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This weekend we went to a gender reassignment surgery specialist, so that my ex-husband could who has been living outwardly as a female for almost a year now could become an anatomically correct woman. The surgery date has been set, and my ex will become a woman in the eyes of the state on that date. She has understood herself to be a woman for her whole life (with much of her life spent dissociated from that reality).
Anyway, so on that date, the surgeon will cut off her penis, invert it into a vagina (kind of), and that will be the end. The thought that keeps recurring in my mind is ‘And that will be the end of (Husband’s Name), and it will be like I imagined the whole thing. It will be like I imagined that a man once loved me so much that he asked me to marry him and spend the rest of our lives together. I will have imagined that a man wanted me in that way.’
It’s very similar to surviving abuse. After the abuse has ended, when all we are left with are murky shitty memories – we ask ourselves “Did I imagine this? Perhaps I am only imagining the intent behind what was done to me?’
We wonder if people will believe us. There’s no evidence for them to see, no ‘Ah-ha!’ smoking gun that allows people the kind of evidence they really need in order to verify our truths. (Unless you count the nightmares, the night terrors, the flashbacks, the complex post-traumatic stress disorder, the phobias too numerous to count, the dissociation, the traumatic amnesia, the hypervigilance, the checking under the bed and in the closets every night before bed, the obsessive compulsive disorder, etc.) But no one sees those things, and no one saw the abuse either, so we end up asking ourselves if we are crazy.
Did I imagine this? Did I imagine that I was less fucked up than I thought and a man really did love me? He’s a woman now. He was probably a woman then, in man’s clothing. A sheep in wolf’s clothing. Did I imagine it? Am I nuts?
Did I imagine what happened with my dad? Did he do those things to me? He had a look on his face, and I was uncomfortable. I ran away from him. Was he a child molester? Or am I nuts?
This is yet another way that being abused as a child has fucked me again in adulthood. I end up wondering if I am nuts, on a daily basis.
I am 39. 34 of these years have been spent wondering if I am nuts. That’s a long ass time to question my own fucking sanity. But as you know, this is my year of empowerment.
In that vein, here goes my new line of thinking:
I am not nuts. I am a survivor of child sexual abuse. I didn’t imagine it. It happened, it was real, and I am trying to work through it the best that I can with every resource I have.
A man asked me to marry him. I didn’t imagine that either. Just because he is now a she does not invalidate my life. Someone loved me. A man loved me. And I loved him. And we still love each other, just not romantically anymore. None of this means that I am not good enough or sane enough to have love in my life again.
May we all stop questioning our own sanity, and start believing ourselves. What happened to us was real. Terrible but real. I believe myself and I believe you. And I applaud you for the courage you have to believe me and to believe yourself.
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