My Skin is Starving

A TSA agent was going through my things. I had been pulled to the side for additional screening. There was confusion around my legal name change and apparently my legal documents weren’t enough to ensure I wasn’t a threat. Apparently.

Another TSA agent was standing next to him speaking words I was unable to hear.

The third TSA agent, a woman, approached me. “This is what is going to happen”, she stated. “I am going to do a full body scan. I will have to touch you all the way up to your sensitive areas.”

Sensitive areas?! Tears streamed from my eyes without my conscious permission. I tried to contain them, but I couldn’t stop crying. I felt embarrassed. The TSA agent continued to talk but I didn’t hear anything she said after ‘sensitive areas.’

Stop crying Kai. Get it together. Words I had told myself so many times and never thought I would have to repeat in an airport surrounded by strangers. I felt vulnerable. I try with everything in my being to stop crying. The tears continue.

The thing is… I have a hard time with touch. When hands collide with my body. My skin. Feelings explode like fireworks on the 4th of July.

The TSA agent has stopped talking and I am breaking down.

Stop crying Kai. It’ll be over before you know it. You are safe. She won’t hurt you.

That’s what my dad said. I was special. I was his favorite and he loved me more than my sisters. He didn’t love them as much as me. He said he wouldn’t hurt me. He told me I was safe. He lied. His hands scanned my body all the way to the ‘sensitive areas’.

Studies show that when children are deprived of safe touch and affection or experience sexual and physical abuse, their development is stunted. It can be difficult to receive touch even into adulthood. On the flip side, physical touch is needed to thrive.

The internal dilemma I face: Don’t touch me… Please touch me. Come close. But not too close.

My skin is starving for affection. My constant struggle with skin hunger can feel overwhelming. My need and longing to be touched conflicts with my fear of being touched. My brain and body are at an impasse.

And then there are random moments where I feel triggered; such as standing in an airport. My body and brain are reminded of moments where I felt powerless. Where I didn’t want touch. In these moments, the files within my soul are retrieved and I must read them all over again.

But there is hope. I am healing and I have made progress in allowing myself to receive physical affection. The journey continues.

There is more to be said.

#love and be loved


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