Hug me Real Tight

Hug me Real Tight
Fecha de publicación: 
11 June 2022
Imagen principal: 

When I told my mom that I wanted to write something about the return of hugs, at last, a phrase burst from her soul: "Oh, yes, how nice!", and she protested with no less intensity: "there are those who say that should be eliminated, but it would be like removing feelings, can you imagine that!”

In March 2020, hugging, kissing, even getting close to people, no matter how close they were, became a huge risk. It was a matter of social responsibility, of taking care of ourselves as well as taking care of others. I remember that at my daughter's school they invented a greeting that, in addition to the fist, bumped the feet; I believe it was an attempt to feel less distant.

In Cuba, we are generally affectionate, kissing, expressive, spontaneous, "huggers"; sometimes as much as the ever-shininng sun on this side of the world, warm as our climate, affective, in short... that we assumed those essential two and a half meters was a matter of life or death, but liking that, I dare say that we didn’t like it at all.

Almost thirty months later and three to five doses of vaccines have passed (around 90% of the Cuban population has been immunized, most with the national vaccines, Abdala and Soberana). Even the youngest at home have already been able to receive the immunogens produced, against all odds, in the country for which Fidel forged a future of men of science, so many of us, without extravagances, but eagerly, have been slowly returning to the hugs.

Sometimes we approach timidly. Maybe it has happened to you that you stay half way in the gesture, as if waiting for a signal? It’s that times have been too hard and it makes sense that for some people the fear of hugging remains and, well, popular wisdom says that "it’s better safe than sorry".

However, a good hug is so healing: it reduces stress, improves heart rate, lowers blood pressure, helps combat anxiety, fear and low self-esteem. This is reported by some scientific studies published on the Internet.

These embraces of the new normality also carry several additional meanings: they have a certain taste of victory, they remind us that after so much, we are still here and it’s a gift to be here and meet again, and that small pleasures like that of feeling the skin of the people we love they have a huge value.

The decision of those who prefer to avoid physical contact to reinforce other hygienic measures that we cannot give up is completely understandable and certainly respectable, as for me, family, friend, partner... hug me real tight.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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