I SAT at my Men's Emotional Group tonight and felt happy when I arrived. I talked about feeling overjoyed at having begun the process of confronting my family. Last week it was my brother. This week, we had no agenda. We don't usually have an agenda. Sessions usually start by a 'checkIN', that is, literally a go-around, where everyone talks about how they are feeling in their body (ie. my neck feels tight, there is a knot in my lower back) Then each of us talks about what went on in the past day or two in our lives.
One of the facilitators, Don, talked about being moved by my check in. He remarked that he felt inspired by my excitement. And excited I was and am. In the psycho-dramatic theatre I did last week - the spin off effects have left me with a feeling hope/liberation/and celebration. I walk taller, and spoke more powerfully - fully present in my voice and emotion.
I said that I wanted to achieve more of this, understanding that progress is a process.
It is strange for me to say that, cause I don't value process. I say I do, but really...I don't. I want everything right away. Slowly, that's changing though. But need to be careful not think that the gift I recieved in my sessions will come every week. I'm trying to grasp that everything takes time.
You know, it's funny, cause everything I've been taught says that if I want to feel good, or I want to feel special, or solid in myself - that is all attainable via: the right car, the right house, the right clothes, the right friends, the right stuff.
And though, I knew on an intellectual level that that wasn't the case - it really wasn't until the end of last week's session did I really FEEL the emotional (& crucial) power of counselling work. It is liberation. Period.
In this session, D said a lot was happening for him and asked P for support. Support looked like D sitting in between P legs while P put his hand on D's chest. D's back was against P's chest and stomach. P's head was above D's head, while P's arms were wrapped around him.
I thought: I gotta go. I have to get out of here. So ... I stayed.
Intellectually, it all made sense. One human being wanting care, and another one willingl to give it.
But they were men.
D had been talking about career issues, stuff about his wife, and a general feeling of uneasiness. He articulated that he wanted touch - and even spoke to his fear of judgement from P and myself. He said he was frustrated around ignoring his feminine side, and not giving it equal weight as his masculine side.
I commented (while saying I wanted to GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE, but not actually doing so) that I was tired of those descriptions/expressions - masculine or feminine. What was considered feminine was beaten out of me at home, and that beating was reinforced mentally/ psychically in the outside world, simply by so-called everyday unemotional interactions between men.
Going to the group is like entering another dimension. I really believe in my lovership/partnership with DD. She has pushed me further than anyone probably could, or ever will. She infuses my success at everything and I will never forget this. Her support in my development have let allowed me to trust P and D.
They have encouraged me to grow and expand. They are at least 15 years my senior, and are white. P is a counsellor, is gay [I just put my head in my hands and started to fall asleep on the work station in my house. B, a collective family member just encouraged me to keep writing through my feelings and to not stop - even to describe what I was doing in the moment] [... 30seconds past.. I started to stare off into space again...]D is construction worker and printer, and is straight.
Ok, I definitely had a reaction to me seeing a P, a gay man. It is definitely my stuff around being called queer, fag, whatever growing up. I flash to being a child, and not an adult - and then think, so: what will people think? I take a deep breath.. watch the world around me, remembering it is present day, - not 1987.
Here is some more of what I was thinking and saying in the group:
What they hell am I witnessing? How am I in this setting the three of us being so completely different. Was I going to use our difference to stop me from growing emotionally? This doesn't mean pretending those artificial societal lines don't exist. I'm not saying that. But I have a responsibility to myself to not allow stuff to block my work..
I'm not suppose to be in a room with two men getting support from each other. My model for relationship between 2 men is: my horrible abusive relationship with my brothers, from the past. And so, at play for me was: me wanting to run. But where would I run. I can't run away from my own heart, soul, discomfort.
And, I remember. I remember the feeling I had after the confrontation with my brother. I remember the trust I built up with these two men. And so, I forged ahead.
I watched D receive touch on his body, touch that answered some of this pain, some of his confusion, some of the knots in his frame. I listened to D, as he spoke up feelings of homophobia, and unmanliness. I felt relieved. Glad he brought that up. It had crossed my mind. But after he spoke it, I thought and spoke about how that we men get totally shut down. That's how we stay shells. That's how we don't receive what our bodies need as human beings, regardless of gender: to be nurtured. And for me, it is especially significant from other men specially because I've spent my entire childhood, teen years, and adulthood up to now only understanding nurturing touch from another man as something mythical.. and really an impossibility.
I wanted something different now. And last night, I asked for it.
D had has shifted positions way from P, and the two of them were facing each other. I was right beside them, and at this point, I had my hand on D's hand.
My back started to ache, and my neck got a little stiff. With my hand on D's hand, I spoke to feelings of wanting to leave at first, while at the same time drawing closer to the two men. I breathed in, and then breathed out.
I looked at the two of them in the eyes. Earlier D had a tear in his eye. I chose to register this now. Fuck!, whow brave both D and P were.
I took another deep breath, felt my abdomen feel, and exhaled slowly. I opened my mouth, shifted or flexed my jaw muscles and ... hesitated.. and them spoke...
"Could you please put your hands on my back."
P and D paused. Their answer was yes. D put his hand on my back, it felt like a relief. Like I had an open wound was leaking fluid all over the place and his hand was helping to keep it together...
I sat face to face, holding P's hands. The room was quite, and still. It was scary. It was fantastic. It was beautiful. My body was doing something. I'm not sure what, but something was happening.
P brought his forehead to meet mine as I closed my eyes.
"oh my god, what is going on" I remember thinking. this can't be. But it is. And it was crucial.
D asked if I was ok if he put his other hand on my heart. I quickly said, "yes." More to come...