Things that exhaust me

Mar 02 2017 Published by under Uncategorized

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.

Yet, yet...

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.

6 responses so far

  • becca says:

    Just know that some of us whipper snappers aspire to be called "really smart but a bit aggressive and a pain in the ass".

    And I sympathize with the different exhaustions.

  • Zuska says:

    I saw a sign from the Women's March, carried by a female grey-haired eminence, that said "I can't believe I still have to protest this shit."

    It's really hard to imagine what life might be like if so many of us did not have to pour out so much of our energy on the stones of intolerance and hatred and bigotry. Imagine if we were free to direct all our energies to writing books, making art, making science, growing gardens, raising children, keeping the environment clean and safe. Instead we have to sluice off some vital energy for social justice work. Even if we lived in a world where social justice work was something that was valued - where everyone in the community spent some part of their time and treasure making sure social justice actually happened - there would be so much more creative energy liberated for everything else.

    • EPJ says:

      Maybe the idea of social justice is not clear for the rest of people, so that making that clear for everyone would be one thing to do, and in a short type of format is a lot better at the present.

      Also the propaganda machinery through time has made many dents in women's rights. be it because it is misused by others for their profit (of any type) or by the female activists.

      I don't know why, but at times I think it is a fear from being dominated, and a confusion with sexuality. So that a bit more clarity on the subject accompanied with specific plans would be helpful to everyone.

  • Karen says:

    This is a great post and there's so much truth here - that older women become invisible and their opinions shunted aside - is no small thing.

  • EPJ says:

    "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"

    ....> a very consistent strategy that has implications downstream of the river of life, but it looks like it is an immediate gain startegy, and I have seen it done by younger people that still want more funding and more assets, just like an animal would do it. Maybe it is the result of swapping to a full animal mind set.

    Maybe it comes from the idea that reproductive fitness is wanted for posterity, or a gene just wants to reproduce to pass on its existence, etc, coupled to lots of PR.

    So I think social justice won't ever happened when society's pressures are at maximum. And I further say then that very wrong doings increases in critical and sensitive aspects of life. Like sexuality and reproduction.

    That I see it as a destroyer of important traits in humans. So you find all kinds of comments in internet addressing odd human behavior.

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