Further down the line

Kate O’Halloran

October 2020

Daaniel Marsula/Post-Gazette

Kate O'Halloran offers a personal reflection on internalised misogyny, and on how unexamined power dynamics of the therapy relationship can sometimes both create and feed it.

The violence I survive is second hand, my own against myself.

It never belonged to me, I breathed it in like diesel particulate, centuries of hatred of women

bedded in as I walked down the street, sipped it with milk, ate it with chocolate, learned it by heart, enacted it upon my body.

I’ve hated my womanness, wanted it gone, each period a concentration of loathing, a pact to corral internalised toxicity.

What to give up to be loved.

What to give up to stay safe.

What to give up to live.

I’m the beloved daughter of a woman who did not much like women. Women, she said, were sly, not to be trusted, did not say what they meant.