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I was just under 3 years old but I remember

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  • I was just under 3 years old but I remember

    I have memories, false memories, and reconstructions based on feelings. Here's what I remember vividly.

    I remember being driven to the hospital by my mum and knowing that I was going to have an operation to fix my penis and I would be asleep. I remember I had a special new cup with orange cordial in it to save for after the operation. I remember that at the time all my focus was on this cup and how excited I was to have this.

    I remember sitting in a side room off a long corridor. Waiting.

    I remember entering the room where I was anesthetized. My mum wasn't there but lots of people were - men and women in white coats and pressed uniforms. I was screaming and kicking and flailing. Another woman came in to help.

    They forced a gas mask over my face but was too big and covered my eyes. I was deeply afraid and struggled to get free. A woman forced the mask on to me. I remember thinking she was beautiful as well as that I was scared.

    This is my earliest memory. I don't have any memories any where near to it in chronology. But the next memory I have is of my first day at nursery school. I screamed when my mum dropped me off and refused to let go of her neck. They eventually separated me from her and she left. I remember a little girl who looked after me and who I liked and that when my mum arrived they told me what a good time I had.

    I remember being taken to a party at someone's house and sitting in the boot refusing to come out - crying - while my younger brother waited outside. They made me go. I remember this happening more than once.

    I remember going ape-shit on a baby sitter because I wanted my mum. The babysitter was a woman I sort of new. She sat on my bed and tried to calm me but as she did so I became hysterical.

    As an adult my brother told me that at those parties I would hide under the table. This was a surprise to me as the story was, "You never wanted to go but you always had a good time when you go there." My brother thinks this is just what they told my mum to help her feel better when she picked me up.

    I was always a great one for hiding in small places: tree hollows, cupboards, under tables, inside the legs of a chair.

    As a teenager I was often in trouble with authority figures and struggled to achieve what I was capable of: a sharp thinker who never did more than average academically (now have a PhD). I was an outsider and a loner but had some close friends.

    I was incredibly ashamed of my penis and embarrassed. I never knew anyone else who had been cut apart from my Dad. In the showers I felt humiliated and the other boys occasionally commented or asked questions. There was only curiosity on their part, rather than judgement but it was clear that they were of the opinion 'rather you than me'. In the UK it's not normal to cut a child's genitals but it happens. I believe it was done without good medical reason.

    As an adult I project a confident persona. I lead other people, am a good public speaker and teacher and take risks. In a new social setting I am quick to get to speak to lots of people and I'm great at helping other people open up, relax and bond.

    I have chronic rhinitis which makes me cough and gag and prevents me exercising much. I suffer anxiety at a low level that makes sleep difficult and fragile - CBD in a vape helps along with valerian.

    In short, I have some work to do in finding out what it means to be me. I believe much of my view of self and other has been shaped by that early memory but I'm still learning what that means and what to do with it.

  • #2
    I can understand what you mean, I was two and half when I was cut and remember the trip to hospital and the smell of rubber from the mask put on my face in theatre, then waking up and screaming and crying with my mam hugging me.
    When I was at school we would go swimming and other people in my class would ask why my penis locked funny, I think they meant different as i was the only boy cut in my class being from the uk like yourself.

    Unfortunately being circumcised has effected my life and I attempted suicide when I was 19 due to depression but luckily meeting my future wife 6 months later helped save me, and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

    I have still suffered badly with being cut even though it doesn’t bother my wife it really bothers me. I suffered very bad anxiety attacks last august which was very debilitating and ended up house bound and not being able to be left by myself.

    I am now on the road to recovery with help and medication. I have started my restoration at the end of December as i have realised that being circumcised is the biggest cause of my stress, my anxiety, my shyness and lack of self confidence .

    I am please to hear you are doing well and getting on with your life, it appears we have a lot of similarities as I can relate to most of what you wrote. I too hope one day I can move on and not let being circumcised dominate my life as it does every day, its really sad but its the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think of before i go to sleep.

    Ultimate goal is to just be normal, hope this doesn't offend anyone


    • #3
      Wow! We have incredibly similar stories Shaky33, thanks for sharing yours too. It certainly helps and it's interesting to hear that you could remember yours at such a young age too. My therapist suggested that this experience may have led to separation anxiety basically a belief that I couldn't be safe without mum around. At such a young age we don't believe our carers are capable of mistakes so we assume that there is something 'bad' about us; in other words the physical pain, and fear we experience are our own fault.

      I don't like to use the phrase 'sexual abuse' to describe this but certainly I think it is a sexual assault: to forcibly cut a child's genitals when they are incapable of consent or even actively resist.