Tax time has always been about worry, raising money at the last moment, and horror when I finally see the bottom line and how much I owe to the IRS. (I have to withhold more money each month with each new tax year because the taxable percentages keep going up on my pension, apparently not stopping until I run out of pension or die, whichever comes first. And the Texas Teacher Retirement System has told me they can’t interpret the tax tables correctly, so I have to guess on withholding amounts.)
Last year I owed $750. Trump’s 2017 Tax Bill, the gift that keeps on giving… like a reverse Robin Hood, taking money away from retired pensioners like me to give away to wealthy fire-truckers (pardon my almost-French) in large tax cuts.
Fortunately, after borrowing money to pay off the tax bill, rather than having to beg the government for a payoff plan like I did the previous two years, we got a stimulus check from the government. It covered my debt, and I had enough left over to pay off my $580 tax bill for this year.
So, today, my daughter came to me and told me the new stimulus checks have come. $1,400 dollars! And I don’t owe any of it over tax bills this time. That, of course, explains the title for today. Yes, I give hugs when I’m happy.
But, to be honest, I haven’t always been huggable.
I was traumatized for years by the sexual assault I endured and kept secret from the age of ten. I underwent PTSD-like panics whenever someone tried to hug me. It interfered with my first three girlfriends, and even, at times, my parents and grandparents.
How, then, did I ever achieve huggableness? Well, it was a long road.
It began with my little second cousin, I won’t name him here because he may read this blog, and I have no intention to ever embarrass him. I did, however, name one of the characters in The Baby Werewolf after him. He was an essential part of my life when he was in the third grade and I was in my Senior year of high school, twice his age. I befriended him one Fall morning while waiting for the school bus. He was being picked on by one of the older boys, driven to tears, actually. I bullied the bully who was only in Jr. High and much smaller than me. He had run off behind the firehouse and was apparently planning to miss the bus and run home after it left. I talked him into getting on the bus, and I let him sit with me to keep the bully from retaliating.
After that, I had made a friend. He was constantly seeking me out and talking to me after that. He was a real cuddle-bug too. He would sit in my lap or ask me to carry him around on my back. And to my surprise, the touching I couldn’t stand from anybody else did not bother me a bit with him. He would play Monopoly with me and his brother and some other kids. And he would cheat. But he told me not to tell on him, so I didn’t. He laughed at my jokes. He told me who his secret crush was in school. He told me what he knew about sex from watching animals on the farm. (And he probably knew way more than I did.) And he was the first person I was able to hug in eight long years.
Of course, I would eventually figure out that because he was smaller than me, and a boy… there was no sexual tension between us to trigger my PTSD-like reaction.
So, the healing really began with him in 1974. He’s grown now. Wife and family… boys of his own. I’ve seen him briefly, but repeatedly at family reunions. But, unless he’s reading this now, he probably never knew how important his friendship was to me. I can hug my daughter now, totally huggable, because of him.