Updated: Jun 27, 2022
In this episode (LISTEN TO THE EPISODE) Alexis shares that she loves getting older, having massive shifts in how she thinks and behaves every 10 years.
She talks about how she is calmer now and more comfortable with her body, how she stopped apologizing for who is she and for taking the space, especially from men.
She also thinks that you Can become too old for some opportunities, and you just need to admit it and prioritize what's most important to you.
She truly believes, that by getting older you do grow into your strength and power, start valuing yourself more as a woman and thank yourself for what you did.
10 Facts About Alexis
(at the time of the project)
1. 53 years old.
2. She was born Tiffany, hated the name most of her life, and spent the better part of her 20s killing Tiffany and being Alex. She spent her 30s Being Alex, and then when she went into her 40s, started growing into Alexis.
3. Alexis and her husband have been together for 24 years. Alexis thinks that the reason behind their marriage's success is that her husband gets up early than her.
4. Alexis says she is hyperactive, she is either flat out or asleep, with no middle ground.
5. Alexis has three adult children – a son and 2 daughters and two grandchildren – granddaughter and grandson
6. Alexis loves politics. She follows UK politics, and US politics, loves Australian politics, always on Twitter.
7. She also loves putting out information about family violence and domestic violence to help and empower women to leave violent relationships. She herself has an acquired brain injury from an assault she experienced in a violent relationship.
8. Alexis loves sport. Once she has even become a rugby coach, a team manager, and the president of a rugby club, so her son’s team could play every Saturday.
9. Biggest challenge at this age – “Ageing gracefully. I think as a society, we dismiss older people, we dismiss old people completely. So for me, the challenge for the next 12 years of my working life, is to make sure, that I'm actually respected and valued. For my contribution.”
10. Positive change with age – “I just love getting older. I, every decade has been just better and better. I think you get more comfortable with your body. So I think, for me, aging has been this wonderful process of becoming me and being confident enough to be me and to not apologize for taking up space, especially for men.”
Watch Alexis's VIDEO interview HERE
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE:
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (auto-generated):
Hi, you are listening to My Body My Story podcast,
But I actually think my greatest accomplishment was fixing me, so that I could actually be that parent for them and be that role model.
This is the 45 or 45 chapter where we celebrate rule breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show that sensuality, beauty, soul and true essence. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and will listen to the stories of our participants. If you have an interesting story to share, we would love you to participate, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
Oh, okay. So normally I get to talk about me, but I'd like me to talk about more of me. So I was born, Tiffany hated the name of most of my life and spent the better part of my 20s Killing Tiffany and being Alex. And well, I was I spent my 30s Being Alex and then when I went into my 40s, I sort of started growing into a Lexus.
How did you come up with a name?
It's my middle name. So I just reverse the order and started using my middle name. I sort of I think to in my 30s. There was some strength in being Alex, you know, like having that male name. It often put people on the wrong foot, you know, in interviews and stuff because they you know, they'd be expecting a man and a woman to turn up and they'd be like, disconcerted. You know, I just kind of like the strength but so I've been married three times. The third one stack
the other ones where practice runs
that practice runs. It was a bit of a disaster. But we don't talk about that, really. But yeah, my husband and I now have been together for nearly 25 years will be 25 years in May.
You're too young to have been 25 years and the other ones. Where did you manage the other one?
Oh, I live life pretty flat out. So and yeah, he's just wonderful. So we met as I turned 30. And so I'm 54 now so sorry, it'll be 24 years in may not 25. I think that's right. Anyway, I have to think about the dates. I'm not I'm not very good dates. But I have three children. They're adults. They're all fabulous. I'm just so proud of them. They've all got really good work ethics. They really consider it two out of the three are very, very kind. My son still got a bit of a way to go. And but I love them and they really like me as an adult. And I think that's so good because I was so not a good mother raising them I've got like no maternal instincts whatsoever. And oh, kids get what they need from me not necessarily what they want. I was never that woman that went no baby. So it's just like, oh my god, babies. Where can I hide? Yeah, even like coming out here. I got on the plane and they seated me next to a couple with a baby that was about six months old. Clearly teething and crying had snot everywhere. No. Like, oh, nevermind ... But anyway, so and my eldest daughter, she's, she's on her own now. But she did have a partner and they had two beautiful children. So I have a granddaughter who's nine and a half. And my grandson who I'm going to get in trouble now. I think he just turned six, but they rock they are awesome. My granddaughter is like just kindness incarnate. Like she's she's got bossy straight like she's you know, she's got got a bit of, you know, her grandma's backbone, but she always wins awards at school for being kind and compassionate and you know, for helping others out. Yeah. So I'm always really proud that that's, that's her thing. My grandson, he's on the autism spectrum, and make his like the coolest dude he just laughs and everything loves Life, you'll be sitting watching a movie and he's worked out how to make what's on his phone, go on the TV. And so you'll be you know, watching a movie and all of a sudden Itchy and Scratchy and beating the crap out of gamma look Mr look. But he loves dress ups as well. And he just you know he'll, he'll just come and he'll find a shirt of yours that he likes and cut it up so he can make his cost. So we have to keep our good stuff out of the way. But any any wrap stuff up in sticky tape and he loves dressing up and being Captain Hook. It was really hard when he started Primary School to understand that he couldn't go to school as a character. That was a bit tough for him. But so we now have the most amazing collection of costumes for adults and children. And one year we were living in this duplex up in Sydney. The girls and I my husband's always stayed in the house in Melbourne. And so my grandson's birthday is in January and we didn't have any air conditioning. And I got my son a Buzz Lightyear costume to dress up in, well, my grandson's downstairs and he says Buzz Lightyear coming down. It was only like three or four at the time. So we didn't have that understanding of like, not really. He lost his mind. He was just like, so happy. So brings us like just lots of joy and just says this wonderful way of seeing the world. But yeah, other than that I'm a senior project manager. I actually am a Project Portfolio Manager for local council Darebin and governance professional. I'm a fellow of the governance Institute of Australia to something that's usually reserved for lawyers and stuff. So be proud of that.
Well done, so the Alex part, right?
Alex got me there. Alex.
Got you there. The rest is up to you. Yeah.
Yeah, it's like becoming Alexis was like that was the the icing on the cake. Yeah.
Very interesting. What are you most passionate about?
Oh, God. I'm like passionate about everything. So I'm hyperactive. I have adult ADHD? They did try to give me drugs for at once. That's so didn't work. But I tried. I just personalities. Yeah. Yeah, I'm like, I'm flat out or, or I'm asleep. Like there's just no, no middle ground. Like, this is how I wake up in the morning. I'm just like, I annoy people. My husband fortunately gets up early than me. I think that's the success of our marriage. For me, cuz I'm just like, hi, morning. But I am, like, I suppose like, socially, I love all things like politics. I follow UK politics, US politics, love Australian politics, always on Twitter. I'm really a love. putting out information about family violence and domestic violence to help, you know, empower women to leave violent relationships. If necessary, I'll share my own story, I have an acquired brain injury from an assault I experienced in a violent relationship. I'm quite lucky, because it hasn't really impacted me in terms of my my thought processes, but I am very easily distracted. And that gets harder and harder to control. And I got poor control. So you know, I'm the sort of person Okay, oh, it's 11 o'clock at night, who cares? Let's open another bottle of wine or wake up for work in the morning and then be like, oh, you know. But I think the thing that's been really important for me and that was part of being Alex and then becoming Alexis, is that I'm saying to be a positive role model, a good role model for young women. I you know, cuz anybody can be role models, Donald Trump's role model, shocking one, but you know, but to be really conscious in like owning my behaviour, owning my actions, and saying, you know, you can leave a bad relationship and you can put yourself through uni as a single mum in a housing commission, and I just, my first husband wasn't violent. He was a lovely, lovely man. I just saved my life too fast for him. But this was just this wasn't a husband. This was just a terrible relationship. Just you know, because I've got children and they fathers wonderful. And their fathers because my kids are a blended family. For me, like, I'm just, I just love everything. I love life. I just, yeah, I think it's the greatest gift you get every single day. It's you wake up and it's like, you've just got another day to do better and I'd like to leave your mark in the world and you don't have to be like so Hillary Clinton. Trying to find Everest, you know, but I think the greatest gift that you can do is be be present is to be present, be yourself and be the very best version or sound like an American thing.
Help however you can, you dont have to do everything for everyone, but what if you can help in some way? Right? Yeah, take that chance and do it.
Yeah. And I think if you role model good behaviours in other people, like, I try to be really excellent boss, you know, to my staff. Like, I'm, I'm so proud of my kids, like, I really felt even though like, you know, I was not the most, the most responsible of Karen's when I was raising them, you know, like, I got them to this sport, every week, I got them to their training, I got them to their choir, you know, I got managed to raise the money to send one of my daughters overseas singing. You know, like, I just, I feel like, it was really important that I raised my kids to be able to fit into society and to function in society and to be part of society. And, and so, yeah, so that was like, for me,
it's like a great mom, I think spoiling is wrong. So what you did you actually, you know, raised them and you did right by them, just because you didn't spoil them, essentially, you know, as much as some others do. It doesn't, doesn't make you less of, you know, more or less motherly instincts or anything out. I think it's…
Yeah, I suppose I don't conform to the normal. I think that's probably a better way like they, I've got, I've got photos that are long hidden, you know, where I'm sitting like, in dark glasses, you know, because I would have been out partying till four in the morning. And but I've still got my kids to their sport, you know, and, and that's what they remember. You know, my son was running at Homebush, just after it opened in a state state, athletic carnival, and he reckons, above 40,000. People he could yell, hear me yelling out, go trained. That's my boy. That's my baby. What it was that I know, I became a rugby coach so that they could actually the team could play every Saturday because their coach was a bit unreliable. You know, being a team manager and being the president of a rugby club and the juniors. Yeah, I just, I love sport. I think sport helps immunise our kids from drugs to some extent. Yeah, I know. It's, I'm passionate about everything.
It's good. It's good. You have so many interests you constantly learning something, constantly being part of life, you know, you're not, it doesn't go past sort of you're, you're living it.
This is true one so I can remember, you know, as a teenager in my 20s. It's quite wild and out there. It's very much on the party scene. And my mom would be like, God, I can't believe you did that. I can't believe you did that. You know, there was a little bit of vicarious living. But I just said to I go one day, you're going to be old sitting on your rocking chair and wondering, like, of all the things you missed, I say I ever sit in a my rocking chairs, smiling and thinking God, I still hope my children never find out about that particular night. You know what I mean? Like, there's not I don't really have any regrets. Even things that were where I did have to suffer consequences. You know, even like, I still don't regret them. Like they've all just they all blur into who I am
You stand why what you did. Yeah, I think that's important. I think that's great.
Everyone knows that with age we change but what positive changes have you experienced with age?
Oh, God, I just I love getting older. I, every decade has been just better and better. I I think you get more comfortable with your body. You you'll demand that, that people that you're in an intimate partner relationship with treat you properly. You tell them which bit of you makes you feel really good and things like that we're telling you just don't do it for it. Yeah, do you want I think if you're reflective and if you're fortunate, you you learn from your mistakes and you do better next time. And, you know, I I just I've always learned to pick myself up and keep putting one foot in front of the other foot. So I just went from like, a really disastrous 20s and the you know, a couple of really awful awful events and a couple of my teen years to you know, have this period, my 20s that are called the last two years. I just I can't explain how they happened, but they did. And then you know, was this you know, single mum living in government housing, and I've got myself to uni and I put myself through uni and I met my husband now and we, you know, I take time off because we had a baby fairly quickly. And, you know, I just kept working harder and studying and I, I think, like, I've always had a hard work ethic, but I learned how to, I learned how to make I stopped apologising for me for who I am, you know, a lot of the time, like, women in my 20s and 30s would make me feel bad about myself. And, you know, I'm just I'm not demure. I'm not reserved on I'm certainly not cautious. Yeah
That’s you, why should you be someone else, you are not trying to change them..
Yeah. Thank you. And yeah, and so I think, for me, ageing has been this wonderful process of becoming me and being confident enough to be me and to not apologise for taking up space, you know, especially for men. But anyway, that's a topic for another day. I think the best thing is, my friends. Yeah, I've got I've got five really close girlfriends, like people that I could call in the middle of the night, if I was in trouble. And I don't think many people have that. I've got two friends that I've known since they were born. So I have another friend other than Lisa, because Lisa and I've known each other since we were babies together. And we went to primary school together and went to high school together. And then I have godparents, and their youngest daughter and I, we've been friends again, since she was born. We're still friends. Now. I think I'm trying to get up to the Gold Coast once a year to see her. But unfortunately, COVID hasn't been great.
Yes, everyone's lives on hold.
Yeah. And I find that about every 20 years, there's like this massive sort of shift in how I think and behave so like, around 28. And then I'm against once every 10 years really then sort of, in my early 40s, like my whole world shifted and repositioned. And then now, like, I feel like the decisions that I'm making, and the change, I'm like, fundamentally, quite different to who I was a year ago. And I don't actually think it's down to COVID. I don't know if COVID has minutes triggered my PTSD. But I don't know whether it's had a negative or positive impact for me as yet, but it has had an impact. But I genuinely feel that like, what I'm calmer now, I'm taking more time to make decisions. And I just, I feel like this year is me, you're setting up my year to set up the next 20 years of my life, but also mourning, the loss of opportunities that just because not that I regret not having done them, but I'm just now too old to do them. And people go, Oh, you're never too old. But in fact, you are, you know, the things you are and some things you just you need to reprioritize as well, because you've got such a short time left. So what you do needs to be meaningful. Yeah. So I like getting older. The best thing about getting older, is I don't get hit on propositioned as much, you know, yeah, I really, I kind of like, getting differently attractive as I get older, you know? Yeah.
A different type of respect. You don't seem just like as a beautiful woman. But there is there's other part of it as well.
Yeah, you just not you don't get as objectified. And you don't just have random people hitting you up and in the street. And like sometimes I couldn't even go to work and you'd have some idiot on the training. Like, I know, you want to, you know, can I have your phone number and look in some ways like that person was very brave to approach you. But they're not approaching you. They're approaching that that image that you have, and I think that it took me a long time to learn the difference between sexy dressing and sensual dressing. So dressing in a way that embraces your womanhood, but doesn't necessarily go Hey, boys, here I am. Come and do you know what I mean? And I think the other thing with age is like, now if I'm out with girlfriends, I'm just like, Oh, thanks, you know, nice to meet you and stuff, but I'm just out with the girls tonight. Like I'm just you know, not interested. Like I don't even say I'm married because it's Do you know what I mean? It's like, issue Have, you shouldn't have to Yeah. And I think as you get older, you can say that you you do grow into your strength. I think society strips it away from us so much in our our primary years and our you know, particularly with our stories telling and stuff that I think most women don't really grow into who they are and till they don't grow into their power until much later. Yeah. And then we don't have enough time to change the world.
The older you get, the more you kind of realise I don't think I wish I had the balls to do more. So yes, .. What is the biggest challenge or experience experiencing at this age?
Ageing gracefully? There's a whole lot of, because when you get to this age, there is a degree of, oh, who gives a fuck, I'm going to do it anyway. So you can be a little bit Cavalier so and you do notice, you like I've, my skin has aged so Well, I for that I'm eternally grateful I married a very nice man, marry someone who's kind, you'll still young, and you'll stay young forever. So I think there's a little bit of a challenge in that. But I think as a society, we dismiss older people, we dismiss old people completely. And, you know, just our response to, you know, the older people with when COVID was here, and you know, people going I'm not wearing a mask, it's my right, I'm like, well, actually, this is Australia, we don't have a bill of rights. That's America, you know, get your facts straight here, you know, but I think for a lot of older women, you know, that there's, there's a redundancy about us, and we're not valued for what we can contribute. Yeah. So I think, you know, for me, the next challenge for the next sort of maybe 12 years of my working life, is to make sure you know, that I'm actually respected and valued. For my contribution. My son had once said, Something are, you know, people would like you your age, you know, they don't know how to use computers. This was about 10 years ago. And I actually pushed him off his chair. And I said, I wrote in DOS, I said, we didn't even have windows when I first started using computers. And he was really surprised. So I think I think being able to, to be allowed to age. I think that's the that's the biggest challenge,
But also be respected for the, for the knowledge you have. Yeah, because in a lot of ways, you have a lot more knowledge than younger people. Yes. Then I made a computer's better programming, but yeah, again, not necessarily.
Yeah, you know, and we all have different experiences. And I think we need to share our stories, not like bleed and vomit all over each other with our pain, but and that's okay to do in certain circumstances. But I think, you know, we can I learned all the time from my younger children. And sometimes it might be about the Kardashians, but the other time, right, you know, but other times, like, it's really interesting to see how they engage with the world. You know, I, my, my youngest has never lived in a world without mobile phones, you know, my eldest two, they were sort of 12 and 13, when they got their mobile phones. But you know, so they have some book, some understanding, and as just, I'd fascinates me, you know, how they see the world, how they engage with the world, you know, how much they value food and eating together? You know, which I think, as society, sort of homogenises we risk losing, I think back in the 80s, and 90s, we did for a while, whereas now it's sort of back. And some things that I I look at from a surface level, from my age, I think it's a little bit pretentious. And then I think, Jesus, you're a child of the 80s. And you're saying that's pretentious, you know, like, yeah, there's actually, you know, I see my youngest daughter and her boyfriend. They're always in the kitchen cooking, and I get these random text messages like, Oh, Mom, how do you cook this? Or she'll message your dad and say, Oh, how do I cook this? Or, you know, I met the Vietnamese shop, you know, which one do I buy? You know, and then my poor husband's like trying to read the labels as she like, raises the past, you know? So, I think being held relevant. That's right. Yeah. I think that's the biggest challenge. And being an excellent grandma.
Best grandma of the year, of the decade how old they are?
nearly 10 ..
Describe your greatest accomplishment.
So, like part of it is, you know, to say like, I've got these three great kids, they function really well. They've got really good tools got fabulous jobs, another one's, you know, working away through uni and just doing amazing things there. But I actually think my greatest accomplishment was fixing me so that I could actually be that parent for them and be that role model. So I, I think, sounds a bit vainglorious. But I think my greatest accomplishment was making me the person that I am so that my children have something to aspire to and my grandchildren.
So I think that's, I think that's so right on so many levels, like how can you add value to someone else's life? Unless you are completely happy with you? You know yourself here except yourself? Right? How else can you teach someone else to do the same?
Oh, God, I'm gonna cry happy more makeups I don't normally cry. So this is the equivalent of me back at crying back at loads. It's about I don't I don't cry. Sometimes I want to you know, sometimes have that pain and you just want to cry. And I thought I saw this thing was some American thing. And they they had these some these this room, we'd go for some weekend away to do personal work and had these crying mats, we had to just lie down and cry. And I was like, Oh my God, even when I want to cry, I can't get the cheese to come, you know?
Yeah, like, Oh, my eyes are moist. We don't thank ourselves enough as women. We don't value what we do. Even even when you think you're very empowered, and that you do value what you do. We don't. We are undermined from day one by society since so many mixed messages. Yeah. You know,
Men are I still on top, men are still matter more. Yeah. What advice would you give your 30 year old?
You know, that one question really challenged me. And there's a Japanese saying that I came across. Many years ago, I was in my mid 20s. And it was something that helped me so long. And I think it's been repeated by a lot of self styled gurus. And it was that it's not about the destination. It's about the journey. And to be honest, I wouldn't tell 30 year old me anything because like, I wouldn't change anything that's happened since I was 30. Like, my life has just blossomed of it's such a trite and corny word, but it's just got better and better.
I think if you would give yourself advice, then it's you might not follow the same path. Is that why you wouldn’t?
It's almost that that I, it was a path I had to walk. Yeah, there were a couple of interesting turns. But yeah, I I'd be scared to say anything in case I change. And then my kids wouldn't be who they are. And my grandkids wouldn't be who they are. They may not even be here. Like, can you imagine? Yeah, you did have to say anything. It would be very, you know, cryptic. And just to say, the journey is everything.
What advice would you give younger women who will eventually undergo these changes
So be true to yourself? Like, do you it's such a hero, the young one saying it? Do you, be you, you know, but I wish somebody had said, I wish somebody had given me permission so long ago to just be me to say that it's okay. You know, to just do you and the thing is, if you are true to yourself, and I mean, true, not not doing what's better for you over another person, we all have responsibilities and duties. I had a couple of opportunities to fly off to Europe with, you know, with people, but I'd have responsibility to my children. But I think acknowledging that responsibility and the truth of that responsibility and saying, No, this is who I am. And, you know, I want to I want to be me, and I think like, so I my girls and I we love Audrey Hepburn. We just think she's fabulous Bozo like Katharine Hepburn, who was, you know, different generation again, but they were women who were very self possessed and really sort of had that image and it's like,
It would have been harder at that in that century.
Yeah, well, yeah. Katharine Hepburn because like, she wore pants like it was unbelievable, you know, but for me, you know, I was like, for a long time, they were who I wanted to be like, and then I realised one day and I think Think this is the advice I would give to a young person, stop saying I want to be like that person, if that's who you want to, if they, if they are values that resonate with you, you have to get up every day and be that person until you become that person. You can't just say, oh, I want to be a person who this or who that, you know, then you've got to be, right. I'm getting out of bed today. If I'm going to be that person, I don't mean like, become Audrey Hepburn, like become the best to you, then you have to get out of bed. For starters, because that's an issue in itself. A lot of people don't like it again a bit. And then you got to say, Well, okay, if I'm going to be that version of me, what would I actually wear today? Okay, would I actually partake in this activity after work? You know, like, what, like, and so you can't actually become the person you want to be until you start really committing and being that person every single day. That's right. So yeah, so yes, be Be true to yourself. So do you because you can't do what you can't do anyone else. It's false. And people sense it.
What is your favourite quote, about being a woman?
This quote, lived with me for so long. There's even a book that's got it as its title. And it's a collection of about 3000 quotes of women, but I've given up buying it because every time I lend it to someone, I never get it back because then they lend it to someone and bla bla, it gets lost. A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. And I heard it during my last years, and then you to who I love. I used to always wish I could grow up and marry Bono. But of course, he was already married, but it's probably the only white male I've ever been attracted to, except perhaps for Hugh Jackman in that movie scene where he pours water over himself.
Yeah, I like a very specific type of Asian man. Yeah. But yes, so they then. So you two recorded a song that had a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. And it just always resonated with me to you know, because for so much of my teenage years in my 20s, it was about like finding someone, you know, you have to find someone you have to find this life partner. And then, you know, it was like, actually, I've got all these really great girlfriends, and I've got, you know, all these really nice people in my life. Like, my life's actually quite balanced. You know, and it really just helped me. I just went from one PR relationship to the next and actually found it very difficult to be single, you know, and so that kind of just reminded me that, you know, I need to be, I need you. Once I am myself, then the right people will come or not, but it doesn't matter, then, you know, so I think, you know, that was I think the thing that I love the most about my husband is he's just happy to walk alongside.
You know, he just knows- she is strong woman she knows what she's doing. He's there just to support you. That's what supposed to be like, yeah.
Yeah, it's true. I let him rescue me every now and again. Because culturally, you know, I, I often wonder, like, when I'm in Vietnam, and I, I see the other wives and the dynamics in their marriages and unlike Good lord, you know, he just accepts so much, you know, yeah. He came out by the refugee camps and eventually came to Australia and then I met him.
Well, thank you. Thank you so much for sharing your story.
If you have an interesting story to share would love for you to participate. You can email us at email@example.com or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
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