I’ve been experiencing new touch. I realise I’m far from experiencing skin hunger now. I can’t even remember what it’s like to yearn for touch after doing so for years. It’s like this frequent touch has erased all loneliness.
He holds me so tight I might burst. My love is so willing and eager to touch me – day and night. Sometimes I’ve pushed him away, because I’m not in the mood – and then I feel guilty because of just how unreserved he is, and remember how much I wanted this touch.
My boy has been touching my face. He makes my ear tickle – I only know what it feels like to have skin removed from outside and in my ear. That’s clinical touch, never pleasurable touch. (Except for the surgical removal of skin – that feels amazing! I joked to him that having my ears cleaned out at the hospital feels so good that we might have to introduce a surgical ear vacuum into the bedroom.)
He feels the contrast of an oily face in the day and a dry rough and flaky face in the morning. There are a few hours in the evening when my face is at an equilibrium – relaxed enough to be paler and supple, and the cream is soaked in.He caresses my face with the same tenderness – no matter how my skin feels or looks. He says I’m most beautiful in the morning before a shower. I still don’t believe him.
If only we could see ourselves as our partners do, hey?
Abu Dhabi airport was a caring experience. I had a brief stop there on my flight home from London.
After going through security upon arrival, I was ushered silently to a seating area where I was gestured to wait. I was so worried, not sure why I placed in a holding area, and really wanted to have a shower in the two hour stop between flights. Finally a senior security officer called the doctor for me, to see if I was ok after the flight from London. I told him I didn’t need one and that I’m always red. He thanked me and smiled and let me go. While it was initially a little scary and I envisaged all sorts of tabloid border security TV show type situations happening to me.
I had a shower. The lovely cleaner attending the bathroom said she had a 12 hour shift ahead of her. She works 12 hour days in that toilet block with only one day off a month. We chatted and she told me she was from Uganda, working at the airport and thinks of her family back home every minute of the day. She asked me if I was going to dry my hair, and then ushered me to sit on her chair under the hand dryer. She then – without hesitation – dried my hair with her hands, so gently and thoroughly. What a wonderful woman. I hope she gets home to see her family soon.
It was so nice. I know that I must seem to always be banging on about how people perceive my skin/appearance, but when something like this happens – when a stranger touches me with no hesitation or questions or fear, it is amazing.
I’ve had two manicures while on holiday. One in Earls Court – just because I wanted to rest and be pampered, and one in Melbourne. While a couple of questions were asked – “is that eczema?” – the makeup artists provided the same level of service to me as they did to the other clients. That sounds like a silly, paranoid statement I know, but hesitation and a low quality haircut and interaction has been my experience at hairdressers.
I never wanted anyone else to touch my hands. While my hands and nails are beautifully shaped like my mother’s, and quite soft and not very lizardy, I never want people to be put off by loose skin or the oiliness. I don’t want someone to think that I’m contagious, and I don’t know how to tell them that I’m not if there’s a language barrier.
These two manicures were lovely – relaxing and pampering – and my nails looked great. I feel like I’ve gotten over my fear of rejection and recoiling of hand holding by nail technicians. And now I’m addicted to manicures – off to have another very soon! I might make it a regular thing. I’ve also had some consultations with hairdressers and makeup artists at a wedding fair – and they were so amazing! I said to Cheryl that I was so happy with the consultation that I felt ‘normal’. Normal you know!
Through reading others’ experiences about Ichthyosis and also writing my own, I’ve delved into some difficult times of my past. I’ve been thinking about how my oily cream has been an inconvenience to some people in my life. I’ve constantly felt guilty about getting my cream on other people when hugging them and touching them. This was probably because of how people have reacted to it – people close to me even – complaining about my cream staining their clothes and cleaning up immediately after I have touched something in their home. This really hurt. I’m not sure whether people realise the impact of this ‘inconvenience’ on them.
While I know that getting things oily is something that is just a part of me, the reaction and complaints from others is the reason I feel guilty today. It’s the reason I’m hesitant about giving hugs. I always rub my cream off Adam’s face, and brush my skin from his clothes. He tells me never to apologise about me getting my cream on him, because that’s the way it is. But I will always remember how those around me used to react and feel annoyed about my cream, so I will always apologise.
I’ve realised that while I’m not a fan of the term ‘normal’ and feel proud confident in my own skin (and every piece I leave behind), I still have to build my confidence when it comes to touch. I’m so glad Adam has taken my hand and helped me overcome my own reservations of being touched.