Thing I am most ashamed of.

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The obvious, and most true, answer is losing my cool with my kids. I have written here before about my struggle with anger, usually on a specific day of my period cycle every month. I am fine the rest of the time – I do not hit, smack, or yell. I’m fucking awesome. Except when I’m not. I am deeply ashamed of this and will probably return to the subject again.

But for now, I’ll talk about what keeps coming up in my head when I read the comment by @tatchull that suggested I write on this topic: a trip to the doctor when I was about eleven or twelve.

I don’t remember why we were there. My mom took me. My mind seems to colour in the details as being there for a jab/injection of some sort, though my experiences in therapy years later suggest something else. But perhaps I’ll return to that. Whatever the reason we were there, my Mom and me, it seemed pretty harmless and not a big deal.

Until he asked me to take off my underpants.

He had asked if I’d started my period, and when I said no, he said he wanted to look inside my vagina to see what was going on. As an adult, this shit boggles my fucking mind. What does my vagina have to do with my period?!?! And why would my mom, a medical professional, countenance this sort of invasion of a young girl?

So I was naked, ashamed, lips spread open while a man I did not know peered into my vagina, his face so close I probably felt him breathing on me. He said my hymen was still intact, and that I would need to come back in six months if I still had not started my period as he would have to cut my hymen open (!!!!!!!!!) so the blood could come out.

My mom thanked him and said we would come back if needed. Thank fuck my period came.

I don’t understand any of this, even now. I am ashamed of my mother, that she let this man do this. That she let him touch me, talk of cutting me. Surely she knew letting a strange guy rupture my hymen was unlikely to suddenly bring me to physical maturity? The whole thing confuses me. And, my GOD, if a doctor tried to mess with either of my children’s genitals – well. I’d stop that shit, and we would never return. I would talk to my child about it and try to help them make sense.

My old therapist, L, (if you are a new reader, I am a counsellor. My intensive training required each candidate to undergo extensive personal therapy – and I LOVED it!!) made a suggestion one day. Might my mother have taken me to the doctor specifically to check if my hymen was intact, given the high probability of sexual abuse from my father? Just to make sure that whatever else had happened, I was intact? As disturbing as this suggestion was, at least it makes sense – and happened because my mother was trying to protect me.

I have spoken to my mother about this incident. She says she doesn’t remember it ever happening. So she either wants to keep the truth from me, or it was a such a non-event to her that she genuinely doesn’t recall it. I think it’s the second option. Given that she insists on keeping me up to date on a family member who DID sexually molest me, given that when I told her she told me to shut up, given that when I repeatedly told her as an adult she just acts embarrased, well, I can believe she might not consider this event a big deal.

I don’t write this to say I had a bad mother. She did, and continues, to protect me in the way she can. But was it enough, when I was so young, and that man looked at me in that intimate way?

It was not.

So I feel shame, on many levels. But the main one is not my own shame, but the shame of my mother. Her shame around my sexual self (another long blog post or two, folks), her shame around any sexuality, how her shame impacted her ability to say NO or to allow me to say it. I don’t remember if I tried. Probably not. Sometimes, when you’re little, you need someone to say no for you. This is a lesson I have learned, carved deep into my core self. I needed someone to say NO, to stand up for me, and they didn’t….in the way I needed. That being said, I don’t remember ever going back to see this doctor, so perhaps she did what she could, when she could. I forgive her.

This post brought to you by my compelling desire to write, and complete inability to do so. Generous people have given me funny, thoughful, and factual suggestions for posts. Click here to see them, or add your own. I’ll work through them all in time.

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One Response to “Thing I am most ashamed of.”

  1. mamacrow Says:

    just ((((hugs)))) you are amazing, forgiving is hard but, (i believe) ultimately healing xx

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