After I got married I felt uncomfortable with my dad kissing me on the lips. He had always kissed me on the lips and I never much cared for it. In the era I grew up in most kids parents kissed them on the lips. My husband’s grandpa who was 96 still kissed his daughter, and me and everyone else in the family on their lips. But I decided I didn’t like my dad to kiss me on the lips anymore for whatever reason and needed to tell him that was the end of that.
I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was 20 years ago. It took weeks to get up the courage to actually speak the words. 20 years ago I had not found my voice yet and was very reluctant to go against any of my family’s wishes. I never stood up for what I wanted or said what made me uncomfortable. It started with dad by me just turning my head. He questioned, why I turned my head. Ugh. Now I had to tell him why. “I just don’t want to kiss you on the lips anymore.” For heaven’s sake I was 24 years old! I shouldn’t have to explain WHY I didn’t want my father to kiss me anymore. But my reasonings were that I was married now and the only lips I wanted touching mine were my husband’s. My father was offended. He was upset. There was talk of other cultures and how fathers should be able to kiss their daughters blah blah blah. This was a pretty big moment for me because for the first time ever, I was telling someone in my family, no. He didn’t kiss me on the lips after that. He tried a few times, forgot I guess, who knows.
This past weekend my husband had gone a few days without shaving. He gave me a kiss and in my head I thought blugh (don’t know if that is a word) becaus the sharp prickles of his upper lip reminded me of my dad. It is 20 years after that confrontation with dad and I look at that scenario completely different now. In many ways I think of it differently. I didn’t JUST want dad to stop kissing me because I was married. I didn’t like the way it felt for my father to kiss me with his moustache. I didn’t like the way it made me feel in general. My father felt it was owed to him. He felt it was his right. No matter my reasons, no one has a right to kiss you that you don’t want to. It goes all the way back to childhood rules that I instilled in my own daughter: I don’t care who it is, family or friend, if you are uncomfortable, then you can say no. I shouldn’t have had to give my dad reasons. I can’t believe I even did. I didn’t want my dad kissing me because my dad hadn’t earned the right to show me affection of any kind. Not even a hug. My dad was often inappropriate, said inappropriate sexual things, commented on inappropriate sexual parts of my body, and it bothers me to this day. So ofcourse I was uncomfortable with his insistence on lip kissing. He didn’t have boundaries so deep down, I just didn’t trust him.
Looking back, that kiss must have REALLY been bothering me, because I never spoke my feelings back then. I never did again until 20 years later, which subsequently led to my entire family disappearing. They don’t like the truth.
You may be 7, 15, 20, or 50, but when you decide that someone kissing or touching you is no longer what you want, they don’t get to question that. You don’t owe them anything. You owe yourself. You owe to respect your own body’s wishes. I used to be a big hugger. Hugged everyone. One day, I didn’t want to be hugged anymore. It felt intrusive. So I stopped huggging. EVERYONE got insulted. Someone goes in for the hug, you put up a hand and step back, well you may as well have right hooked that person in the jaw. What’s the big deal? So I don’t want to hug you. I can list the ways….allergic reactions to fabric softener, perfume, cologne, aftershave, lotion, possible PTSD affects from smells, possible PTSD affects from a closeness I am not comfortable with. I could give all of these reasons, but I’m not going to anymore. I dont like you any less just because at this time in my life I dont feel like you have ig your body smashed against mine. My body is my body for the first time in my life. For an indeterminant amount of time, I don’t want anyone to touch it. I think I’m due that.