Wednesday, 21 June 2006


Thursday 21 June 2007

Right, I’m fed up with this.
I’m fed up that the healing is taking so long. The stitches still haven’t gone. Pfff … I think that this damned convalescence will never end. Happily I can move about now, hmm? Because I have the feeling that I will have to do this personal hygiene until the end of my life. I’ve had enough of my clitoris still being pink and so big. What’s more, I don’t even know what it’s supposed to look like. Anyway, this morning I could swear that it had reduced in size. Well, not before time! That’s five weeks since I had the operation. Pfff….

And I’m not even talking about my labia minora. Fortunately I don’t know that they have been repaired too, do I? Because I still can’t see them. Don’t you rush yourselves girls, OK? Show yourselves when you are ready, why not? I’m withering here waiting for you but don’t you worry about me, all right? Take your time!

I must be patient and I’m the one who set this in motion, my man told me this morning. I agree totally.

But today I’ve had enough.

I’d like to restart my sexual life, I miss romping around more and more. I’d like to go back to the pool and swim with flippers. I’d like to be able to run for the bus or go upstairs four at a time.

But of course, I must wait. Longer and longer. Pfff…

The healing is taking its time already, but as if that weren’t enough, my mental reconstruction is tuning out to be more complicated than I thought. In my very naïve daydreams I imagined that my parents would ask me directly to forgive them, crying their eyes out and swearing that they had been wanting to since the day of my circumcision. I had imagined that they would tell me the truth about what happened that day. And that I would have managed to forgive them for having done so much harm.

I had a second scenario where my parents, shocked that I had undertaken the reconstruction, would have told me off severely. I would have defended myself by telling them at which point they had messed up as parents and that it was better for me to be in charge. Afterwards, we would have fallen out and never spoken again all our lives, which wouldn’t matter to me because I would get over it on my own.

Of course, it’s not at all like that as it has happened. Neither reconciliation in tears nor a complete break in uproar. No, instead, they kept their mouths shut. Or rather, my father kept his mouth shut. My mother, she may even have lied to me. And I ask myself which is worse, lying or not talking to me.

I have to say that I have done something quite dangerous. On a whim I wrote to my sister to ask her a question. I had to know if my mother did or did not participate in the decision to have us circumcised. I needed to know if she had lied to me on the telephone when she said she wouldn’t have done it for anything.

Yesterday morning in bed, I had the bright idea to ask the only other person likely to know: my sister. Who was six years old at the time and who might remember. In the email I sent her when I got up, I said sorry in advance for bringing up painful memories and then I asked her if she remembered something which would let me shed light on my mother’s possible participation.

She called me straight away (big surprise this phone call, in fact I thought she wouldn’t reply) to say that she remembered nothing convincing but that once, when she was a teenager, my father and she had spoken about it. And he had said that he had got into such an appalling rage because when my mother had suggested he would be Ok about us being circumcised, he had formally forbidden it and that she had done it nevertheless. My father had said to my sister that he had run to the dispensary near our village to ask for anti-tetanus vaccines for us both…

Damn, that struck to my heart to learn that my father spoke to my sister about it though he was silent with me. Frankly I get an enormous bowling ball sized lump forming in my throat when I think about it. Why doesn’t he talk to me about it? Why do I have the right only to silence?

And as for my mother, I can’t even speak about her. You would have to say she lied to me. Yes you would say that when she re ad my letter, my nice mother rushed straight to the phone to tell me a pure lie. That’s not great, is it? I am just finding out the extent of my anger towards her, and I can tell you it’s monumental.

She lied to me!!

In the end, if I can believe what my sister said that my father said because he doesn’t speak to me personally.

There are days like that when I can’t take any more. Days when I want to stop all the trouble. Today is a day like that, an ash-grey day.

I really am terribly fed up.

[Original in French]

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  1. Please do not let yourself turn what should be a life affirming event into something else. In the end, how your parents react and what they say now, or what they did to you then and why they did it doesn't really matter. It won't change what was done to you and it can't take away what you have done for yourself.

    Your courage is an inspiration to many so don't despair. Your future is what counts now.

  2. I agree. Don't keep returning to the painful past, and things that cannot be undone. I could be angry with my parents for things, but it won't undo anything.

  3. Just reading what you said, I'm angry with you! Do you want us to shout together very, very loud so that all the negative energy comes out?

  4. Hello Papillon
    if your anger had a colour, which would it be?
    if it were a sound or a noise, what would it resemble?
    a smell?
    a taste?
    Speak to you soon.

  5. Dear Papillon

    There are days like that when everything seems to be falling apart. But just reading what you say I know you have enough character to get over these moments (what's more you have the support of your man).

    If I can allow my self to give some advice, it's to try not to focus on the guilty party(ies), the harm they have done to you, say to yourself that a new life is starting for you. I think, too, that the frustration won't help you much, but you have plenty of time to enjoy your love when you have healed.
    It's easy for me to say all that but it isn't necessarily so for you because you are the only one who is going through this at the moment, but really, I ask you to be positive and look forward a few short weeks!
    In fact didn't Dr Foldès tell you the length needed for healing?
    PATIENCE should be the operative word even if your anger is justified.

    Courage, it's only the beginning of your happiness!

  6. Courage!
    Imagine yourself in a few months, this period of healing will be long gone, you will have recovered, that's sure, they told you the operation went really well, so be patient a little longer.
    But good grief, why did your mother lie to you? Tell her you know your father's and your sister's version. I'm angry for you!

    Right, that'll do, but I repeat, keep cool for healing, it's a part of the body that's quite simple (yes it is..) so keep yourself calm :-)

  7. Hi! It's a while since I left any trace of my passing though here, but I do read, and even though telepathy isn't infallible, I think a lot about you.
    Reading your post, many remarks come into my mind... In no particular order:
    - your relationship with your father has always been "reserved", according to what you have said. The day when you spoke about him you said that he had always been like that, that you would a little bit more dialogue between you but not necessarily that it was a great blight in your life. This reserve even seems to have some charm. If he has a different relationship with your sister, it's not really surprising. My family's story isn't the same, but I feel closer to my mother than my father, I never know how to talk to him, although my sister and he are great friends. I understand of course that it pains you, but if your father broached the subject once, that means he isn't avoiding it. It fairly positive: if one day you choose to speak to him about it (because at the moment it doesn't seem as if he'll take the first step...) he won't send you off vaguely. He will have something to say to you.
    - about your mother... Yes, what is there to say? The fact is she is surely angry with herself for having lied so deliberately. In any case, there is something to go into there, it doesn't seem at all clear :/
    - when you go through such a testing test (oh I don't have enough vocabulary, sorry), even if it is positive for us, as in your case, it is perfectly normal that, psychologically, it's not easy or simple. With the support of your man, your friends, your blog-friends, with all the force of character which we can easily guess from reading what you write, I have no doubt at all you will get better, and quickly!
    In any case, don't be discouraged, life will become more and more beautiful :)

  8. Hi Papillon!

    First, be patient, something that needs time to be undone, also needs time to be reconstructed. When you think about it, it's, what, 5 weeks compared with all the past years?

    Nevertheless I understand your irritation and impatience. I think especially that everything is accentuated by the fact that you have the feeling that nothing around has moved on, your parents still haven't asked forgiveness, you don't know what to think about your mother, did she lie or did she tell the truth?

    While you don't have the answers, you can't really feel better and progress. If you don't have the courage to speak to them, write them a letter, it's a little easier, it will let you ask exactly the right questions without letting yourself be put off by their answers.

    This conversation is essential for you, so don't wait too long to ask yourself the questions. The confrontation with your parents is becoming more and more necessary, hurry up!

    It'll be OK I'm sure. Hugs and kisses.

  9. Hard to come on the internet at the moment as the days are too short!
    But I haven't forgotten you and I think of you very often.
    Courage, it's healing, it's healing!
    For the rest, you don't need me to tell you that stirs up some memories for me, questions about how I reacted to my parents.
    But I am too cowardly and at the same time I really have the impression of haivng turned the page with them. Or it's all these people who persist saying "yes but they are your parents! We don't have any others...!"

  10. Hello Papillon

    I sympathise.

    About your parents, and especially your mother, far be it from me to tell you to love them in spite of everything and against everything. Love can't come by order or be forced.

    Simply, anger and rage will change nothing in your mother's personality. The fact of having integrated corrupt values, and the fact of lying to hide her stupidity rather than taking responsibility for them, that demonstrates a certain weakness of character.

    (That said, it's still odd that your two parents both have the same excuse: that it's someone else who is responsible and I wasn't able to stop them.)

    I'm sorry you don't having a loving and responsible family. On the other hand you are brave and mature.


  11. Hello Papillon
    In all children there is this absolute belief that their nother can "read" them, that she knows all their fears and sadness... but even the most attentive parent can miss an unexpressed "cry for help"...
    It seems to me that you also have some questions for Dr Foldès! ;-)

  12. Above all, I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.

    A loooong yell? I'm up for that Fyfe, I feel it would do me good!

    Elté Reblogged, my impatience with regard to the healing is linked to the blow to my morale which I've just had. Why did my mother lie? It's really THE question of the moment. I can't understand what's going on in her head. I no longer want to talk to her. Not at all.

    Mumu, if my anger were a colour it would be ash grey; a sound would be the noise of a glass breaking; a smell, that of burning plastic; a feeling, a sort of electrical discharge; a taste, something very bitter (like quinine).

    I'm thinking of following your advice Fifitra and try not to think of it any longer.. I will no doubt return to this lie of my mother's, and my father's silence. But later. I don't want any contact with them. I can't take any more disappointment.
    Dr Foldès told me healing takes about six weeks on average. So theoretically, it's the final week. Except if it is an average I could have several more weeks (and with my luck I feel that this is the scenario that will happen). Pff... But, still, I'm waiting, I'm waiting. It's all I can do in any case :(

    Mlle Crapaud, I believe I am jealous of this relationship between my father and my sister. Especially on that occasion when, with some sort of irony, I notice that she, who refuses to speak about circumcision, discussed it with him, who is largely mute on the subject. I took my courage in both hands to write and send the letter, as a result it irritated me a lot that he didn't bring the subject up. While he already had with my sister...
    As for my mother, it's similarly bizarre that she lies when wants. I would like to say that it was an opportunity for her to confess. And what's more she rushed to do it, which I find suspect. No, frankly, I have the impression she has armoured her alibi by being the first to tell me. As a result, whatever the others say, I always have this old doubt that thinks she may be innocent. Pfff...

    Non, I know you are right and that a few weeks are nothing in comparison with all those years.. But I'm cracking. In effect I need something positive. I'd like to know the end of this story one day. But you see, it may be misplaced self-love that stops me approaching my parents once again. It's always me who approaches them. And seeing the result, I don't want to make the effort any longer. In any case the subject will always be there between us, like an invisible iceberg and I'm not going to walk into the trap of "Everything will be all right, we all love each other and there are no problems". There will be a confrontation one day (and the more all right it is, the more certain it becomes, and I gives me a heavy heart) but it won't be now. Soon I'll try to accept the the extent of my parents' deception.

    I am delighted to see you again Lalita. If I've understood right, you have parted with your parents? There was a confrontation or you didn't need a reason to keep you distance from them? I too feel a bit of a coward for not calling my mother immediately to say I didn't believe her. But I didn't manage to. And I tell myself what matters is that I feel well. Too bad if my parents don't recognise their error, I'm not going to drag the confessions out of their mouths. Because that will change nothing. I will never forgive them.

    Hello and thank you Tagada. Would you believe that in therapy I am finally in the process of knocking my mother off her pedestal? My therapist told me that i have to accept certainly she is my mother but also a woman. With her character, personality, faults and qualities. You know, for me, parents have the responsibility for the safety of their children. It doesn't matter what they say (well, my mother because my father doesn't broach the subject) it doesn't stop it being their fault I was circumcised. It seems unfair said like that, but my father knew what his wife was thinking, that his mother had already had some of her grandchildren circumcised (we weren't the first, that's certain) and yet he left us alone in the village. As for my mother, at the worst she was for it, at best she didn't know, but once she knew my grandmother had sent us into the bush to have us circumcised, she didn't come to our rescue. That was what was missing in her call to me the night before I went into the clinic. You would say that she didn't mind at all. So it seems to me they both have reasons for blaming themselves.

    Hello Cornélie! Parents aren't fortune tellers it's true, if I don't tell them what's in my heart they can't "read it in me", I know that. But you see, I'm disappointed. I feel they aren't even trying to know what's in my heart, even they don't want to know. My therapist constantly drums into me "we are responsible for what our parents have made of us", a sentence from Sartre. And I wont to do something good from what my parents made of me. I don't want to wait until I succeed in speaking to them.
    Too bad if it never happens, I've already plenty to do for myself. How to locate these blessed labia minora! I can't wait the 11 days until I see Dr Foldès, I need a map of my genital region... :)

  13. Take good care of yourself Papillon..
    Put all the "pseudo comics" behind you, there are real people who think of you and hope you are happy...
    Have a good weekend!

  14. Courage Papillon, your morale will improve, you're just having a bad patch, I think it would have been surprising if you didn't have anything like that going through what you have.

    It's amazing that you are able to write all this in such a way, so simple and so modest and elegant at the same time. You impress my a lot.

    You seem a fairly unusual young woman, I really want to say to you that you have good reason to be proud of yourself!

    I think we all are angry with our parents, yours have real reasons much more serious than most of the rest of us but it seems like a process which happens with young adults (I hope I am not talking complete rubbish, if so I apologise in advance ;-)

    Allow me to give you a kiss to comfort you ;-)

  15. Good luck!! You can't always be an optimist, there are some moments of being fed up, and in your case completely justified and understandable!! But by the time you read this comment it will already be a bit better... at least i hope so ;o)

  16. I am a little late commenting and I hope things are going better!
    In a family there are always irritations, there is manipulation, one speaking to another about things which he daren't say to the one he should be talking to ... And then there are months, years, even tens of years of things said which should never have been said. And if she is lying to you it's possibly simply from ... I was going to write cowardice ... fear of breaking something.
    Anyway, you have gained your liberty. You have a man, you are in the process of regaining your clitoris, against all opposition, and you have made brilliant progress on yourself and your body. Even if you would like her not to lie, that she asks forgiveness, that she didn't do it, you are free.
    She however is a prisoner in acts committed in other times, her guilt, and for a woman of her generation, it's not easy to ask forgiveness from her daughter. But it may possibly happen.

  17. Thank you Cornélie! That's really kind you know. All these little words give balm to my soul and stop me brooding ad vitam aeternam.

    You are right Hélène, it's better today. You couldn't say I've reached serenity, but it's good that things have lightened up a bit. It's interesting you mentioned young adults and the anger they work through. I never had that adolescent crisis and I'm finding this period resembles it a lot. It's encouraging to know I may never find out the truth and my parents may never ask my pardon, but I will have gained in liberty.
    I believe the legitimacy of the anger you feel for your parents isn't proportional to the enormity of what they could have done to you as children. I believe that the anger you feel for your parents has real reason from the moment you feel it.

    The effort you made to translate your comment touched me a lot Lapis Ruber. And what's more I think you are right. I am not going to let all I have done up till now be destroyed because my parents have disappointed me. This morning I am better. I've put this business with my parents aside and I'm dedicating myself to myself.
    Thank you for your kind words (the translation gives a certain charm to your phrases I find).

    Yes Emelire, I feel better. In reality, I tell myself, too bad about my parents, that they can react how they like in the end, but I shouldn't allow myself to be eaten away by the deception. So I've put myself back into the foreground of my thoughts and have decided to live my life and have some fun this weekend. As a result my morale has risen several degrees. :)

    Thank you for your comments Claude. It's true, in my family too, there are words about one to another, things brought up with some and not with others. I imagine that it's the same sort of thing for all families. I do wonder if it's cowardice that made my mother lie to me. Because the idea that it's to preserve something I don't believe. I believe only that the lie, in a case like this, can be made to seem justified in all sorts of ways. So, in the end, she's the one who has to live with it...


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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