Izzi Lynn

skin hunger

this poem is 
not very poetic
but i am not 
very apologetic. 

americans are touch starved. 
i think i can say this with authority. 
i am not a scientist, 
i am an american. 

now that i am old enough
to observe and understand the world around me, 
i can see how twisted we have become. 
we relentlessly push sexuality 
onto young kids
solely for the purpose
of policing it. 
we have adopted such a puritan view on touch, 
as though there is no such thing as platonic touch. 

think about how much you have been touched in the last month. 
how many times have you held hands with someone casually
or leaned your head on their shoulder
or just put an arm around them?
not romantically, 
just, as friends. 
even just writing those casual touch scenarios
feels more like something you would only do
with a significant other. 
which is toxic. 

i used to think
i just didn\'t like physical touch. 
(which confused me, because
i loved casual touch from friends
even if i rarely had the courage
to seek it out). 
i think,
i think i was mostly just afraid. 
it always seemed to good to be true. 
it felt so wrong
to crave casual, platonic touch. 
mostly, i think, 
because i was still in the mindset
that most continuous touch is romantic. 
not like, hugging someone for two seconds when you first see them,
or like, high fiving them. 
i mean like continuous touch,
meaningful touch. 
i used to avoid physical touch almost entirely, 
i think because
i couldn\'t stand getting tiny tastes of it
and not being able to truly sate the skin hunger. 

now i am unashamed
and unapologetic. 
it sort of started
my freshman year
when i learned about
skin hunger, 
and started to understand 
the absolutely craving of platonic physical touch. 
i realized almost immediately 
that i was touch starved. 
it wasn\'t very hard to see. 

when i went to ecuador this summer,
i was embraced by 
so much platonic touch. 
i was so touch starved 
it actually overwhelmed me at first. 
but it was exactly what i needed. 
you see, casual touch is much more accepted in latin american countries, 
in most countries besides america, actually. 

two weeks later i went to the islc, 
an international congress 
of students who are going to change the goddamn world. 
it\'s, in essence, a week long meeting held by the nonprofit, operation smile
to teach young leaders 
skills to grow into their greatness. 

and my god, 
the casual touch. 

there was no shortage of
food for my starving soul. 
i was wrapped in hugs 
by lucy from ghana, 
held hands with nats from guatemala, 
leaned on andres\' shoulder 
(without feeling like it would be construed
as romantic), 
my god i was touched 
and it was amazing. 
there was a visible difference
in my happiness and well being. 
i\'ve never felt so alive. 

i try now to 
incorporate more
platonic touch in my life. 
it\'s kind of difficult sometimes, 
especially because it feels awkward most times, 
but i am trying
and it makes all the difference.