Thank You Hug

Written by Ray Long.

A confession I must make is that I failed my first semester of nursing school.

Luckily, the nursing program allowed students who withdrew to reapply into the program and repeat the first semester. The first teacher I had insulted my intelligence. But repeating the class is one of my accidents that I’m glad happened to me. The result is having a teacher who took pleasure in educating her students.

Today I finished my final exam for my first semester of nursing school. Right before I left, I came up to my professor and extended my arms out with a smile on my face. She came to embrace me in a hug and I whispered “Thank you for everything.”

I don’t remember hugging as much when I was in high school or elementary compared to now. I shied myself away from contact. Talking to someone or answering a question warranted my heart to pump so strongly I felt the palpitations and my ears felt the vibrations. I mostly locked myself in front of a computer screen or played video games in front of a TV waiting for the day to end.

Today I give back breaking hugs where I utilize my martial art abilities to squeeze my friends until they scream in agony until their backs break or suffocate (of course jokingly). I also give hugs when I call it a day. It’s true as studies show; a hug releases oxytocin, the happy hormone. You feel good after hugging someone you appreciate or like.

There have been instances in my life I wanted to hug but I secretly held back because…well, the most I could say is I was afraid, scared, and I stayed in my comfort zone.

A Spanish teacher I had in high school was a great teacher. Last day of class, she offered hugs since it was her last semester teaching. I watched as students came by one by one to show their appreciation and thanks. I decided to just leave since it was the end of class. The second time happened when I was in massage therapy school and I was in my final semester. The teacher I had taught us different types of pathologies and how to treat them using our massage modalities. Again I just watched as each student came one by one hugging her and saying their thanks.

I find it strange that I just stood and watched. My mind said: “Go ahead, give them a hug as a way of saying thank you”.

The other part of me said: “Something embarrassing is going to happen if you go up. Just don’t do it and go home now.”

Today I’m more social than I could ever imagine. Even my past self would ask, “What the heck did you do?”

I think it’s mostly because I started being honest with myself. As the Chinese proverb goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”