A client I recently saw, who has severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, wrote this note that she wanted me to share:
For the Cuddle Curious:
This was my first time with a professional cuddlist, and while I wasn’t sure what to expect, I’m so glad I did it. Nellie was respectful, warm, present, and communicative, and she put me at ease. I loved the playful energy of it, and loved being encouraged to ask for exactly what I needed, and to think about what that really was in the moment. Nellie was body-positive, disability-positive, perceptive, self-aware, and quickly able to squelch any pre-loaded shame I might have about asking for the legitimate human need to be touched and feel affection — which so many of us need and are reluctant to ask for, or don’t know how. I also appreciated there wasn’t an expected way to cuddle, that it had a freeform quality. Going into it, I asked myself what made cuddling different from another form of bodywork, or therapy. I think my greatest fear was that it would feel contrived or silly or not “real,” and I quickly realized that had a lot to do with cultural shaming around simply asking for these essential needs for touch and affection and human connection, no matter how primary and essential and transformative they can be. The main difference to me was a greater feeling of mutuality/just connecting versus something like massage, which felt important to me because I wanted to have an interaction and not just lay on a table, as well as a genuine sense of directness and being able to ask for what I wanted or needed. It felt much more personal and caring than an average massage, and also about acknowledging the need to address emotional neglect and other forms of more subtle pain, by going directly into a healing space. It’s great to be embraced as a whole person, not just a series of thoughts, or musculture — and that’s what makes cuddling unique, fun and empowering.
— Beth, Western Massachusetts
Many thanks to Beth for her vulnerability in sharing!
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