Recently I have been interviewed and asked for input on my hug story by two large media outlets. As I was reviewing what I wanted to say in the short time I had available I realized a few things. One, it has been almost 2 years since my year of hugs ended and people are still wanting to hear about it! Two, the things that I want to share are not the same things the media projects that people want to hear. Let me elaborate:
What I want you to know is the general idea of how the year made me feel. How I saw love, pain, hope and joy in the eyes of the people I hugged. I want you to know that my throat got that telltale lump that happens right before crying almost everyday just thinking about the love that was being shared. How important I felt it was to extend my gratitude to everyone that I was encountering. Even those that I didn’t agree with or feel quite so loving toward. Even they made a difference in my life and for that I was grateful. I want you to know that sitting here writing about these feelings is making me tear up once again. How there are absolutely no right words I can use to make you understand how the year made me feel, how even just one hug from a stranger makes me feel.
What I have always known, but truly understand now is that the media thrives on sensationalism. They want to know specific details of the most unusual, heartwarming, saddest or controversial hugs I had. I struggled with this through all of my interviews shortly after my year ended. I didn’t want to share the intimate details of my hugs. They were mine and I felt that by sharing it might lessen the experience not only for me but for the other person I was talking about as well.
I see now how important those stories are. They inspire people. They make others begin to feel a small inkling of how I must have felt. I know this because I thrive on those stories as well. I want to hear all about how Tim holds a hug-a-thon once a year to benefit a charity. I want to hear about how this skier is saving puppies in Sochi. I think about how I can implement good deeds in my son’s lives when I hear about this teen that delivers burritos to the homeless.
I still hug but if others can’t let go of my story and still want to hear more, maybe it’s time for an encore.
Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.