I have always despised tickling. I mean, maybe despised isn’t strong enough of a word actually. I don’t like to be touched in any way, but tickling?
Get the hell away from me.
Who enjoys that, really? Somebody is putting their hands on your body and applying pressure and digging their finger tips into you and it is uncomfortable to the point that you want to cry but you physically have to laugh because it’s your bodies natural reaction? What kind of cruel, twisted irony is that?
Tickling is like the mild, unassuming cousin of sexual abuse. It’s not quite as bad as it’s counterpart and people really feel out of sorts asking somebody not to do it so it continues. In many ways society has deemed it to be a semi acceptable form of touch so people can get away with it even if they know it makes the person being tickled uncomfortable.
I know I’m rambling but I focused on a memory today and made myself own it. I have had this memory and kept it with me for thirty some odd years but never let myself think about it too much.
Today I did.
And because I did I got angry, had a terrible day, snapped at everyone and want to eat ice cream.
Instead I’m going to write about it. I think writing is helping. I’m still trying to figure that out.
I’m about 5 or 6. I’m sitting with this guy in a chair in our living room.To this day I have no clue who this guy was. It never occurred to me until today that I should ask. I remember both of my parents being there. It was in our house. I think there was a party or something. A birthday maybe? There were a lot of people there, mostly adults. I have had this short film in my head forever and I never put in in slow motion. Today the more I think about it I really can’t remember any other kids being in the room that day but the memory insists that it was some sort of child celebration thing.
So I’m sitting with this guy and he is tickling me, He really wasn’t doing anything inappropriate (beside putting his hands all over my body as I was screaming for him to stop) and I cannot in any way place it near close to other, more uncomfortable situations I have had the pleasure of being forced to endure. What makes the memory a lasting and terrible one is how when I begged him to stop he would just laugh more and of course I was laughing too because that is the bodies natural reaction to tickling. Not because there was a damn thing humorous about this situation. So I’m screaming at him to stop but laughing at the same time. And all of the other adults in the room were laughing uncontrollably like this was the best live comedy show they had ever seen. Now mind you I’m begging him stop. Nobodies making a move to help me.
Great looking out grown ups. Top notch parenting moment. I then tell him I have to pee and he has to stop because I really have to go but I’m laughing as I’m saying it so maybe I was sending mixed messages.You know how us little kids can be so manipulative and all. Clearly if I was laughing I must have been having a grand old time and all of the adults were laughing so obviously we were having fun.
Then it happens.
I pissed all over the guy.
He pushed me off his lap in horror and started yelling at me. Great. Yes, obviously my fault. Even worse? My parents yelled at me too. Sent me to my room like I committed some major crime. Other people in the room were laughing at him now which was making him even more angry. I couldn’t get out of that room fast enough and I was completely mortified.
I have thought about that moment dozens and dozens of times over the years but I forced myself to think that it wasn’t that big of a deal. I was just being tickled after all.
Kids love to be tickled.