Your Age



large photo by Beverly Couper

I’ve been doing some writing for another publication. I can’t publish it here because it’s exclusive to them, but if they choose not to use it, I’ll be popping it up for you to see. I enjoyed writing it so much!

It’s all about curves and confidence, and the circuitous path it took my soul to find a way for both to exist simultaneously in my world. When I was younger, I had no idea that curves would eventually be such a useful part of my self-esteem. I had no idea that the things I hated about my body would become things that I celebrate. How did that happen? How did I get from self-loathing to self-loving?

I had a massive reality check in the experience of living with Pandysautonomia.  A gift of sorts, in the way that all the most memorable life learning can be simultaneously painful, difficult and uplifting.

It made me realise that there are body issues which transcend the petty concerns of comparison. It made me feel the sting of all the time I had wasted on self-criticism, there in front of the mirror, thinking about all the ways people would disapprove of my dimensions. So ridiculous. Mum used to tell me when I was a teenager, that most of the time, other people wouldn’t even be thinking of what my body looked like. That it was a kind of vanity to assume they were. I was convinced there must be others like me. That they were studying every other like-aged-girl to see what was ‘normal’, hoping that they could become it by studying it in all its minutae.  Hoping to find the magic code for ‘cool’ so we could programme ourselves to be so.

I couldn’t be. I was far too tall and generous of beam to ever fit the narrow-hipped, slim legged archetype of the eighties fashion teen; those oversized tops and legwarmers only looked good on petite little things. I didn’t yet understand that being a six foot tall woman required a certain level of bravado. That you need to own your height, your wiggle.  That the most uncool thing of all isn’t wearing a home-made dress, but being a mouseling in a giantess’ body. I had no idea that confidence and ease are the symptom of a simple choice you make. To accept your unique self, no matter how different you are to the established norm. Being free within your own expression of DNA to be your own kind of beautiful.  I wish I’d known that back then.

I could have done a lot with my gorgeous young self that was left undone, all because I didn’t understand. No amount of wishing, dieting, exercising, hoping, slouching, yearning or moping was ever going to change the facts.

I am a giantess.

Fast forward to my middle age… I’m so proud of being built this way. My size has become a bankable commodity since I started plus-size modelling last year. My confidence comes from finally getting it. I’m this person. Who you see is me. All of me. I wear my love of cake in my curves. I wear my love for people in my smile and the wrinkles around my eyes. And I wear my heart on my sleeve, because that is just who I am. No filter. No problem.

Some people love these things about me, and others don’t… and that’s no problem too. I can’t change a thing about it.  I’m happy, at last, in my own skin. Happy to be who I am, in a body that functions. Happy to be surrounded by people I love and to know that above all things, that’s the most beautiful thing of all. He tangata. Happy to be the age I am. To know the things I know. To leave behind me the pointless self-flaggelation of living to the standards of others. It’s a kinder, freer way to live. It makes space within my noisy head for more useful thoughts… the sort that create and feed and nurture me. Building me up to do the same for others.

I’m starting a hashtag across my social media, because I think we don’t celebrate nearly enough, all the ways that age can be ‘becoming’ to women. I’m all about the notion that beauty is relative to your soul, and sometimes, that takes a long time to understand. How are you letting age become you? What are you noticing about yourself that you finally GET, that you didn’t appreciate about yourself when you were younger?


13 thoughts on “Your Age”

  1. Oh I love that you wear your love of cake on your curves, that must make me wear my love of chocolate on my generously rounded belly?! One thing I’ve learnt about myself as I’ve aged is that it’s no good fighting the inevitable, like going grey, very young. For years I had fun colouring my hair every colour under the sun, then it became a real chore to maintain as more of my head was covered in greys, so I decided I would ’embrace the greys’ and went natural. It took a couple of years to properly convert, but that was around 8 years ago now and I haven’t looked back. I actually love the colour of my hair now. Ps I love what your ma said, isn’t it funny how we assume people are looking at us the way we look at ourselves? xx

    1. She was a wise lady, my ma! Your hair is so beautiful!
      Yes, love of cake, and pastries, and all food actually. There’s room for all of it. 😀 I’ve just enjoyed a home-made coconut cream cookie…. mmm-mmm!

    2. I am totally hearing you Little White Dove. I have the premature grey gene as well and I’ve fought it for so long. It just didn’t seem right being grey at such a young (40) years age. Then last year when I turned 50 I thought stuff it! I’m just going to embrace it. And that’s what I’m gradually doing (with the help of going lighter first). I had very dark brown hair and it takes awhile to go to a blondey colour. But the grey is blending in and I’m nearly there. It is SO liberating!!

  2. Isn’t it amazing how having a body that doesn’t function as it should helps you appreciate what it can do, outside of those self-imposed limitation. I’m all for celebrating a strong and functional body, regardless of its shape or size.

    1. Collette, yes! It’s almost like human beings wilfully ignore the concept that our bodies may fail at some point. We take them for granted. So sad that it can take such harsh reality checks to remind us how lucky we are to have these vessels in the first place.

  3. Rach, this is such a fabulous post. As a fellow giantess (5ft 10) I felt that I always stood out. Having smaller friends always made me feel ridiculously huge and conspicious and fashion choices really need to be considered. I love that you have taken up plus size modelling. I would love to do that!!!

    1. Bron, if you would love to do it, I recommend just doing it! Join a facebook group for plus-size girls, then watch the posts for events. Many girls start out doing body positivity gigs or entering competitions. The latter are great for getting you in front of casting professionals. It’s such a fun and affirming thing to do, and SO lovely to have all that pampering of hair and makeup! You can always contact modelling agencies directly too, have a photo ready for them, or even better, walk in! Agents are usually really lovely and approachable and will give you good advice about what to do. Let me know how you get on! Just do it!
      PS… I just saw your pics Bron. You are not plus size… are you? I’m a very deep shade of green for your svelte legs and tiny butt! You are so incredibly gorgeous, I am certain you’ll get signed. You beautiful creature!

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