Despite being a mistake.
Despite being defective. Despite the moving. Despite the bullies. Despite the dyslexia. Despite being a latch-key kid. Despite being a girl. Despite the teachers who belittled. Despite health problems. Despite being a Tom Boy. Despite that attempted rape. Despite the abuse. Despite the guidance councilor who said no one cares what happens to a white, middle-class honors student girl. Despite going to public schools. Despite the lack of scholarships. Despite working in college. Despite that summer with no where to live. Despite health problems. Despite being a girl. Despite the TA who kept getting too close. Despite the professor who was always too close. Despite the biased tests. Despite having to choose between working for the serial harasser or the known misogynist. Despite the bullies. Despite the harassment. Despite not being one of the boys. Despite spending too much time trying to help the ailing friend instead of focusing on her research. Despite the unhealthy environment. Despite health problems. Despite leaving the field for a year. Despite starting over. Despite the lack of mentoring. Despite being told her female intern will be fired unless that complaint about how the student was harassed is dropped. Despite the broken promises of a bright fresh start. Despite that attempted sexual assault at a con. Despite being told there is no tenure for tits. Despite starting over again. Despite being grabbed and touched at professional conferences. Despite crying in the lab. Despite losing insurance and benefits. Despite still being grabbed and touched at professional conferences. Despite the trolls. Despite being a woman. Despite the hate mail. Despite continuing to be grabbed and touched at professional conferences. Despite trying to lodge a complaint and being told that it happened just outside of where rules apply. Despite crying in the lab. Despite feeling the need to keep that breast tumor secret after that one male collaborator she told cut her out of a collaboration. Despite starting over again. Despite seeing others told she won’t have tenure because boobs don’t get tenure. Despite speaking up. Despite the grievance that cost her so much money and opportunity. Despite the lack of mentoring. Despite the bullies. Despite again spending time trying to help the ailing friend instead of focusing on her research. Despite being a woman. Despite taking time to speak up more. Despite taking time to learn about privilege and leadership. Despite having to find mentors outside academia. Despite taking time to fight for other women. Despite taking time to become a mentor. Despite the trolls. Despite the threats.Despite taking time to say, “This is wrong.” Despite spending time in leadership positions trying to enact change so “despite” isn’t a word we need.
Despite all these things, she is still trying to stay in science.