt victorious. Yes, I’m aware I’m not that nice of a person sometimes. But in my mind, there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed and consequences for those who cross them.
There is no possibility this story could’ve been known at the church I’d been at, as it’s not a tale I flaunt openly. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I’d told anyone of it, if ever. While I find it humorous, I’m not exactly proud of my actions, as what I did probably wasn’t right Just as I tell my kids often to do, I should have remembered to use my words. That being said, in no way, shape or form was it okay for whoever it was to use their words to stop actions of kindness. To make up such a stupid, pointless rumor will never make sense to me. Maybe they sensed I had boundaries? Maybe they were being twerps. I don’t really care, as it’s all behind me now.
So, for the record I’d like to say a few things. First of all, the person who started the no hugs rumor? Yeah, their feet smell like cheese, the really stinky kind. Wait, I’m not the type to stoop to that level… ah, I’ll make an exception. And despite conflicting evidence, I like hugs! I will gladly give them and gladly accept them. That is of course, unless you’re a creeper, of the non-shoe species. Then you can refer to the story above.
What rumors have you
started been subjected to/the subject of? Did you ever push a boy down the stairs for trying to hug you? Did you know bats always turn left when exiting caves?