Tonight I sit in my hotel room a thousand miles from home and a thousand miles from my life partner Brian with tears at the corners of my eyes, and I welcome those tears. They are partly a release, partly the result of joy, partly me letting go of a little more pain from a traumatic childhood. I want Brian to hold me now and although I know he can’t do that physically I know he is holding me in his heart as he always does.
I had the honor this morning to be able to present at MaleSurvivor’s 14th International Conference in Newark, New Jersey. More importantly, I was afforded the opportunity to be a participant in the entire weekend conference. Most importantly, I had the honor to be in the company of some of the most compassionate, fierce, brave, empathetic, gentle, and beautiful people a man might find anywhere in the world. I saw how the organization honors its motto of hope, healing, and support. Because there were so many choices I was only able to attend a handful of the many workshops available, but in those I felt so at home, in the company of men who have been through some of the same things that I have been through. Each of them were at varying stages along their own paths to healing, but each of them were walking their paths with courage, compassion, and resilience, and each of them respected and understood the others. My joy is beyond description. There is still one more day to go and already my heart is filled.
There is always one more day to go. Healing is a lifelong journey with steps forward and steps backward and sometimes rest with no movement at all. But I can move forward a little stronger now. With the kind of community I witnessed this weekend I know that I do not walk alone and I know that others have cleared the path before me in many ways. I hope that I may help clear that path some for those yet to come.