“There were moments this year when I wanted to give up,” the 40-year-old told the circle of participants, all tired of trying to live up to traditional male stereotypes.

The dozen men — all white Americans ranging in age from their 20s to 60s — were leading a retreat run by Evryman, a group that helps men shrug off the armor of masculinity to get in touch with their true feelings…

Ryan Zagone has been attending sessions for six months.

“I grew up in Louisiana where the definition of a man is very narrow. Do you hunt or do you play football? And I didn’t do either. I grew up feeling like an outsider,” he said

“Coming here for the first time gave me role models of other ways to be as a man. How to be emotional in… a way that is powerful, loving, empathetic and at the same time strong,” Zagone added.