Episode 50 – Chanelle | How a motorbike accident had totally changed her life | My Body. My Story



LISTEN TO THE EPISODE:


In this episode, you will learn how a motorbike accident has nearly killed Chanelle and totally changed her life. You will also learn 10 FACTS about Chanelle and what she thinks about perfect body image, positive changes and challenges of 45+ women, what is it for her to feel good and look beautiful, and what advice she would give younger women and 30-year-old self!


You can READ the interview transcript HERE

 

10 Facts About Chanelle

(at the time of the project)


1. 47 years old.

2. Chanelle is married and has two little kids who are six and nine, a daughter and a son. The kids have changed her significantly. Chanelle said, she would never have children. And then she had her daughter when she was 38. And was the greatest thing she ever did.

3. Chanelle became disabled five years ago. She had a big motorbike accident in Darwin and lost the use of her dominant arm. Since then Chanelle has had nine surgeries to try and get it working a little bit. So her greatest accomplishment other than the children is embracing being disabled.

4. Chanelle and her family live on a farm one hour away from Sydney.

5. Chanelle is passionate about riding the horses. She has the horses and an arena that she trains on. She’s been obsessed with riding since she was little. Riding horses helped Chanelle to recover after the accident.

6. She works for a big hospital company, and she’s the head of risk. Chanelle has been there 18 years, since she was 29.

7. Chanelle is writing a book about resilience. The name might change, but now it's called a "Broken umbrella".

8. Chanelle got her law degree and became a lawyer at 30. And then she did a Master of Laws.

9. Biggest challenge at this age – “I think a challenge is not comparing yourself how you look to people who are young.”

10. Positive change with age – “I find now I'm much more comfortable with my body than I ever was.”



Watch Chanelle's VIDEO interview HERE


 

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

(auto-generated)


Hi, you're listening to My Body My Story podcast.


Now I feel like it's a gift. That accident was an absolute gift because I took the kids for granted, I took my husband for granted, I was always just rushing on to the next thing and I certainly now, you know, have this wonderful memory of my daughter last Christmas.


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 info@aleksandrawalker.com or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com


Hi, everyone, and welcome to My Body, My Story project and today with us Chanelle. And while she's sitting in the makeup chair, and Nicole is doing makeup for her, I'll be asking her few questions. Hi, Chanel, happy birthday.


Thank you.


Tell us a bit about yourself.


Well, I'm 47 today. As you said, today's my birthday. I've got two little kids who are six and nine, her daughter and a son. I became disabled five years ago, almost five years ago. And that sort of shaped my life quite dramatically than it was before. But, you know, life now is all about sort of embracing that. And, you know, going forward with the all the challenges and joy that that has brought me because it's probably been a great blessing, as well as something very hard.


So what happened?


So I had a big motorbike accident. I used to race motorbikes. My husband still does with a very motorbike family. And yeah, I had a big accident in Darwin and lost the use of my dominant arm.


Oh God.


So I've had a lot of surgeries since that nine surgeries to try and get it working a little bit it is certainly better than it was. And I've just had a big trap muscle transfer to try and get my hand to move a bit which is been quite successful. So yeah, I'm just I've got a big job and I live we live on a farm. So we've got animals and we're busy, busy life. Encouraging. So the Beltline road. Yeah, it's beautiful. We love it out there. It's only an hour from here. But it's a lifetime away. Really.


So is it just for you or you grow goods?


No, It's just for us. We have I ride horses competitively as well and have my whole life. And I still do now disabled. So I have the horses and an arena that I train on. And yeah, it's beautiful. It's a very humble home. But it's beautiful. Like, especially in the pandemic. It was lovely to live there. Yeah,


Do you grow vegetables and fruits or ..?


No, not really. We just had like to be away from the can't see us from the road. We're very secluded. It's beautiful. So love the kid good for the kids very safe. And yeah, a lot of you know, they can be outside all the time.


So do they also ride?


they do they're not like me, I'm obsessed. I have been since I was little. But so the they're both very competent, but they're not. They don't have the passion for it that I do, which is good in a way because it's very expensive hobby to have as an adult.


Yeah. So what do you do in life?


You mean for work or for support? So I work for a big hospital company, and I'm the head of risk. So yeah, I've been there 18 years, since I was 29. Feels like my whole life to be honest. But yeah, it's a wonderful company. It's very big. We've got sort of 35,000 staff and


Is it like a decision and risk analysis?


It's more because the business is very old and very sophisticated. So being head of risk really means capturing everything that's going on and pushing it up to the board. It's more about a framework of information rather than doing the physical risk assessments anymore. It's more about making sure that the board and the executive are aware of everything and that risk is being assessed or opportunities coming out of risk.


Interesting. So what are you most passionate about?


Probably a couple of things. The kids have changed me significantly, I said, I would never have children. And then I had my daughter when I was 38. And was the greatest thing I ever did. And I'm looking back now and think that I nearly missed it. I nearly didn't have children. And I'm so glad that I that I did. So I'm passionate about them. And I'm passionate about riding the horses because I compete disabled now. And they got me through the accident in a lot of ways, because they were the one thing that I didn't lose. So I felt like I lost a lot. I couldn't ride motorbikes anymore. And I couldn't type or, you know, I couldn't drive for a long time. And so there were lots that I couldn't write, and I had beautiful handwriting. And so a lot of things. I felt like I lost with the horses, I was back on a horse in 12 weeks. So I'm very passionate about that. And, you know, we're, I'm on sort of a journey to become a parallel rider, so disabled rider. And I'm writing a book about resilience.


Oh, that would be interesting.


Yeah. So I'm really enjoying that. I've written about 15 chapters. So probably halfway through,


Do you know what it would be called already ?


I haven't ended, although I've got a coach. And he said, the name might change. But it's called Broken umbrella. Because once I was in a storm, and I asked the hotel I was staying at for an umbrella. And they said, We don't have any, but we have this old one that was actually in the bin. And they said, you're welcome to have it. And I took it. And I you know, it kept me dry. And I walked the distance that I had to walk. And I kept it for years because it was still good and useful. And I felt like it was it was sort of like me. So the book is called Broken umbrella. But yeah, I'm not sure if that'll be its final name. But that's what it is at the moment.


I would love to read this, let me know when you finish it.


Well, I have to finish it by September.


So you know, sometimes I heard that. If you believe in destiny or something like that, so then when God takes something from you, He gives you something back in return. So do you think you gain something out of losing this ability to move with one of your hand? Like did you gain something else? Or was it something else was given to you in return?


Yeah, absolutely. I do believe that life gives with one hand and takes with the other. And in the beginning, I couldn't move my arm at all. So it was completely useless. And I had a baby in nappies. My son was a baby and Scarlett, my daughter was not quite four, so that she was little and life was very hard. It was, you know, it was a very challenging time. And I am sort of the head of the family and you know, the breadwinner. And so, it was, I felt like I just had to go on. But now I feel like it's a gift. The accident was an absolute gift. Because I took the kids for granted, I took my husband for granted, I was always just rushing on to the next thing. And I certainly now, you know, have this wonderful memory of my daughter last Christmas. She loves Christmas, and we were decorating the tree and she was dancing around saying this, you know, this is my most favourite time of year. And I remember sitting there thinking, you know, I was nearly killed that day because I was and I would have missed all of this. So it has definitely been an absolute gift because now I try not to get upset about everything and I try to really spend more quality time with the kids so that, you know, the I just take more from them and realise what a gift they are. So yes, I definitely think it's the best thing that ever happened to me really. Which is odd, given it was, you know, big accident.


Sometimes God stops us if we cannot stop ourselves. Unfortunately, so Oh, what changes have you experienced with age, which are positive at the moment? What it would be?


Um, I saw a couple of things. I've always struggled with my weight, which I think is every, you know, a woman does. And, you know, in order to be thin I used to starve and then I would binge and so my weight always was fluctuated about 10 kilos and then I discovered as I got older, a way of eating, that just meant that life became very easy. So I became a Keto person, which I think is not for everybody, but I found it so easy to eat all the time and not never be hungry, and my weight was where I wanted it to be. So I find that being older as helped me to work out what is easier, and you still feel good. And keeping your weight at a good level is much easier. And I find now I'm much more comfortable with my body than I ever was, I used to hate my knees and I was knocked knees as a child, I hated the way I walked. And I've got terrible hair. So I was always very unhappy with that. And I, you know, had bad skin and but I find the older I get the more I love everything that I'm lucky enough to have now. And so I would never go back. Like if somebody said, I would you like to be 30? No way, you know, I would never go back. Because I find getting older is so good. You know, it's so much better than and maybe because I was taking it for granted as well. But I find I am more comfortable now and feel more beautiful than I ever did before. Maybe because I just am at home with myself.


Yeah. But that should be a challenge as well. So what is the biggest challenge with age, caused by age at the moment?


Probably being tired. I do find because I don't find my age to be a problem, really. You know, I'm very fit and active and you know, living on a property you've always got work to do. There's always things to be doing. I find life is easier as you get older because you've got more money and you're more comfortable with decisions and things like that. But I think a challenge is not comparing yourself how you look to people who are young. Because they're everywhere. You know, they're beautiful, flawless skin. And, you know, the, I don't know, everyone seems to be magnificent. Now, when I was a kid, everybody was ugly. gangly. girls everywhere was very rare to be beautiful. But I find all girls now young girls are magnificent. So I think I'm trying to teach my daughter that, you know, that is irrelevant. And it's, you know, you see the beauty and the real things that are important. So, yeah, just not being drawn into all of that exposure to people who are flawless. Because it can get people down.


Yeah, that's true. Where do you think because you mentioned it already, like you're when you were young, you hated your body and you were not comfortable with. Where do you think this idea of perfect body image comes from? And what it would be for you your perfect body?


Well, as much as I hate to say it, my perfect body was probably when it worked.


Healthy Body.


Yeah, so I do look back. And that's probably one thing I do wish I could get back in a way is, you know, I see people lifting kids with two hands and that sort of thing. I think that that's a perfect body now whereas though, I think before the accident, I would have said being thin and having beautiful legs and you know, very, very live. Whereas I now I now I think it's more about function and you know what it what it can give you in your life. But for me, I wouldn't want to trade my body even though i can admire people who have magnificent physique physiques. I, you know, I know my body, I know how strong it is. And you know that it's given me kids and protected me in, you know, when I should have died, I should have absolutely died in that accident. And it was, you know, millimeters away. So yeah, I would, I wouldn't change it. Now. I think that it's, you know, it's the one I'm meant to have. And it's serving me well.


So what does it mean to you feeling good, and looking good? What comes first?


I think feeling good comes first. I used to think it was looking good. I used to think it was if you were thin and had, you know, the right clothes and expensive things. And now I don't think that at all. I think it's more about being happy like and positive. And if you're in that frame of mind, then you tend to feel better. are having good experiences. But I guess I didn't answer your question about ways. Where do I think the body image comes from. And I do think it's from media and from other women. As I get older, I realised that men don't care about the things that you think that they care about. And I actually got a good friend who I am quite open with. And I said to him a few months ago that I hated my knees, you know, and he said, but because I was wearing a short dress, which I never do, because I always wanted to cover my knees up, but I had, I just decided that that was ridiculous. And I had this dress on and he said, You notional men don't care what your knees look like, you know, like, it's the last thing on their mind, really. And it was one of those moments where you realise that the things that you obsess about a really irrelevant, most of the time, it's whether you're happy, whether you're in a good frame of mind, and, you know, I mean, being looking, having nice clothes is always a bonus. But you know, I think the media will you see beautiful, perfect women everywhere, on every magazine and on the TV, and, you know, everyone in movies is thin. And so I do think it comes from that, and I, my kids now even saying to me, Oh, mommy never eat or, you know, your if I say, Oh, I think I'm fat that you know, they're like You're not fat. So you know, I've got to, you've got to watch it, because you can give the wrong impression, even when you're trying so hard to young people who are impressionable.


And just, it's just interesting, how do we come up with things like we hate about ourselves? Or somebody said, like, oh, I don't like this. Where? Sorry, I have to look really close to understand what you would talk about what you don't like, like, you know, I don't like this part of my body is okay, what? What's wrong with it just interesting how we can come up with that. What made you think that.. like, your knees are not good? Like, it's really interesting. I think it's very psychological.


Oh, it is. And I don't know where it started. But I remember, I had had a lot of medicals after my accident, and even one of the doctors said to me, Oh, you've got these typical knees, and he gave my knees this weird medical term, which is means you can't really see your kneecap. I think you're reinforcing my whole life of not at my, you know, not liking my knees. He said, Oh, don't be ridiculous. So I don't know what it is about my knees. But yeah, I think it was more because when I was younger, I was knocked kneed. And I forced myself to walk differently so that I was not knocked need anymore. So I obviously had a, and I can remember that being sort of eight, nine years old and seeing myself in a, like in a mirror in a shop and thinking, Oh, look how I walk. And that was it. I was I was obsessed with my knees.


Gosh, okay, so what makes you feel the most beautiful?


I don’t know, to be honest, I guess. If I'm just feeling good about myself, and you know, I'm in a good place. And if I am accomplishing things, I mean, I definitely feel better when I have makeup on and I'm put together. And I always wear makeup, always, always have my whole life. Although I'm sitting here, we've got nothing on my face right now. But, you know, for example, I have never been to work without makeup on in my entire life. So I do feel better when I have when I'm sort of made up. But my husband and my kids or have all said to me, or you look better with nothing. So that has definitely changed me in the last, you know, as my kids are getting a bit older, and they're a bit more in tune with what's going on. Now it's all about how I'm feeling rather than having anything to do with what I look like.


So let's go back to your life and accomplishments. What would it be - the greatest accomplishment so far?


Um, well, I I used to think because I when I was a student in school, I was very mediocre. I was a very average student. And I always wanted to be a lawyer. And I didn't think I was smart enough. And then at 30 I got my law degree and became a lawyer. And then I did a Master of Laws. When I was pregnant with Alexander actually, and I thought, Oh, this is my greatest achievement. You know, I know Ever thought I was smart enough to do this, and I've done two law degrees now and but since having the accident, my greatest accomplishment other than the children is embracing being disabled. Because, you know, a lot of people said to me, I would have would have ruined me, I would have really been depressed. And you know, because it was my right arm, I was right-handed. But as I said to you, it feels like a gift and embracing it and seeing it as something positive, which I genuinely do. In my book, I have a whole chapter on the fact that it's the greatest thing that ever happened to me, because I feel like I'm a better person now. That that is my greatest accomplishment.


I think that's very nice. And if you're good, I know you mentioned you wouldn't want to go back to your 30 year old self. But if you had chance to meet her, what would you tell her? Or what advice would you give her?


Probably that life is going to get infinitely harder. So when I think about my 30 year old self, I had not a care in the world, really. And, you know, children are hard and getting older is hard. And then the accident was hard. And now it's just the challenges are constant there. It's not like you have one giant thing to deal with per year. It's like a constant flow of challenge. And you get better at it as you get older. But I would say that, you know, life is really hard, you have to see joy in any place you can, and that you have to be prepared that it's just it's not easy, you know, and that buckle up. Until I was 30. Locked was so easy,


and you don't realise it?


Exactly.


And what would you say to younger women who will eventually undergo this age changes and reach close to 50? Age? What would you tell them?


I would say firstly, that that, you know, life gets more complicated as you get older, so you need to enjoy each part. The only thing I regret, and I wouldn't want to go back, but I didn't enjoyed it enough. So it didn't enjoy being 30. You know, I didn't enjoy being 21 because I was always wanting to be, you know, the next thing I wanted to get my degree and I wanted a better job. And I wanted to you know, and I got divorced when I was young. And so I, I wasted a lot of it. So I would say to them that getting older is fabulous. Because it really is like, since I've turned all these after 40 have been the best years. But enjoy more of the younger part. Because it's it goes like that, you know, and then, you know, I look at my parents and you know, my dad, who's in his 70s is saying, Oh, it's terrible being this old oh, now I'm in the last bits, you know, like you're so young, it's 70 is not old, but you do it's just it goes so quickly. And or you could die, you know, you really, people are taken from us all the time. So you don't want to waste years and years getting to the next point. And then it's all over. So I would say yes, stop and you know, smell the roses, as you just don't know when it's all coming to an end.


So if you have any. What is your favourite quote about being a woman?


Well, there's a few. I love the saying that you don't appreciate your mother until you are a mother. Because that is absolutely true. I'm one to five daughters. And I did not appreciate my mother until I had my daughter. And that's a tragedy because I was 38. So I, you know, didn't treat her the way she deserved to be treated until you know that until then, really. So that's not really a quote about women. But it's something that I love to say to people. Because I think it reminds you just like if your mother's wonderful which 99% of them are. it's just such a gift. And then when you have your own children, you realise what they sacrifice for you.


But Marilyn Monroe has got a great and I don't know if she, if it's hers, or if she got it from somewhere but it's “If you if you're a woman and your ambition is to be equal with men, you lack ambition”. You know, because my father who had you know, all of these daughters taught us that we are equal there's no men and not in any way. They might be stronger but we're stronger in we bear the children so I have never thought that I was not equal to a man and I think all women need that.


What a great father he was


He was. It was never - girls can't do that. You know, it's why I ride motorbikes and or do whatever so Seeing because he always treated us as equals, which we are.


That's great. So you have four sisters. And they also drive motorbikes?



the eldest one, she can ride this actually and the one above me and the middle, she can ride them. We've all written motorbikes at one time or another, but I'm the only one who's the risky one. And we can all ride horses, but I'm the only one who kept at it my whole life.


Wonderful. Thank you, Chanelle, thank you very much for sharing your story. I really enjoyed the conversation with you. And welcome again to the project and I hope you will enjoy the rest of the day and your photo shoots.


Thank you. I'm so excited.


I'm happy birthday.


Oh, thank you! 47...


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