I’m 65. I’ve always had my own opinions and interests. I’m smart and motivated in whatever I decide to take on. I’ve never been interested in being girlish or pretty. But, I identify fully as a sexual, creative, adventurous, and outspoken woman. My entire life I’ve been repressed, judged, put down, mocked, competed with, accused, marginalized, subtly invalidated, body-shamed by the men I’ve loved. Dad, Granddad, boyfriends, lovers, male co-workers, bosses, husband’s, and male friends. I’m convinced that men, even the caring men are damaged by a legacy of imbedded insecurity in their selves. An insecurity that revolves around male identity. They treat each other according to these norms of one-upping and macho competition. When a woman comes on the scene they seem to find her a convenient object of their projections: the bitch, witch, destroyer, or ridiculous ditz. I’m writing this now because the loving partner I live with has been exhibiting the same pattern. Now I’m old enough to not to internalize it or feel I need to correct myself or apologize or weep. I’m just so done.