Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Julia's HUGS Method (Humor Ultimately Gives Strength)--HUGS to you!

I am a hugger. I hug everyone. Without exception. A mauling, Jim aptly calls it. When someone extends a hand, I brush past it and go in for the embrace. Usually, people are surprised but grateful for the gesture. I believe a hug removes barriers and creates an aura of warmth.

I’ve been warned about hugging certain people who may find it inappropriate or who might not be receptive. Once, while doing a presentation at a hospital’s annual executive meeting. I was cautioned about hugging the CEO. He just isn’t the hugger type, I was told. Why, I thought, would I change who I am because of another’s insecurities?

Recently, my husband and I went out to dinner at a new trendy restaurant located in an office park. Trolling for a parking space (the place was mobbed), we noticed a car parked in a handicapped space without a placard; a woman stood at the driver side door talking to a person within.

“Excuse me, do you have a handicap placard?” Jim asked politely. Expecting to hear, “Yes, thanks for asking. I’ll post it,” we were greeted instead with a stream of obscenities.

“You f#*&ING B@#$TARD. Mind your own f*#@ing business.” The fusillade continued as the woman assisted her husband into the restaurant. The effect was jarring
“Wow, Jim, I think she may start a riot in the restaurant. Hope they’re seated by the time we get in there,” I said. But of course there they were, standing just inside the door as we entered and walked past them to the hostess desk.

As I was checking on our reservation, Jim approached the woman and said, “Hey, I didn’t mean to offend you. I am sorry you took it that way. We are on the same side of the issue.” She responded with the same venomous verbal assault we were subjected to outside, with no regard for those within earshot.

“You f#$*ing a@#$hole. How dare you question me? I’ve been dealing with people like you for 35 years. I am sick of this f*&(ing sh#t every time I go out.” I approached as she continued to spew, noticing that her husband stood away, facing the wall, obviously embarrassed by, but used to, his wife’s outburst. I felt bad for him.

“I am sorry that you are so angry with us, but surely you have had experiences where people abuse handicap parking. I find that people tend to treat it as a 10-minute-only waiting area. If you had posted your placard, we wouldn’t have had occasion to ask.” The woman couldn’t hear what I was saying because of her relentless ranting.

Without really thinking, I got very close to her and said, “You need a hug.” I enveloped her in my arms and gave her a signature mauling. Her whole body bristled and stiffened. I whispered in her ear, “I am so sorry for the pain you are feeling. I have been through some hard times too. I understand. Although you are angry and hurt by what life has dealt you, there are good things in life too. It is a choice whether you make an effort to see and experience them.”

With that, we were called for our table. As I released my bear hug, her rigid body softened, and she sheepishly said, “Have a nice dinner.” I replied, “You too, enjoy your evening.”

As we were being seated, Jim said, “I thought for sure she was going to repel your hug with a slug. I can’t believe you did that.”

“Me either. I didn’t give it any thought. It was just automatic; I certainly didn’t know how she would respond. Sure glad it turned out OK.”

Joining us shortly thereafter, our dining companions recounted their conversation as they approached the restaurant. My girlfriend said to her husband. “Do you think Jim and Julia are here yet?” Her husband replied, “If you see a commotion, you’ll know they’re here.”



Anonymous Amy said...

I just finished reading your book and although I wish that you did not have to go through what you did I am grateful that I have read your book. I appreciate what I have learned from you and do hope that you post when you get to ride your rollerblades with your son. God Bless you and all of your loved ones.

1/02/2011 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have a message for the webmaster/admin here at

Can I use some of the information from this post above if I give a backlink back to your website?


3/23/2011 8:26 PM  
Blogger Julia Fox Garrison said...

Hi Jules! I'm glad you like the post, but before giving permission I need more information. I certainly wouldn't want my material on some unsavory site! ;-)
Could you please provide the nature of how it will be used and for what publication. It also would be helpful if you provided your full name and contact information so that I am assured that this isn't spam mail. If you prefer to take this offline, please email me at:
HUGS (Humor Ultimately Gives Strength!) -julia

3/24/2011 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very informative post, I ought to speak. This post is fully encouraging in its own ways and I am confident that it will even succeed in encouraging other people like me.And yes i have bookmarked your site .

4/15/2011 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Michelle Secord said...

Hi Julia,
I just happened upon your site, well actually I don't believe in coincidences, I'm a Christian and I think everything happens for a reason!(no pun intended!) haha :) I'm 52 tomorrow (I think it's 52) and I had a stroke in 2007. I also have had Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue pretty severely since 2001. My stroke almost took my life, or more to the point the double pneumonia and the drug induced coma; it was when they woke me up that they discovered that I had had a right-sided stroke (surprise!) I, like you know that I'm still here for a reason. After I first got sick with the Fibro, I started writing poems, lots of poems, and I had NEVER written ANYTHING in my life, so I knew they weren't coming from me. They weren't. Soon the Lord had me sending them and a really beautiful little prayer/prose book someone had blessed me with (well, not THAT same book :)) to other people who were having a hard time. So, a ministry was born. there was a pause after the stroke, seeing as I had to re-learn all the basics. And I was just getting to be a good typist when the stroke hit! Now I use my right index finger and the hunt and peck method! Si I'm still doing and enjoying my ministry, it's actually an honor to be able to bless others and I really mean that, I'm not trying to be gushy or anything. But lately, I've felt like the Lord wants me to tell my Fibro story. There are so many of us out there, suffering in silence mostly. A new facebook page just went up H.O.P.E.Foundation Spreading Fibromyalgia Awareness and there is just SO much pain there. Fibro and CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) have a lot in common. They both attack multi-systems, cause systemic debilitAting pain and fatigue, Fibro is like having having a super flu from hell 24/7 that never rests but you LOOK JUST FINE so nobody believes you're sick! So we get a lot of "it's in your head because you're an emotional woman" kind of garbage but you're too exhausted to fight for yourself. Anyway, so I feel this call on my heart to write my story but oh man, let's just say God would have to move mountains to keep me going...which He's totally capable of. And I honestly, truly, do not know why I am sharing ALL of this with you, a TOTAL stranger, except it feels like you would get it. And just maybe you could give me some kind of a clue where you start telling a 10 year saga that includes an illness that pulled the rug out from under our lives, stole our they were...pretty much moved me to existence in bed, had seizures and a stroke along the way, my husband was a 40 year alcoholic who JUST got delivered 2 weeks ago PRAISE GOD, BUT life still went on; I set up my "desk" every day on my bed; my laptop, my Bible, notebooks, whatever book or books I'm reading, or trying to(short attention span) :) and I carry on with my ministry. HOW do I put that ALL in a book? I know you have NO reason to help a stranger,but something tells me we'd like each other. My kids tell me I'm extra "fiesty" since my stroke, not sure what they mean.
Anyway, I didn't mean to ramble on like that. I loved your Julia's HUGS Method article and I look forward to reading your book.
And I'm REALLY glad I just "happened" upon your page.
Michelle Secord
P.S. I have a blog too it's at

11/04/2011 12:38 PM  

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