Heal the boy and the man will appear
what feelings does that title bring up in you?
When I first heard that a couple of years ago, it hit with an element of shame attached to it,
funny that considering my whole life has been a whole barrage of shame due to good old religious programming and conditioning.
rationally I knew what the term meant but what I heard was a gentle whisper of ‘you’re not a man unless you sort your shit out’ and this blog is all about ‘my shit I needed to sort out/heal’
For so much of my life I have been terrified of true intimacy, I would never let people get too close, whether you were a friend, a family member, or an intimate partner I would only invite you in so far.
Now I believe that this is our work as individuals and as a collective human race to create the safety to remove those barriers around our heart,
Firstly for ourselves, and this is what will allow us to be fully expressed in the world, which leads to unadulterated, unapologetic, self expression and the deepest connections we all truly desire.
What needed to be healed in me was a belief that I was bad/dirty/wrong/self-abusive/sinful and basically unlovable.
Now where did this belief come from?
I’ve got to pause here for a second and take 3 deep slow breaths
My inner child is now clinging on to my leg and pleading with me not to share this because he is worried we will be laughed at, judged and he is scared that it will put us back in that state of suffering i’ve been in effectively for 20+ years since it happened.
Sorry back in a second I just need to console him.
“Young Dan, I want you to know that i’m so grateful that you are expressing your fears and concerns with me, and I completely understand where they are coming from, because I too, am a little unsure, but I want you to know that whatever happens i’ve got you, and I always will have you, your loving big brother Dan”
Sorry about that everyone lets proceed…
So when I was about 11 or 12 as a young Jehovahs witness boy me and another Jehovahs witness friend of the same age began experimenting with eachother.
Now neither of us really knew what we were doing, and we also ‘knew’ that it was wrong and Jehovah wouldn’t be happy about it, but being the age we were, our hormones and curiosity were far stronger than the feelings of ‘wrongness’ that were also present.
This went on for a few months.
It came to a very abrupt ending when my friend could no longer deal with the guilt of what we were doing.
Both his parents were very ‘in’ the religion, and I think possibly this was why he felt far more guilt than what I did.
My mum was a Jehovahs witness and my dad wasn’t, so as much as my mum tried to steer me on to the ‘right path’ singlehandedly my mum was unable to indoctrinate me into those teachings as much as his parents were.
By the way I just want to be clear that I don’t hold on to any judgments about our parents being better or worse than eachother, just parents that were doing what they believed were the best things for their children.
He told me that he was going to tell his parents as he couldn’t do it anymore because he knew it was wrong.
This terrified me even as a young boy because I knew the extent of how ‘bad’ this was that we’ve been doing.
After all this came out we were spoken to by the elders (you could call them priests I suppose) and they had the job of telling us how wrong it was and why Jehovah would not approve of it.
Now as i’m sure you can imagine as a 11 or 12 year old boy, being told this by fully grown men, the message they were trying to convey was not the message that I heard.
The most vivid memory I have of this whole experience is one of me and my mum.
My mum and dad had a little table just as you walked into their bedroom with 2 chairs and this is where we would sit and have our weekly bible studies.
We used to have regular bible studies which I actually really enjoyed because it was time that me and my mum had together.
After all this came out we had a bible study about why this behaviour needed to stop.
Now this is how the memory looks to me and I can’t explain it or see it any other way.
I am standing behind me and my mum sat at the table as the adult version of me right now.
My mum is showing me scriptures from the bible explaining to me why Jehovah wouldn’t approve.
I see my mum next to a little boy feeling inadequate, feeling embarrassed, feeling scared that he had let his mum and dad down and I see him just shrinking more and more into the chair.
Strangely enough, you may think, I also see my mum as a holy being, a nurturing loving mother who was trying her best to ‘save me’ (if you’re unaware of the Jehovahs witness fundamental teachings then effectively if you go against Jehovah he will murder you along with everyone else that isn’t a Jehovahs witness at Armaggedon) and this is something i’m trying to help my mum recognise, as she holds on to a lot of guilt around raising her 2 boys in religion and how it has affected us, even though I think she also still believes the teachings.
Which by the way mum, you could never be or do anything that would make me stop loving you, my love for you is not out of choice, I don’t choose to love you, I just love you unconditionally, full stop.
Now this whole traumatic experience created a HUGE amount of shame that I have only been consciously aware of for the last few years.
This is where my absolute terror comes from when I think about letting someone fully into my heart.
The story i’d created was that if God who is unconditional love is telling me this part of me is wrong, then how can I ever trust a mere human to tell me otherwise?!
4 years ago when I went through the toughest time ever in my life after being arrested for an allegation of attempted rape, I knew then that I had created this unconsciously because I needed to heal the little boy in me that was still holding onto shame around sexuality.
funnily enough this pushed me even further down into shame and I NEEDED an outlet for this shame which at the time I didn’t consciously choose but became ‘my thing’ for being seen.
I was trying to rewrite this story into a much healthier, liberating story that didn’t leave me feeling ‘bad’.
since going through therapy (i’ve just finished this week my 3 month journey) I have been able to recognise what I was actually recreating…
So my thing became being watched masturbating either in person (while on cocaine) or over video call.
This was me crying out for the validation that in fact I wasn’t bad and I was normal.
Unsuprisingly knowing what I know now, what I was actually recreating and perpetuating, was this cycle of shame, it never filled that void, and it never made me feel good enough, all it done was leave me feeling worse and believing the story that i’m bad, even more.
The most profound thing my therapist enabled me to recognise came from a simple question that i’d NEVER been asked and i’d never even asked myself…
That question was,
“When you and your friend were doing what you were doing did you enjoy it?”
This literally halted me in my tracks and brought me to my knees because in all of this and all of these years of holding on to this story I never even thought about if I enjoyed it!
I sat their for about 30 seconds in silence just looking at her and feeling what was coming up…
I have never ever thought about that or been asked that, but yes I did enjoy it and I didn’t want it to stop.
Realising this and being able to admit it to myself and to her, instantly brought so much relief with it, because in that moment I connected with the real me, the part of me that had been shoved so far down and had been residing in that fiery pit of hell/shame and was now invited to come out with ZERO judgement.
She went on to help me realise that as a result of me enjoying it but being told I was wrong for it so much of my sexuality was attached to ‘well if it’s bad then I enjoy it and if I enjoy it I must be bad’
Now this was SOOOO profound and hit me straight in the truth (where we actually live, our truth, who we really are) and with that a huge feeling of self compassion engulfed me, I could see that innocent 12 year old boy in every ‘mistake’ i’d made and I could let go of all the hurt i’d caused because I too was in pain through all of it.
Now I would not be here now if it wasn’t for my girlfriend.
3 years ago when we met I had started ‘doing the work’ and i’d been blogging regularly for a few months, which was kind of like my therapy, and another way for me to be seen without actually REALLY being seen.
Anyway, she resonated with a blog I wrote about loneliness (I used to write a lot of blogs about how I was currently feeling) that blog I wrote had planted a seed and a few weeks later she reached out.
we got speaking and for 9 months built a friendship that really was the catalyst for my healing.
Charis invited me out of my own suffering and really showed me what unconditional love was,
It has taken me 4 years to feel worthy of it, but if it wasn’t for her love at a time when I couldn’t love myself, I would not be the man I am today!
Charis was my reward from God for ‘starting the work’ and has supported me and inspired me every single day,
In fact it was only because of her that I started having therapy.
She was my strength and my safety to truly surrender to love and intimacy.
These last 11 months have really been a metamorphosis of deep deep transformation, where I can now be that loving nurturing big brother or parent of ‘little Dan’ and give him exactly what he needs whenever he is feeling scared or less than.
I really see my work now as a practise of having the courage to bare all, and every time I look for something or think about something in the form of intimacy outside of my relationship, to firstly be aware of that being an old fear based programme running in the background, and acknowledge 12 year old Dan just feeling afraid.
I don’t believe that 1 partner can give us everything, but I also believe we don’t get to forfeit the possibility of first of all giving our partner the opportunity to be however that may look.
I have to first of all fully express myself and my desires to my partner, then and only then can I think about outsourcing.
This is my work.
My mission or purpose if you will, in this world, is to be a light for others to see just how beautiful unapologetic self expression is, and empower them to step more into who they truly are.
Vulnerability is my superpower,
Are you ready to uncover yours…
The Beatles meeting me and my mum 2 years ago in Liverpool.