Days and weeks passed and all of this was forgotten. I got into great colleges, convinced my parents I needed to leave the small town I'd grown up in and head for New York City. Like many teenagers I felt the inexplicable rumblings of needing to be somewhere else - somewhere bigger and brighter and new. Unconsciously I think I also wanted to reinvent myself. New York is where I'd spend my first years of adulthood, break out of my shell a little bit, lose forty pounds of fat, and just as much weight in judgement and preconceived notions often bred by growing up in a small, rural town. It's where I'd make friends with Jews and Sikhs and liberals. Where I'd experiment with drugs, and partying. Taste falafel for the first time. See Broadway shows. Make friends with DJs and artists and filmmakers. It's where I had my first real dates, first kiss, first loves and losses.
I had never grown up thinking of myself as an attractive girl. And because of my weight and likely equally because of a lack of self-confidence, I didn't get much notice by guys as a teen. In New York things were different though. As the weight came off and I grew more comfortable with myself, I was perceived as being a tall (5'10") and pretty young woman. The guys were on to me much more than before. I got approached my modeling agency scouts on the street. Though I never felt very attractive and always had plenty of doubts, it felt pretty damn good.
Boyfriends came and went - some serious and others not at all. Most of them pretty good guys. I was up front with all of them about not having kids and the surgery I'd had years before. None of them minded my "inadequacy". I told few if any friends though - maybe in part because I felt abnormal, but I think more because it was all behind me. My surgery was not something I thought about much.
As the years progressed though, I did start to open up to some of them about having a hysterectomy. Friends who discovered cancers or illnesses and needed surgeries especially, because I felt I had some kind of experience to share with them.
My career progressed. I moved overseas and back again. Went to graduate school. Got married. Got a corporate job. Except for my daily dose of Premarin (a brand of estrogen pill for those not in the know), and visits to doctors surprised a woman my age had had a hysterectomy - I was just like any other woman.
And it was only by accident that I ever found out differently.