Would You Ever Go To A Cuddle Party?

Today, I learned that “Cuddle Parties” exist.  And I also learned that I’m totally late to the game because, according to their official website, they’ve been around for 11 years!  I couldn’t write an un-biased summary of it so here’s the blurb from their site:

You can come to a Cuddle Party to meet new people, to enjoy amazing conversations, to touch, to be touched, to have fun, to practice asking for what you want, to practice saying “no” to what you don’t want — all in a setting structured to be a safe place for exploration and enjoyment. Shucks, you can even come to a Cuddle Party just to cuddle!

Cuddle Party is not a sexual event! It’s not a hook-up or dating scene. It’s common to make new friends, and occasionally people have met dating partners, but mostly it’s about friendship and learning nurturing touch.

I dove in to the internet rabbit hole and set out to read the experiences of people who’ve been to an actual Cuddle Party; one good resource was this Reddit AMA of a Cuddle Party Attendee, with over 800 comments.

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On Being a [Depressed] Introvert, Part II

Part I of the angst here.

ADHD? Neurosis? Depression? I’ve never been diagnosed by a doctor, but a diagnosis is not going to suddenly put my life together in a perfectly wrapped package. There is no magic bullet, no panacea that can suddenly make me in to a functioning and affable member of society. There are things I do know, problems that interrupt life and frustrate me to no end. I’ve read that a lot of adults with ADHD become depressed because they get frustrated with their inabilities to focus and control their mind, while most adult peers can do it so easily. I fall in to this camp.

Other people don’t fidget, don’t pick at their nails or constantly have to move and shift. Other people take up knitting because they like making things. I took up knitting because even while watching an engrossing television show, I still need to do SOMETHING with my hands. Otherwise I can’t watch the show, I can’t focus on it. My feet, if bare, always rub against something or each other. I prefer one on one hangouts with friends because any more and I don’t know who to pay attention to.  Little sounds, like chair squeaks, freezer hums, birds chirping, they all distract me while talking to someone or watching TV.  I feel like a nervous squirrel, always on high alert for any new thing on the premises.

As an introvert, I tend to like being alone.  But even we can get depressed, and this manifests itself as such….I come home, look forward to being alone, but upon realizing I’m alone I become horribly, uncontrollably lonely.  I feel abandoned, and I don’t feel that I am alone by choice, I feel like I am alone because no one wants to be with me.  Which is irrational, completely untrue, and yet I find myself believing it wholeheartedly in those moments.  First, the emotions all hit me, and then after experiencing the emotion my brain comes up with reasons to be sad.  I imagine possible futures, but all of them sinister.  In my deepest fantasies during this time, where anything can happen, my mind imagines the worst scenarios.

Every day is a struggle to control my mind.  With the way I get distracted by things in an ADHD way, I have to cull the triggers….avoid certain websites or the internet all together.  Avoid talking to certain people.  Avoid instant messangers, though I leave it on in case there’s something important (we communicate through it at work).  There are so many moments in the day where I make a choice to avoid this, don’t do that, so I can concentrate on doing something productive.  But all it takes is one little slip…one tiny misstep.  And I slide down so far.  There is no room for error.

This is the best way I can describe it.  It’s like my mind is a runaway train. I can see we’ve flown past the sign that reads, “Point of No Return”, I can see the train tracks are wrecked in front of us and things need to stop or it’ll go from bad to worse.  I can see all that, but all the levers are greased, and no matter how hard I try I can’t regain control of the train.  I can’t stop this disaster from happening, despite being painfully aware that what I’m doing should be stopped.

I strayed from the first idea I was trying to expound….but going back to it and to reiterate, a diagnosis is not going to help me.  I don’t need a pill to sedate myself.  What I need is coaching..what I need is practice and hardwork.  I need to perfect the techniques that steer me away from the distractions, that teach me to put myself in a scenario where I can focus and get things done.  I need to know how to manipulate the world so that I can function like a normal human being and not just cry myself to exhaustion.  However, when I do cry myself to exhaustion, it leaves me bereft of any more feelings.  Then I can finally focus on getting work done.

On Being an Introvert

It’s the 21st century, and monumental conversations happen through text.  One could say this is a breach of tradition, that the medium of the conversation belittles the gravity of a situation.  And that can be true – it’s bad form to break up over text, and bad form to propose marriage over text.

But there are many people that only find their voice through writing.  Thomas Jefferson wrote eloquently, but could never master public speaking; his yearly “State of the Union” speech was always written on paper and delivered to Congress…never orated.  As an introvert, this is easy to relate to.  It takes much less courage to write a text and send it, and it often feels like there’s one less filter between the brain and fingers compared to the brain and the mouth.  Holding my own in a verbal debate is nearly impossible, yet a written one (even with instant feedback, like a real conversation) is not just manageable but winnable.  I think it’s great that text messaging gives us introverts the opportunity to speak the words that are too difficult to say out loud.  It means that hard-to-bring-up-conversations actually do get to be discussed, and the earlier the better.

I know I’m speaking in vague terms.  But tonight was a good night.  I didn’t think it would be, but when words flow and no one is shy….when everyone is purely honest, amazing things happen :)