I am going to start this post with a disclaimer: This is the grief section. I am going to write about my grief and how I am dealing with it. I am sharing intimate details of my life here in the hope that perhaps it will help someone else to deal with his or her grief. I am not interested in criticism of my healing process. If you disagree with my approach and want to make excuses for my parents, save it. That kind of feedback is NOT welcome in this thread.
I have read and heard countless times of men who forgive their parents for having allowed their genitals to be mutilated. If that approach works for others, I support it. But that approach does not work for me. I am not going to excuse my parents for the horrific abuse to which they subjected me. My circumcision was not done without their consent and it was performed in 1981. There were plenty of resources in 1981 that made it clear how unnecessary the procedure is. I hold my parents fully accountable for their role in my mutilation.
For about fifteen years I have been dealing with the heavy emotions that come with realizing how my parents failed to protect and indeed harmed me. My relationship with them has been strained for other reasons as well. Up until now, I have never had the strength to be direct with them regarding my feelings of my genital mutilation. Recently, I have decided that it is not healthy for me to keep them in my life. I do not have a positive relationship with my parents and keeping contact with them is not conducive for my emotional well-being. To that end, I have decided to send them this letter:
As a child I was subjected to many experiences that caused me a great deal of harm. For years, I was forcefully exposed to religious propaganda in an attempt to stifle my mind and control my way of thinking about the world. My sexuality was attacked and rejected. In fact, my sexuality was compared to an illness that needed to be cured. I was sexually abused on multiple occasions. But nothing I have endured has caused me as much physical and emotional suffering as the mutilation of my penis.
I was about 14 years old when I discovered that part of my penis had been amputated. It seems like this might be something that somebody would notice earlier in life and yet I never did. No one ever sat down with me and explained that I had undergone genital surgery as an infant. I grew up thinking that I was whole. I grew up assuming my penis looked and worked the way that every other man's penis looked and worked. I grew up believing that the scar tissue on my penis was just a natural part of my body and that all men had it. I grew up figuring that the soreness from clothing and masturbation were normal aspects of being a guy. I never considered why so many types of underwear were painful, I only found it strange that anyone could manage to wear them. Then I learned the disgusting truth.
It wasn't easy for me to accept reality. Even though I understood that part of my body had been cut off, I was in denial about the implications of this fact. I battled with depression, particularly whenever I had to see my penis. Each time that I got undressed to take a shower, I would see the scar and I would be reminded of what was stolen from me. I would be reminded that I would never know how my body was meant to look and how my body was meant to feel. I would stand in the shower and sob. I felt victimized and helpless. I felt embarrassed and angry. I felt robbed and betrayed. I felt incomplete and damaged. And yet, I was incapable of verbalizing any of this. I felt paralyzed by embarrassment of my condition and by fear that others would neither understand nor sympathize.
It took over a decade of my trying to make sense of it all before I could look into the issue at great depth. I read about the functions of the intact penis. I studied the numerous physical, physiological and psychological problems that result from male genital mutilation and I began to recognize many of them in my own life. I learned about the horrific ways that babies are strapped down and the various devices that are used to permanently disfigure their bodies. I came to understand all of the greed, arrogance and ignorance that perpetuates the sexual mutilation and oppression of men.
My body does not look like a man. My body does not smell like a man. My body does not function like a man. My body does not feel like a man. My penis is a scarred remnant of what it was intended to be. And each time I urinate, each time I shower, each time I masturbate and each time I have sex, I am reminded that I was strapped down as an infant while my foreskin was ripped away from my glans, clamped, crushed, and amputated. Without injury, without illness, without a diagnosis, I was subjected to genital surgery that amputated nearly half of my penile skin.
I don't want to talk to you. I don't want to hear from you. And I most definitely don't want to hear whatever bullshit excuses you may have for why my body was surgically violated and why I have been forced to live with the result of your terrible decision.