Lord knows we need some middle aged women to be great role models because we are being covered in an avalanche of fake, filtered and phony women who make it seem as if their lives are picture perfect and flawless when it comes to Instagram and Facebook.
I never expected to walk away from meeting Rebecca Gibney with a new role model and with a little spring in my step. I had a little refresher course in the importance of random acts of kindness and that it is okay to take time out for me. I was smitten by the Gold Logie winner’s honesty, humility and wisdom. I always liked Rebecca Gibney. Everyone does, I guess.
The mum has been a familiar face on our TV screens for more than 30 years. I watched her when she was the first female mechanic on Australian TV and played Emma on The Flying Doctors. She was rock solid as the smiling but almost vanilla mum, Julie Rafter, in ‘Packed To The Rafters’. But in real life the New Zealand actress is luminescent both physically and in the way she handles herself. Rebecca glows goodness. And is so damn real. She is vulnerable and strong.
The mum told a group of 500 Coast women she came from a dysfunctional family as her dad was a violent alcoholic. There it was. The facts. There was no drama. No pity. Just the facts. There was no perfect childhood or pin up parents as part of her upbringing. Perhaps this is why I was so entranced by her so quickly. Rebecca went on to say how she suffered anxiety and from low self esteem for much of her life. “When I was 32 I had a major mental collapse because I had so much self loathing. I could not leave my house; I was on Valium and I wanted to die. Being in that dark place for so long taught me about self care. I actually wrote a letter to my mum explaining I wanted to die. I thought at the time she will never understand and because of that I just could not kill myself. I wanted to die but I went on to have heaps of therapy and slowly started to realize it is okay to be honest and vulnerable. So if you are feeling low, please get help.”
I had a very brief private chat to Rebecca after she addressed 500 local women for International Women’s Day thanks to the Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network. While Rebecca was giving me lessons on how to take a wickedly good selfie, I told her how I suffer so much Mum Guilt and Work Guilt and Bad Wife Guilt. She looked me in the eyes with the calmness of the damn Dalai Lama and said “It is not being arrogant to think you are good. It took me until my 40s to realise it is okay to say you are good. I am way more interesting now than when I was in my 20s.”
Rebecca had earlier told the crowd “The other big lesson I have learnt is to just try to be in the moment more. Whatever you are doing give it 100 per cent of your focus and do not give it 90 per cent while the other 10 per cent of you is planning dinner while you are in a work meeting or worrying about that medical appointment while you are watching your child play soccer. Men are really good at this,” she added.
Rebecca is clearly a high achiever and this is what makes her an unexpected role model for fighting the good fight against the inner demons. Gals like Rebecca show all our generations that we do not become invisible once we hit 40 but in fact become who we are truly meant to be and truly want to be.
– Sami xx