When I had chemical toxins in my brain, my emotions were super wonky. The process of healing and feeling real emotions about real things has been a beautiful and precious journey.
A male mentor taught me a lot. When I began this process, I learned that I had very few close female friends, and that many of my male friendships were not healthy. It was uncomfortable for me to comfort or touch people (anything more than a hug) because I sexualized the interaction. Even though I needed nurturing, I was unable to accept it as often as I needed it.
This former male mentor and I never hugged or even shook hands. He sat in a chair, and I sat in a couch across the room. One week, I felt tremendous pain. He encouraged me not to hold back my tears. I clutched a pillow in my arms to my chest and face and bawled. Loud. For a long time. The crying came from the pit of my stomach and flowed through my whole body.
At one point, he came over and sat down next to me (by “next to” I mean about two feet away on the couch). He explained his intention: he wanted me to know I was not alone. He offered his hand, and I held it. And kept crying.
This interaction felt like a precious gift. It felt safe and affirming, and it was healthy and appropriate nurturing. Having this male mentor for a period of time changed how I look at men, and provided an important example to me. I now can give and receive nurturing and touch. I do so from a place of wholeness and love, and from a safe and strong place in my heart.