Dear teenage self.
It was around this time of year… Fifty years ago… Your 13-year-old world came screeching to a halt along with your dreams and expectations. Boom. Gone… You had to start over at a time when you were meant to move forward. If you knew then what you know now you wouldn’t have felt so scared or lonely….Those years still feel like a blur; and yet you will come to understand the power that secrets and shame had over you. You will learn that You will control that power! You won’t be so utterly alone, so deeply sad, ashamed and embarrassed. Your journey will leave scars that will never heal but will one day be worn with wisdom and pride.
You may always wonder who you would be if you didn’t have mrkh but that is something you can never know. Even with all the treatment and medical interventions that lie ahead, you will always be someone born with mrkh. So hang in there. It gets better every day. As the anger rages internally with nowhere to direct it- you will understand why mom always said you seemed to be angry at the world. Because you were. You were trying to live in a world that wouldn’t see you. A world that didn’t want you to exist. That anger was, and still is valid. The only difference now is that you know it.
You will one day realize that your condition is no longer “your little problem” as the docs liked to say. You will see that you are not failing to be what a woman is expected to be but that the expectation has failed you. You will learn that the experts lead you down their own path and not yours. This is a lesson you will learn 1000 times over in 100 different ways. You will allow yourself to be a lesbian because, well, you are a lesbian which has nothing to do with the way you were born.
But what you never expected was that the shame and sadness would empower you to move forward. Your older-self thanks you as that transition enabled you to be courageous and build community with others who have mrkh. Nourish your anger with a gentle heart and you will find your voice. People will someday listen to what you have to say.
In some strange way you are very lucky. You learn the difference between being alone and being lonely at a very early age. You learn that you are your best friend and your salvation. Only you know your truth and your “little problem” will not define you as much as you think it does. You learn the difference between knowing your emotions and feeling them.… You learned early on that bad shit happens to good people. You will learn to dance with your angst, and eventually seduce it… You will emerge from being “the only one” into a community of 1: 5000 women with mrkh. You will open yourself to learn from people with similar conditions and no longer fear them. I would be wrong to tell you that the sadness is gone forever. It will creep up when you least expect it and try to take you back to a place you may not want to go. But remember you now have the experience of moving through it and each time you will come out stronger. Remain hopeful in knowing that mrkh has lost its hold over you. It is your power now. One day all the pieces will fit together and you will settle into yourself. Your survival will help others survive. You will use your faith to remember to be true to yourself. No one knows what you need better than you do. No one gets to tell you who you should be, what you want or what is best for you. You will not only survive but you will thrive in a world you never knew existed.
Godspeed dear friend.
Very truly yours, Me