“Nothing eases suffering like human touch.”
It’s not uncommon that a lot of humans have never been hugged their whole life, or barely remember when was the last time that somebody hugged them or held their hands when they were feeling gloomy or lonely. Of course during infancy we all have been hugged, kissed and had numerous physical contacts by our loved ones. But what about today?
A pat on the back, a caress of the arm, a hug or a kiss on the forehead by our parents, siblings, or partners-these are some important gestures that we usually take for granted.
From the time we are in the womb of our mother to our elderly years, touch plays a primary role in our development of physical and mental well-being.
In recent years psychological studies tells us that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health. Physical contact inspires positive thinking and expands trust. Physical contact increases the Oxytocin and the Dopamine level, Oxytocin known as the “feel good” hormone, helps us to maintain an optimistic outlook and Dopamine is known to regulate the feeling of pleasure in our brain which is good to counter the feelings of anxiety. Twenty seconds of affection in the form of physical touch by our loved ones (hugging, back rubs, gentle stroking) is enough to trigger the release of oxytocin. Is enough to make somebody smile. Is enough to make somebody feel wanted.
“A human touch is explosive. It’s so warm that it melts away everything, including our ego” says author Uday Mukerji. But what if one person can’t touch the other? The one who they love unconditionally?
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that affects pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestine but most importantly, it affects lungs. It causes many complications with breathing, and coughing up a substance called mucus, which is like a regular happening for people who suffer from CF. As sad as it may sound it is a life threatening disease with a very less life expectancy. Patients with CF have to be kept apart from one another, in order to lower the risk of cross infection. From the book by authors and screenwriter Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis now on which a movie has been made called ‘Five feet apart’ gives us a vivid description of how important human touch is, and how we should not neglect it or take it for granted. Five Feet Apart is basically a story of two teenagers. Stella spends most of her time in the hospital as a Cystic Fibrosis patient, living a life full of routine. Being a patient of such a disease she still tries her best and fulfils her bucket list, tries living her life to the fullest. Will, another patient comes along, who is also suffering from the same disease. Their first encounter was not a perfect one, It was not love at first sight, but opposites do attract, right? As time goes by and they eventually begin to understand each other, they realise they like each other and gradually start falling in love.
Tragically they cannot be like every couple out there, Will and Stella can never kiss, hug or even hold hands, they cannot touch one another considering that they both are CF patients, the fear of hurting one another by their own bacteria was always there. Will not even in his dreams want to hurt Stella so he thinks drifting apart maybe is the plausible thing to do despite the fact that they’re so much in love, but Stella does not want to give up just yet, so they make this five feet apart rule so that they could be together. Yes, a hospital is one of the most unexpected places where one could find romance and fall in love with the other person, but at the end Love is Love. Stella shed his “I don’t care” attitude and teaches Will how to enjoy every little moment in life. This book/movie spreads awareness about cystic fibrosis and the people that have it. It shows that this disease does not define them as a person and there is so much more about them to know and understand.
“Human touch. Our first form of communication. Safety, security, comfort, all in the gentle caress of a finger. Or the brush of lips on a soft cheek. It connects us when we’re happy, bolsters us in time of fear, excites us in times of passion and love. We need that touch from the one we love, almost as much as we need air to breathe. But I never understood the importance of touch. His touch. Until I couldn’t have it”. Says Stella.
After an incident where Stellas’ life was at the stake, Will realises how important she really is to him. He realises that despite the fact that they are so much in love, for each other’s good they are better off without one another, with which Stella, with a heavy heart agrees. Because we all know love requires sacrifice too.
Five feet apart is more than just a love story between two teenagers, Stella and Will. It teaches us a lot of beautiful things. It teaches us how important it is to live. Why to always worry about the what-ifs? ‘If I am going to die, I’d like to actually live first’. It teaches us how love can conquer everything but at the same time it teaches us that love requires sacrifice. And last but not the least it teaches us how important human touch is. That human touch should not be disregarded.
So go live your life to the fullest, do things that you always wanted to do. Put a tick mark while you succeed in doing things that you mentioned in your bucket list. Go give a hug to your mom, your dad or even your sibling. Kiss your little brother or sister’s forehead, remind them how much you love them. And of course do fall in love, spread love. Because, you always gain by giving Love.