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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Cuddles!

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I woke up this morning feeling weird. I’ve been in a protracted battle with my sinuses for the past two weeks. Trying to balance being well enough to keep on working with the sleep that ensues when you’re taking allergy meds. The sounds of rain against my window, along with the lights streaming through the blinds… enough indication that it was time to get up.. time to get back on that grind.

Do you sometimes wonder if we’re really just hamsters in one big cage? We’re constantly running around in this huge orb, chasing one dream or the other. We chase and chase and chase until we achieve our goal. Then we find something else to chase. Then something else. And some more. Sometimes we’re just trying to fill a vacuum and so we strive. And strive some more. Sometimes, all we need is someone to just hold us in a warm embrace saying “Stop. Breathe. Smile”. One hug that says it all.

Pause!

Am I waxing lyrical again about the awesomeness of hugs in a round about way? I can dedicate an entire book to the fuzzy feeling that comes from hugs. I almost thrive from body contact from loved ones. No, not that irritating type where people just breathe over your neck.. Mba! I mean that nice body to body “I know you love me as I love you, and we’re comfortable in each other’s love” way. As the ‘auta’ of my family, I was constantly snuggling up to someone or the other. When it was time for 10pm movies on DBN (80s & 90s kids would remember this TV station), I’d grab my pillow (to support my sucking tongue moves) and crawl all over my brothers. My older brother didn’t mind. But my immediate older brother would kick me and tell me to ‘gerrout’. I am a natural hugger. I love you? Best believe I’m hugging you to oblivion. Ain’t no shame in my game.

However, I have some friends who don’t have time for that hot mess. Amina (also known as CEMENT) can slap you if you come near her with that hugging rubbish. When she was pregnant, I made her some peppersoup and took to her house. Then the impossible happened. She hugged me. It was a landmark moment in our friendship. I told her that I’d have made the peppersoup a lot sooner.

Understanding that people express their feelings in different ways is very essential to every relationship.Sometimes, a person’s ‘apparent’ standoffish personality is not necessarily a test of how they feel. For some people, their ‘language of love’ is in the giving of gifts; for some people it’s in their being available when you need them; for others it’s meeting your physiological needs.

As much as I love giving and receiving hugs, I don’t find it strange that some people don’t hug. I remember meeting someone who told me that my Mum was the first person who ever gave her a hug. My mother can hug for two universes. My father… on the other hand…No chance. According to him, my mother is the hugger of the family.

Either way you roll, it’s important that you show love to someone. Because we’re really all just hamsters running around and many times we may not remember to stop and smell the roses (Hibiscus… if that’s what Nigerians can relate to). You really don’t know what a hug or a kind word can do to someone around you. Something as little and as cheap as a hug can work wonders in the life of someone who is frazzled or down in the trenches.

It’s also very important that you let people know how much you appreciate certain modes of expressions. If you love someone and they don’t express love the way you ‘expect’ them to, don’t stress.. just do you. I love my friend, Anne in a gazillion ways but I don’t try that hugging business near her oh! If we’re in the kitchen and she has a knife handy, I may not live to tell the tale. Ati is the same way too. I have harsh friends, yo! Ah! Some years ago, I was dealing with a little inconvenience called ‘heartbreak’. I installed myself in Mo’s house. He kept me plied with Amala and booze while I cried away my soul. Not once did he hug me, but I knew that there was nowhere else I’d rather be at that time. Because I didn’t need a hug to know he would always be there for me in the most difficult times.

I hope you you have enjoyed reading this piece, because I feel a lot better now than I felt when I first started writing. I can actually take on the world, safe and secure in the knowledge that I have friends and family who’ve got my back… hugs or no hugs!

Have a beautiful week ahead.

Peace, love & celery sticks (I’m gonna give this another try… Yuck.Yuck. Yuck)
Toodles!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | DarrenBaker

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

52 Comments

  1. Mau

    August 25, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Hi Atoke,
    I am feeling mushy already, I love reading your posts …. Can I get a hug ;D?

  2. Adaeze Writes

    August 25, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Nice piece Atoke…
    I never used to hug while growing up cos…I felt that it wasn’t in my DNA.
    Now, I love to hug a lot and cuddle but sometimes I’m shy to, cos I’m not really used to it.
    I’ll start hugging a lot more because friends really need it and I do too.

  3. Que

    August 25, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I love hugs and will take them as long as long as u’re not a stranger feelink funky…. with d significant other, spooning sends me to the 9th heaven…I can stay dat way for weeeks!

    I connect thru hugging, so its easily to tell when I have disconnected from someone close…i just will not be able to bring myself to hug u as I would…. #Teamplayfulembrace all day, errday!

  4. www.thelmathinks.blogspot.com

    August 25, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Amala and booze? That made me quite nauseous.
    I’m a hugger myself but I’ve learnt in ‘curb’ it. I’ve noticed some people are actually alarmed when you see them and rush to embrace them, they either have this look of confusion or panic in their eyes.
    Some people don’t understand the magic in hugs, I remember teaching someone how to hug, how to just hold someone warmly and feel the flow of comfort, love and warmth move from one person to the next, he still thanks me for it.

  5. Mama Mia!!!

    August 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Def not in these Ebola times. I ain’t even shaking no one yet… But, yeah I do love a good squeeze conveys that message that words probably never would…

  6. Mz Socially Awkward...

    August 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I don’t like being touched by anybody that I don’t have an emotional affinity with but once I find that connection, I turn into a great big hugger. Unless it’s blokes, then it’s got to be the “side-hug” so that we don’t deal with the weirdness of my boobs being pressed up against your chest. With chicks and kids, though, it’s a wrap-arms-around crushing embrace.

    And stop describing my work life this year… re the Hamster reference. Even my boss’ wife had to hesitantly remind me that I should be taking my holidays. Me come dey wonder wetin she and her husband dey gossip me for inside “dia” bedroom. *side-eyeing them both, with some appreciation that they were thinking of my well-being*.

    It’s definitely important to keep sharing the advice about stopping to smell the roses. And to also regularly ask the people and colleagues around you how they’re doing/coping. You never know who’s at breaking point and how far a kind word or gesture will go to push them away from the edge. Although, saying that, I brought my vexation with me to work today and unleashed a couple of abrupt responses uopn an annoying somebori who was asking me questions he should be answering for himself (… “ah mean”, in all seriousness, what are you the blinking PM for??). I’m all about showing kindness but some people will test your limits, mehnn…

    “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr Gary Chapman is an amazing resource for anyone struggling to understand how to express their feelings and what love-language category they fall under. I know it’s written mainly for couples in relationships but I think it’s also a great book to use as a tool for finding out how you personally receive the love shown by others.

    • nanciejul

      August 25, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Funny thing, I read the book a few years ago and came across it when I visited my parents to pick afew things. (My younger sister won’t let me be “come and pack your load to your hubby’s house jor”)

  7. YMC

    August 25, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Well, i think i’m a ‘hugger’ … But even though i really like the feel of hugging and being hugged, i feel PURE love when i receive gifts. It’s funny that the gifts don’t have to be anything mega, just a little thoughtful ‘something’ here and there. I wish my husband would do this more often 🙂 .

  8. Radiant

    August 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I am a hugger. I haven’t always been. But now that I am, there’s no going back. *wink and smile*

  9. Thor Odinson

    August 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I only hug my kids for hugging sake, any woman I hug is simply a preamble to knacking

    • The hugger and the huggee

      August 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      CLOWN!!!!!!LOL!!

  10. chung

    August 25, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Love this feature. Anyways, i am not much of a hugger and when i go the extra mile, i feel awkward about it just because it feels so weird… i’m quite reserved and believe in maintaining your personal space. ok! said my bit.

  11. lollly

    August 25, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    i just love to be held, cuddled and hugged by that special somebody…
    hmm Atoke, dis Mo that is always there for you…i think you guys should explore and take your friendship to the next level (if he is single). Once had someone like that in my life, i was too blind and lived in denial….

    • nwanyi na aga aga

      August 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      I was actually thinking the same thing..Lol!

  12. beautifulonyinye

    August 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I love hugging but my major love language is gifts.Giving and and receiving gifts.When I love someone,siblings,relatives,friends I can’t help myself but give,give and give.

  13. nammy

    August 25, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I have 3 types of hugs- the one I get from my bf after a long day at work under the dictatorship of my boss ( Gusau, yes u- am not scared cos I can’t imagine u visiting Bella naija) , weh if I stop over at his place he’ll open up his long arms nd receive me into his warm embrace yle I rest my head on his pot belly as he asks me how my day was and I proceed to rant about my annoying boss nd colleagues.Trust me that hug is heavenly!
    The 2nd hug is the one reserved for friends nd family-I give it happily nd wholeheartedly especially when I haven’t seen them in a while.
    The 3rd hug is the fake hug-I reserve it for those who feel they must b hugged- like wen i stroll into sch and my classmates r all standing around B’ block waiting for a lecturer to waddle his way down and we do the normal What’s up, what’s up but some just want a hug so I give them the- fake, side I don’t care, what’s ur problem, didn’t we c yesterday hug.
    Hugging is beautiful! .

    • jcsgrl

      August 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Lol at nammy. Love your hug descriptions oh especially that one from your beloved. It melts all fears doesn’t it?
      I love giving and receiving hugs from women and kids. For guyns, its on a close to you biologically or friend basis

  14. menoword

    August 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I like to hug, but I can take it or leave it. Infact if I don’t know you – leave it. Don’t be coming into my space and touching me and invading my privacy! Bleurgh! I feel you on the hamster wheel life…we tend to forget don’t we? It’s good for us to remind ourselves every so often that there is a life to be lived…by us…while we still can.

  15. TA

    August 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    I don’t like to be hugged at all. Close or not. Touching I can endure if we are really close or if you are family.My ‘ shrink’ friend keeps trying to psycho- analyse me. Lol! I tell am say’ Am fine but no be by force to hug or squeeze me. But I do hug family and really close pals when they initiate it. Its just not my thing. If you really need it though,I can give it.
    @ Atoke,here’s sending a dozen e-hugs your way. Stay warm and strong. 🙂
    Have a great week y’all.

    • Africhic

      August 25, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Like me. I am not a hugger. Don’t like being touched.

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      August 26, 2014 at 10:48 am

      You know, I used to not like to be touched. In fact, I so abhorred it, I found it hard to hug even family members. But after being in relationships where I have given and received love, it has become easier over time. Of course I am highly selective about the toucher or touchee, but when I do hug, I realize its a gift and I give it freely; one that often comes accompanied with so much warmth and a smile.

  16. babygiwa

    August 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Dearest Atoke, you are just the best. Your articles and my ‘system’ just connect like nothing else. I’m such a big hugger! As long as we are close friends or family and you smell nice, lobatan

  17. Iyke

    August 25, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    When am watching TV, I like to snuggle up close with the one I love. Sitting across the room from each other in separate chairs may feel comfortable to my or her body, but it isn’t fulfilling to my heart.
    Although I snore sometimes which can be irritating, I also love bedtime cuddling which helps sustain a long-term loving connection. Yea, she may want to have her space, that’s ok, but at least 15 mins of touching before she goes to her side of the bed won’t hurt.
    Folks, We all need to be touched! Science tells us that the need for physical contact is present at birth and is an important part, perhaps the most important part of our species heritage.
    I guess am fortunate! My days are filled with touch, contact, and opportunities to give and receive physical affection. A ‘real’ hug, from someone who knows and cares about us, may be best.
    But any hug is better than no hug.

  18. lol

    August 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    hugging things not my deal, “germophobe” things. The only person I love to hug and touch me is my hubby and I don’t even know how that came about but yes I agree with Atoke because someone does not show love the way you expect them to does not mean they do not love you, I learnt that with my now sis-in-law. I am a gift and service person, if I love you, you will know by the gifts (my friends and family tell me I have a gift for giving cos I take time to know what you really need/want) I give you and how I always make myself available. But hug naahhh just weird.

  19. Chinma Eke

    August 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I’m a hugger and a cuddler. I love to give and get, its just heavenly (even ebola can’t stop me).
    This article just gets me, I’m in a mushy mushy mood right now, and its just Monday!!!!!!!
    We’ll survive!

  20. www.idolorsdomain.wordpress.com

    August 25, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    A hugs person, that’s me. To family and close, used – to – my- huggy- ways – friends. And don’t have problems with those who don’t hug. A smile can suffice. Each to his/her own.

  21. Emerald-Fashion Blog (plus-size fashion)

    August 25, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Just hug when its necessary… Some hugs come with deceptive mindset… sha do you thing

  22. ify

    August 25, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I don’t like hugging. Igbo women do it a lot.

  23. Ruby

    August 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    First off, Atoke love Give me the cupcake..ain’t taking celery sticks *eyes rolling

  24. Joan85

    August 25, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    I’ve never been a hugger…well, except with my boo. I can hug and cuddle all day, no complaints lol.

  25. DOO

    August 25, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    After having the main meal, I typically give a hug as dessert

  26. portia

    August 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    @Iyke,i like your comment….now am feeling all mushy inside. I havnt been hugged tight in a very very very long time..#sad#. Its all good tho.

  27. sadidy

    August 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    my first boyfriend taught me how to receive and enjoy hugs. I’ll forever be grateful to him. prior to that time, i was very averse to any bodily contact and used to avoid hugs and all that. now, i reach out and hug my family members and friends too. in fact, now i crave hugs, if im feeling low, a bear hug from a close friend or lover would melt it all away. sadly, currently, im in a place where i dont have any close friends or family nearby, so it hurts sometimes. eg, yesterday i was talking to my neighbour and i just felt like wrapping myself in his embrace because i was feeling so sad and lonely. thank God i didnt sha. LOL

  28. Single Shalewa, Bitter Bintu!

    August 25, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I always tell people around me – never underestimate the power of a hug. Never.

    I grew up not being hugged or cuddled (my mum is not that cuddly or mushy) so i was a bit ‘hug-starved’. Then I met my husband – shege! Dude can hug/cuddle for Africa. His PDA is on another level and I’m such a ridiculous hugger now. I’m a very touch person – if i like you niyen.

  29. Chika

    August 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I’m the mum of hugs and cuddles, I love to hug and cuddle!!!!!

  30. j4judith

    August 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    My hugs depend on my mood n d person involved. Some people hug lk they want 2 choke u,others just do not know how to hug. but a good hug on a good day…oh yes

  31. Tru

    August 25, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    That’s why there’s a big stuffed animal on my bed 😀

  32. noname

    August 25, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    i am most definitely a hugger. i hug everyone around me- my kids, my siblings, my friends. my ex husband wasnt very affectionate and i was starved in that relationship. id come back from work and stretch my hands wide looking for affection but he’d look at me like i’m an alien. we dint kiss for close to 3years and we were married. and i swear to you i dont have bad breathe! now im with someone who loves me soooooooo much and isnt ashamed to show it. he can hug me anywhere, anytime regardless of who is watching. after laying it down good he would open his arms and cuddle for at least 30 minutes (he says ‘he’s bringing me back to earth) lol! the first thing he does whenever he sees me is wrap me in his arms. gosh, im in love with being in love again.

  33. ndi

    August 25, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    @no name, you made my day. Seriously, I am Lol. Thanks for the laugh.

  34. DIG

    August 25, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    i’m a hugger, thats wen it comes to close family, and friends. Boo gets all the hugs usually. But if i dont know u, and ure touching me……u will hav to deal with whatever u get o….

  35. SAP HCM

    August 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    For me , when the hug flows freely, you definitely know its from my heart. I attended an all girls’ school and when we see each other when school resumes, we scream each others name and hug real tight. I’m the only hugger in my family. I hug grandparents, granduncles, sister, cousins, toddlers and even peck sef, depending on how the love is catching me. Once i cannot hug you, that’s a clear sign its over ohh!!!. I’m single now, but my ex knows i can cuddle and hug for Africa. Coincidentally, i don’t like kissing but love to be pecked everywhere.

  36. jumai

    August 25, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Same here…,,huge hugger! My ex gave the warmest hugs and he body felt so warm and cozy ,……too bad dats the only way he knew how to show love, cold stiff in other ways barely called and all……had to let go cos I couldn’t keep imagining the abundant reserve of love I wasn’t getting……..****#wipes tears#

  37. ijebu boy

    August 26, 2014 at 4:25 am

    @SAP HCM Pecked everywhere… i read meanings lol

  38. Queen of Everything

    August 26, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I know I’m late (bank holiday yesterday)
    But i looooveee to hug, I love hugs and cuddles
    I have a few friends who don’t like hugging but they are used to me now,
    i “by force by force” hug them (they enjoy is secretly) 😀

  39. Aderonke says #Bring BackOurGirls#

    August 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Can I hug you please Atoke? lool I never used to hug but had to cos of a wonderful friend who gave me when i needed it most and it was so soothing.
    And now I am a die hard hugger….. lol.

  40. Fite

    August 27, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Hug…mmmmhhhmmm….I don’t do hugs
    Boo on the other hand can win the guiness world record for hugging and PDA…..

  41. Audrey

    August 27, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I like to receive hugs. It just doesn’t click for me to give it. shy maybe? forget about? I don’t really know. Until someone stretches their arms first, I’m not hugging.Every once in a while,I’d remember and hug though.

  42. Nat

    August 27, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I loooooooooooooovvvvvvveeeeeeeeee huuuuuuugggggssss and I also give them freeely, infact a full on British hug sef, doesn’t matter who you are as long as your are receptive of it. I have a rule, I do not shake females. I find it so awkward, so I hug instead.
    I remember my shock when one my friends then in high school was so averse to hugging, you would literally have had to kill her first before hugging her.
    But then funny enough, that is about the only body contact I allow with others, desist kissing most especially, ewwwwww (lol, am weird like that)

  43. Flames

    August 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Is dia any oda form of greeting apart 4rm hugging?:D I even 4get abt Ebola till I’ve done d hugging den I covertly give u side eye bt if u’re nt willing, I’ll jst smile @ u n wave cos I’m nt used 2 handshakes

  44. T.girl

    September 3, 2014 at 10:56 am

    i like huggggggsssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and hugging someone big or very tall??? count me in

    • Ada Ada

      September 8, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Lol…….me too

  45. di

    September 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    seriously…im such a hugger! which is d direct opposite of my darling sis…the dilema here is that her hubby seems to be a hugger too so its stimes wierd wen i visit and her hubby stands to give me a big bear hug, while she just sits and says ‘ babe ow far?

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