Today I had a sort of down day, as I often do. I don’t mean down that I felt depressed or sad in anyway, just something to do with my direction in life sort of irked me. And then I watched Channel 4’s Fabulous Fashionistas.
This is a documentary about six women with an average age of 80, who are superhuman like no other. They proved a true inspiration to me (a girl more than a third of this age) and filled me with a new joy for life. Sue, wearing mostly primary colours and superhero dolls around her neck says, “beige is the colour of death. My motto is – don’t wear beige, it might kill you.“ It’s not only their style choices that seem to shave years off them. They choose a ‘be who you are no matter what anyone else thinks’ notion, with Gilly, a choreographer whose husband is half her age, stating “I don’t give a toss. I don’t give a damn what anybody says about me”. They each have an attitude which defies normal and an aptitude for pushing on through grief, every day hurdles and physical immobility. Perhaps Gilly sums it up when she says, “the minute you give an inch, life or illness will take a mile.” It really is mind over matter. However, part of me also wonders whether it would be good to live to the ripe old age of 90. They seem to be really fighting to keep hold of any youth and fighting their increasingly frail bodies to get up in the morning and do 40 minutes of exercise. To me, at ten, my granny seemed so old when she was only in her sixties: old was something I never wanted to be, looking at her. Thankfully, these fabulous fashionistas have restored my faith in what it means to be ‘old’. They are redefining the word.
Feeling inspired, I shared this documentary with my mum and gran, who raised a very valid point: That’s all good and well if you’re a ballet dancer with a house in the South of France, or a Baroness in the house of Lords, but what if you’re an every day woman living off a carers allowance or a state pension. This stumped me, and I felt the inspiration was every so slightly tainted. I like to think that if I asked these women that question, they’d be able to tell me that it’s about being resourceful, being in control and making positive choices.