What People Like You & I Need

Today’s BDN featured a piece by Kathleen Pierce about a woman who gets it. Lea Moon, owner of Snuggle You Up understands that people need to be hugged, held, and nurtured. It immediately made me think of the Free Hugs Campaign in which a gentle man known as “Juan Mann” (pseudonym) gave hugs to strangers as a random act of kindness. That Ms. Moon can make a living at this is both awesome and incredibly honorable.

I too make my living helping people like me get better. By “like me” I mean misfits – people who just don’t truly fit into mainstream society. Watch Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and reference the “Island of Misfit Toys.” They didn’t fit in, but they found each other and made a family. That’s us.

Misfits are the very best kind of people. Nobody will get you like we will. Nobody will accept you like we will, support you like we will, walk through hell with you like we will. Most of all, nobody loves like we do. We love with abandon and without judgment. We honor what you’ve been through, respect you for who you are today, and help in who you are becoming. We don’t know how to be ashamed of you and we’re not willing to learn so don’t even think it (“If you really knew me you wouldn’t like me”).

One of my favorite things about misfits is that we hug. We just see you and know that you need it. Maybe it’s been way too long since someone held you or maybe it’s just a rough time. My friends in AA and NA are the best at it. Those folks hug at the drop of a hat and it’s so validating. It screams, “You have worth! You are loveable and acceptable just as you are!” Amen.

Misfits notice how you hug. They sense it when you hold your breath, do the one armed embrace, or do the thing I hate the most: man hugs (I care about you but I have to hurt you just a little by slapping your back as a sign to other men who may be watching that I am not attracted to you).

If you have never known the comfort of being held and encouraged to let it out then you are really missing out. If you have not known the joy of doing this for someone else then you have never truly lived. It’s vital. It’s necessary. Whatever it takes to get that has to happen.

If you’re not in a 12 step program or group therapy, misfits can be hard to find. Many of us are difficult to recognize because we look like people who “have their shit together.” The good news is we’re everywhere. The key is to listen to your intuition. Kindred spirits have a way of attracting and recognizing one another, but it’s always gonna be just a little bit of a risk. In effect it’s like saying:

“I’m one…are you?”

Damn right I am! If you need a hug, drop by Tuesdays 2:30-3pm I am officially blocking that time off in my schedule to hug anyone who drops by our place 235 Center Street Brewer (Higher Ground). No questions, no explanations, no charge. Misfits congregate here.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.