All week we've been running our Ageism Is Never In Style badge campaign, demanding ALL ages to be celebrated by the Fashion Industry. The campaign will be continuing all week, with the badges globally uniting those who share the same belief, creating waves on social media, and sparking discussion amongst family, friends and even strangers.
But, in order to end ageism, we must also keep the discussion going through other means. We also need to make sure that every woman feels included and able to share her point of view on what it means to be a modern woman at midlife today. Everyone is different, and we need to demonstrate this in order to end stereotypes, and negative ageist perceptions.
And with that, it's really important that it isn't just influencers and bloggers being listened to. Which is why I am thrilled to be a part of today's Forever Fierce campaign.
You may remember that last October I was part of Fierce Forever's Bridging The Gap campaign that brought together millennials and midlifers to share their stories. It was a great opportunity for making intergenerational connections, and I was introduced to my lovely friend Amy of Your Favorite Chapter.
This time we're all about offering a platform and voice to those who don't have a blog. In the same way that I felt Bridging The Gap was a much needed campaign, this Voice of Non-Bloggers is equally important. Writing a blog isn't for everyone, and with it being a tight knit community, it can be intimidating for those who aren't a part of it. For us to end ageism we must make sure no one feels excluded.
So I am excited and delighted to share these non-blogger's feelings and thoughts on what it means to be fierce at midlife:
Sandi Smith, in her 60s, Tennessee, USA
Just because you are older, doesn't mean that you have to not be active and vital any longer! We can re-invent ourselves, and put ourselves out there for new experiences. We have life experiences that can carry us into this new chapter of our lives. Try new experiences, try new careers, do all of the things you want. Wear what flatters you and makes you feel good about YOU, not what you are told you should wear,Just because you are older, doesn't mean that you have to not be active and vital any longer! We can re-invent ourselves, and put ourselves out there for new experiences. We have life experiences that can carry us into this new chapter of our lives. Try new experiences, try new careers, do all of the things you want. Wear what flatters you and makes you feel good about YOU, not what you are told you should wear. Life is full of experiences, try to have as many as your life will allow. I personally, have re-invented myself in my 60's, and feel so much better about myself. I write to designers of clothes and shoes all of the time suggesting that they might look at older women, and not just the young! After all, we are the ones with the disposable income, and we want to look attractive, as well!
Jane Clemetson, in her 50s, London UK
Being fierce in middle age means having honed my beady eyed look (have succeeded with this) and not taking any shit from anyone (still a bit of a work in progress.)
Suzanne Patrick, nearly 58, Yorkshire UK
What does it mean to me? How did my revolution start
1. Getter older and changing physically. I'd always wanted kids but never stuck up enough for a family. Work always got in the way. So, it started with my hysterectomy at 48 and actually realising that the time clock was ticking. I'd always been fit, nubile, able to bear kids but never did and had a neat figure. The 'op' scared me with a lovely caesarian procedure across my lower belly and it changed my life. After being ill for several years, I was so much better, but my body started to change. I got a little bigger and so did my chest. I had never been large busted always an A cup. Now I'm a double D and enjoying my newly grown bosoms! Beingfierceis being sassy and wearing with 'them' with pride. It changes what you wear and how you see yourself. These days I accentuate my " assets" and wear more layers. Importantly, when I was ready, which did take time, I took all my gorgeous size 8 suits and dresses to the local Hospice shop. At first, I beat myself up and wanted to get back to my original size. Hormones and arthritis prevents me from doing that however, I buy what fits me now. Sometimes a size UK10 and sometimes a size 12 but the way I look is important to my job which is front-facing. I am comfortable in my present skin.
2. Mentally, wow I've changed. I've grown more confident and resolute in what I want. I've always been ebullient, but it was a mask of confidence inevitably trying to please others and not myself. Now I do feel more true to myself, more stripped bare, more at peace. I'm prone to selfish-ness and value my space and being single.
"I van't to be alone!"
Yes "single" I said, I gave him the chop in the drudgery and twilight of an ancient marriage of 34 years that had lost its flame and 'joy de vivre'. I do envy people that live and die together, but for me and my life, this moment on Earth is too short.Fiercely, I lean into fear now rather than kid myself that I'm happy. I find it empowers me as there is very little in my life that can harm me and let's face it life is for living.
Valuing those I love - Ifiercelydefend my friendships and take time to maintain contact with those I love. I have a few close friends left having shed many marital acquaintances through my divorce. People that I thought were genuine but sadly when I stopped writing the Christmas cards, they never took time to send me any wishes or good luck.
I feel freer in spirit, outwardly and inwardly than I ever did and look towards the future with hope and excitement awaiting the next chapter. I have a less complicated life and most of all, my solitude is something that these days Ifiercelyprotect.
I hope you have enjoyed a tiny glimpse into my fearless journey. Sometimes it juddered, sometimes it became static but it was always destined for new territory. The BIGmidliferevolution rules! If I was stripped bare you'd probably see my 'go faster stripes' on the new coachwork !!!🤣🤣🤣🤣
Joan Tall, 69, Cornwall UK
At long last the time and confidence to be myself.
Hilary Hall, early 60s, Oxfordshire UK
So - what does ‘being fierce’ mean to me? I could be worthy and talk about social and other injustices - yes they matter but right now I’m addressing the micro not macro inasmuch as these thoughts aren’t going to change the world - but they can make your personal world a better place.
Not compromising on what matters, but being honest about what DOES matter and what DOESN’T matter! Each are hugely important to me. Service (but it’s more about how we all deal with each other every day) does matter - in every realm, shopping, in a bar, contacting a business for any reason, your neighbour, the postman, your friends, your family.
Being fierce is about valuing the small things and protecting them and not letting the frustrations of daily life distract you from them. Cherish the shaft of sunlight, the snowdrops poking their heads out or the beauty of the frost making the garden crisply white. So the kettle took longer to boil, the biscuits are a bit soggy - does it matter?
Being fierce is knowing honesty does matter - one small example - I 'hate' a sales assistant trying the insincere flattery lines “madam looks good in everything” - no I don’t, some things I am going to look hideous in. And yes, it is good to be given a gentle push to try something outside your comfort zone I accept - but sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. But by the same maxim be kind - they are doing what their employer is asking of them, so walk away politely but firmly - don’t lash out with your tongue.
Don’t waste precious energy on ‘being fierce’ that is about personal anger, hostility or aggression but use it positively to make things better.
Michelle, 50, London
Being fierce in midlife to me means being fiercely loyal. Loyalty is value that I am proud of and that I seek out in friends, family and work colleagues. We have all experienced the ups and downs that life throws in our pathway, and in those times you find out who are your true loyal supporters, who are there for you eery step of the way, encouraging you, holding you up, crying with you and reminding you to laugh. I'd prefer to have a small group of loyal friends than lots of people I just know.
Alicia S, end of her 50s, London
Acknowledge yourself as an equal to all others. You will be strong, compassionate and fight for justice through love of being part of the world. It takes courage to be happy, optimistic and passionate and loving.
Marilyn (my mum!), mid 60s, London (and yes that's my dad next to her on the right)
For me being fierce in midlife is about rediscovering friendships I have made at different stages of my life, and making new friends, and sharing interests with them. It's also about finding the time to indulge my thirst for knowledge about the world and the development of mankind.
50 other ladies have participated in the campaign today, so you can read their posts and about the ladies they've celebrated here
Plus you can join the Forever Fierce: The Midlife Revolution facebook group here and if you'd like to join the campaign today, find out how to do so here