First, a word about exhaustion. I am finding that at my age (and believe me, 40 is the new 20) that I am far more easily exhausted than I was at, say 40. Let alone 20.
I find two kinds of exhaustion. There is the kind that is a whoosh. Good job. Done. Hard work, but damn those results, they are worth every minute and every speck of energy. Thank you lab group for that. Thank you animal unit staff. Thank you postdoc and grad student and visiting med student and everyone else. Thank you tech who has moved on to different things. The experiments were a success. A grand, exhausting success.
The second kind of things have no upside.
I am tired of not being taken seriously. Young women are not taken seriously, but old women are not taken seriously in new and different ways. I've seen a lot of life. I've reviewed more grants than you have. I have reviewed more papers and seen more good people lose it and evil, ugly people triumph. Occasionally, I've even seen the game come out right and even more occasionally seen the idiots get their comeuppance. I've buried children and parents and more than one best friend. I don't know everything. Hell, I don't know a lot. But there is Stuff that I know. Stuff that only comes from walking this earth for 60 years (assuming mobility at 18 months of age). I am tired of not being taken seriously.
I am tired of the young idiots on Twitter judging me because they've got a Death Grip On Truth and how dare I judge them. I wasn't judging you, darling. You're a bit sensitive there. I was talking about stuff I know.
I am tired of the fat, old, bald white men at my university being condescending to me, and then turning to flirt with the young female faculty. Sociobiologists would say, well, they're still reproductive and you're not. I do not exist to some of these men anymore. I'm not saying that not being seen is worse than only being seen as a sex object, I'm saying there are men who do not see other human beings, as human beings.
I am tired of other men, well-meaning men, men who do see women, men who say "I am a feminist" and yet interrupt me every third sentence, or tell me to wait "while I finish this thought". I'm back to "Potnia is really smart, but she's a bit aggressive and a pain in the ass".
I was not at the time, and am not right now, interested in making political statements to any of these people. I am interested in getting a job done, sharing my knowledge, helping others. I'd like to say I'm tired of fighting these battles. I am tired of fighting these battles. But. You. Cannot. Stop.
To my friends of color, my Muslim brothers and sisters and non-gendered sibs, my immigrant-from-wherever colleagues, my LBGT family: I see this for me, but I know there are things that are worse for you. I know for every ounce of exhaustion I have in fighting these fights, you have one more fight than me, you have that much less energy than me. I do not know your battle, but I have some insight from fighting mine. I will not stop fighting for you. I promise.