Are you wearing a cloak of invisibility?
Invisible as a 52 year old woman
I used to think being invisible would be amazing when I was a kid. Imagine the freedom of being able to go wherever you like being unseen, unnoticed, under the radar…the reality is, as a fifty something year old woman, it’s actually not that amazing after all. Being invisible is more about being barged past on busy streets, pushed in front of in queues, not getting served at the bar and being ignored in shops.
Invisible woman syndrome is a thing. According to a survey undertaken by Gransnet, 52 is the age that we start to notice being overlooked and patronised. Women that look like us and represent our age group in the media tend only pop up in adverts for incontinence pads, anti-ageing wrinkle cream and equity release schemes. If you’ve ever needed to do a search in stock images of middle-aged women you’ll know that we tend to disappear, only to pop back up again when we look like old age pensioners.
The menopause has a lot to answer for
The menopause has a lot to answer for. Our bodies start to betray us and change shape, our sexiness curves all head south and become redistributed around the middle. The elasticity in our skin becomes like an over stretched elastic band, less taut, a bit looser. Add thinning, grey, sometimes wiry hair into the mix and you feel let down. You see yourself ageing rather than embracing the wisdom and experience you have; our western culture celebrates youth. All this contributes to us potentially starting to lose our visibility in society.
It can sometimes be hard as you get older to have the confidence you might have had in your younger days due to all these factors. You’ve possibly lost some of your identity along the way as you were busy focusing on juggling your home and work life too. Wife, mum, carer, taxi driver, nurse, career woman, chief of everything.
Take back control in middle age
I see this as being the perfect time to press the reset button. The answer is to become proudly comfortable in your own skin. Rather than quieten down fading into midlife mediocrity it’s your time to dial things up a notch. In as much the same way Chanel said, ‘A woman who changes her hair is about to change her life’ a change in your outer appearance can be the start of (or reflect) changes within.
It’s time to move on from this, to take back control. You don’t necessarily have to shave your head in an act of rebellion, although if that’s how you feel why not? It can be a gentler, incremental transformation, which helps you create a new, upgraded liberated version of yourself for this next phase of your life. Throwing away the metaphorical cloak of invisibility and defining who you are and how you want to show up is empowering. 65% of those surveyed in the Gransnet poll believed that style and confidence have more to do with how people are treated than age. You will be, by default, more visible, OWNING your look.
Find a community of likeminded women
What is brilliant, and supports this opportunity of a fresh start, preventing you from fading into midlife mediocrity is the fact that 79% of those surveyed felt less self-conscious than ever before and cared much less about what other people think! So actually, it’s the perfect time to experiment and explore your identity, your outside matching how you feel inside. Time to be you, be more you and then be even more you. It is time show up in your power.
However, this is not necessarily all about external appearance it can also be about feeling seen and heard, being valued for your opinion and having a voice. Feeling part of a tribe and finding a safe space where you can be yourself is incredibly important too. We need to be able to express ourselves and have honest and open conversations with people who get it and won’t judge us. This is why I’ve extended my business into the FAB Networking community.
Fun, informative, supportive 'club' for menopausal women
I personally felt like I didn’t have that space where I could chat comfortably, in a down to earth way, with other likeminded souls about life, business and general issues that crop up as a midlife woman without fear of judgement. I wanted somewhere to hang out and have fun as well as thought provoking, interesting chat in a supportive environment. I believe my free community to be an extension of that feeling of empowerment and being visible.
I asked everyone to give me 3 words to describe what they thought of the group so far. The words that cropped up the most were fun, informative, supportive, honest and interesting. Other words included: likeminded, thought provoking, fabulous, illuminating, inspiring, cheerful, engaging, sisterhood, uplifting, chatty, fantastic, authentic, badass, inclusive, out there, down to earth, feisty, fascinating, quirky, welcoming, irresistible, entertaining, comfortable, enlightening, relevant, safe, sassy, kind. Doesn’t it sound like an amazing place to hang out! Come and join us if you haven’t already.
FAB Network : female authentic ballsy - networking and personal development
The next phase of FAB Network is to launch the member’s networking and personal development meetings. These are going to be a blend of online and face to face meetings held on the second Wednesday of each month 11am – 1pm. You’ll be able to attend twice before committing to the membership. (Full membership details will be available soon.) For now you can register for the 11th May online and the 8th June face to face in Nottingham (places for this will be strictly limited so grab your seat while you can). The schedule will be an informal but structured blend of meeting and chatting with like-minded women and personal development, with 2 inspiring and informative talks each session. I’m very excited and proud to be bringing women together in this way.
So, whether it’s your personal style or a welcoming community where you can be yourself, I’ve got you covered. No more being the invisible woman. I hear you; I see you and I celebrate you. Let’s grow old together (gracefully or otherwise) not quietly blending in and fading away, but loud and proud. Let’s stand strong together as the sassy queenagers we are.
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