In this episode, you will learn 10 FACTS about Rayghaan, what age she would like to go back to and what advice she would give herself at that age! We also talk about the main causes of body image issues, how they come up and how she overcomes them. And we discuss what aging means to her and to her body.
You can READ the interview transcript HERE
10 Facts About Rayghaan
(at the time of the project)
1. 47 years old.
2. Rayghaan is an immigrant from South Africa. She was born during the regime.
3. She is an English teacher but has a specific empathy for people with disabilities. That’s why she works as a diverse learning coordinator.
4. Rayghaan has a really funny little thing on her ring finger. She was born with it. It's not quite a birthmark, but it's a nice unusual little skin defect. It brings her comfort when she looks at it.
5. Rayghaan has two sons and then a late daughter with a 10-year gap between her and the boys. She is recently divorced after a 20-year marriage and very, very happy about it.
6. Rayghaan’s favorite color is Aqua
7. Rayghaan knits baby booties, in a moccasin style and she just gives them as gifts to people who are having babies.
8. She loves toe rings and wears four or five at a time.
9. Rayghaan is a big sucker for mango-flavored anything. But her favorite fruit is an orange.
10. Rayghaan’s favorite saying about women is – “Women are stronger. If a woman walks away from a man, he crumbles. If a man walks away from a woman, she survives.”
Watch Rayghaan’s VIDEO interview HERE
Hi, you're listening to the My Body, My Story podcast.
You need to find people who will appreciate you for just who you are with no extra rings and bells.
This is the 45 over 45 chapter where we celebrate Rule Breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their 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 we listened to the stories about participants. If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org That's Aleksandra spelt with a K S. Or visit our website aleksandrawalker.com
Hi, everyone, and welcome to my body My Story project and today with us in the studio Rayghaan. And while she's sitting in the makeup chair and Chitra is doing makeup for her, I'll be asking her a few questions. Hi, Rayghaan.
how are you?
I'm very well thank you.
And let's start our podcast and tell us 10 facts about yourself.
I am an immigrant from South Africa. I was born during the regime. I am an English teacher but I work as a diverse learning coordinator. I have a really funny little thing on my ring finger. I was born with it. I don't know what it is. It's not quite a birthmark, but it's a nice unusual little skin defect. But I love it. I actually love it. It brings me comfort when I look at it. It's almost check like a triangle. And I love it. What number was that?
It was number three.
Okay. Number four. I have two sons. And then I have a late daughter. So I have a 10 year gap with one. Yes, late surprise. We call her. She is the delight of our lives. I am recently divorced and very, very happy about it. And I've actually just read a book recently that gave me a wonderful sentence that I've kind of just been dwelling in for a while and it says grief is the cocoon of which we arise and new. So I just think that's marvelous because it is if you don't have any struggles in life, real struggles, you never see how deep your soul actually is. And that, for me is just wonderful. I have come from a very long line of strong women. So I knew I was always going to survive this grief. And I did.
Well, how long you've been in your marriage
That was a huge step.
Huge, huge, huge. What number are we up to now?
Five or six
five or six. My favourite colour is Aqua. So it's quite unusual because it's a mix of green and blue. But I love it. I have lots of it in my wardrobe. And I try actually and avoid it because I wear it so much. I love being a high school teacher. I love being challenged. But I also am quietly an introvert people don't realise that but I actually wouldn't mind just staying in my room knitting for a year. I knit baby booties, it's like a moccasin style that I knit. I only knit one style of booties. In fact, I only knit those. I do the odd beanie here and there. But I never knit big projects because I knit for my own pleasure and I don't want to be committed to something for too long. So I need something that I know I can do within three days. It's normally like three CSI shows that I do after you finish them. So I have a collection down sort of in my storage facility. And I just give them as gifts to people who are obviously having babies. I work in a school and there are lots of young teachers who fall off the teaching wagon every now and then and go off and have babies so I'm constantly freezing.
supply your colleagues.
Yes, yes, yes. And family and friends of course. Yeah. But it is something that I absolutely love. I've done it pretty much my whole life knitting. And I also recently when I say recently, I mean maybe six or seven years learned how to crochet. Hmm. And I love doing that as well.
Do you have a new kind of Instagram account?
Perhaps I should. Yeah. I have several of my students constantly telling me - Miss you need to be a TikToker. Whatever that is. Yeah, I love toe rings. I wear four or five at a time. I am a big sucker for mango flavoured anything.
Oh wow. So do you love mangoes?
I love mangoes. But my favourite fruit is actually an orange. Oh, that's plain and boring. I know. I love a good orange. And it's the orange that comes out now. It's that Italian orange that comes out now and it's got sort of like an almost yellowy green orangey peel. It's my favourite.
I love blood oranges.
Oh, I do too. But not my favourite. I don't quite deal with a better in this at the end of it so well. But I do like a blood orange for me. They're not that better.
Acid acidic, you know?
Yeah, they're not. They're more kind of there is a specific taste of tears. Yeah, like that's why I like the Valencia's because the Valencia's are sweet, rather than a city.
Cool. Another fact is I'm actually fairly blind. I can't see very well.
Oh my god.
So what do you how do you manage to lots of glasses? Yeah, okay. But I also just prefer to be sort of living in a world of blurriness, a lot of the time, because the glasses annoy me, but I definitely cannot wear contacts people have constantly asked, Why don't you wait contacts? I just do not like touching my eyeballs. Yeah,
The other solution is LASIK?
Yes, I've heard about that. And I've not yet explored that. But I will. I will.
It just makes your life much easier. It does. It does. Not that we are trying to talk anyone into that.
But it does make you like now I have a friend who's had had it done and he says it's the best thing ever. But yeah, I will actually explore that I'm actually going on a trip in about a week. So when I come back these are all the things I have to do.
Somewhere in Australia or abroad.
No actually going to Mecca. Oh god game on it
Oh, you are going on the Hajj?
No. Not the Hajj.
Because I think you can do it all year round?
You can do all year round. And that's when it's called Umrah. And when it's that particular time the year it's called the Hajj
Hajj. Yeah, yeah. But you just going as a tourist like a visit
going asa tourist town with my three children a bit of a spiritual cleanse after the trauma we've all been through in the last few years. So
Yeah. I believe that places like that have this special energy anyway.
Oh, yeah.Soul rejuvenating. Yeah, that's right. It's I've been I've been told that that area, as well as lots of other areas, not lots of other areas in the world. But certain other areas in the world have got a magnetic field attached to it that is sort of unexplained in science. Birds and planes don't circulate around certain areas in the world, and Mecca is one of them.
Oh, wow. I didn't know that. Interesting. Sounds great.
What are we up to?
I’ve lost the count. If you have any more facts. Yeah, we can continue.
I have a specific empathy for people with disabilities. I mean, and that's why I'm in the diverse learning world. But I have rheumatoid arthritis and I grew up with a mother who has arthritis. It's a really crippling autoimmune disease. So I actually am very grateful that I rather lucky. I don't, I've not had any surgeries to correct any joints and my flare is inconsistent but not common and often enough to cripple me too much. When I do flare, I am quite incapable of walking, sometimes doing anything with my hands, and it is quite emotionally crippling. But I have wonderful children and friends and family who helped me out. But due to that, I just I am grateful actually, that I am able to establish a really strong empathy for those people who
have disabilities abilities. And you haven't mentioned that your age. So because we're doing like women in their 40s 50s,
I am 47.
So you think that it age added up to that or it's not connected?
Well, with the age,
I, my mother had it, the moment I was born, I got it, the moment I gave birth to my second son at the age of 33. And my sister got rheumatoid arthritis as well, at the age of, I think 38 when she gave birth to her son. So I think what happens is your your body, it activates when your body's gone through a certain traumatic experience. And in our cases, both my sister and I, and also my mother, it was birth it was childbirth. So I still remember my very first flare was from my shoulder down to my elbow, and then this entire area here was flaring. And it was just so painful. My shoulder was so painful. And I thought it had something to do with perhaps the way that I was holding my baby when I was breastfeeding him. And I just wrote it off as that. And then I remember getting burning sensation pains throughout my body. And then when I finally realised that it wasn't normal, because the inside of my palm. And I think at that stage, my son was about six weeks old, and the inside of my palm was just burning. And then I realised this isn't normal. I've done nothing on the inside of my palm to warrant that pain. And when I went to the doctors, I had a blood test done and they said, Yep, you have rheumatoid arthritis like your mother. But in my in my actual case, it's called palindromic rheumatism because very much like a palindrome in maths or English, the way that the word starts, the way that the joint starts. It actually flares and then returns back the way that it did to very much like a word as well.
Wow, that's sort of like it sounds like not a really pleasant thing.
Yeah. Yeah, it's at this stage, though. It's not degenerative. So my joints don't degenerate yet. But they say that later on in life, when I go through that fabulous change, we all go through. Yeah, it'll start degenerating. So I'm looking forward to that. But I am emotionally preparing myself for it.
So very interesting. And let's move to the subject of the project. It's about our age and our changes with age and our body. And what does ageing means to you?
Honestly, emotionally, and psychologically, I still feel so young. I think it's got to do with the fact that I am a teacher and I'm around young people all the time. But in saying that, I am constantly reminded that I'm not young because I can't see very well. And I always have to put my glasses on and off and on and off for different things that I have to read and mark, but I own ageing, I love ageing, and I love the new experiences and the new life pathways that come with ageing. So I welcome it. I enjoy ageing and I am actually quite disillusioned when I see people visually trying to avoid ageing or with implants. And honestly, I do not understand. And I think I'm a fairly vain person, but I just don't think I could ever go down that pathway and do something to myself to know not age, I welcome the wrinkles, because I've owned them. I welcome my mummy tummy, because I've earned that. I welcome the stretch marks because I've earned that. Yeah, ageing, bring it on.
So but if you could go back to any age, what would it be? And why?
Um, I would probably, I would probably get in my 20s I would go before children because I was travelling. And I didn't have to consider anyone but myself.
So you miss that
I do miss that. I do miss that. I love obviously, I love my children, they are my life. But I do miss the independence of just picking up and going,
if you could, what advice would you give yourself at this age?
Um, I actually would have said to myself to start having children earlier. Oh, yes. Which means that I wouldn't have had my 20s I would have had, I would have been a mother. But I would have preferred to have had my 20s Perhaps later on as well. Whereas I've had children really late. And I now know that my responsibility is to see that they become strong and functioning adults. So my time is still for them. At this age of 47. I still have to hold them. 1715 and five. Oh, yeah, they're still becoming who they are five on this long way. Yeah. And she's the light of my life. She's, she's adorable. Yeah.
And if you if your body could talk, what do you think it would ask you or tell you?
Well, I think it would probably say stop eating Tim Tams every day of your life. That is my weakness. I love a good chocolate biscuit. And I actually can feel it now. Because for the first time, I think beyond 45 is when I felt that you must take care of your body, you must take care of your body. And I started drinking a lot more water post 45. And I started exercising this year. Only.
In saying that. I feel amazing. Like it's just you know, they tell you all the time that you'll feel amazing. And you actually do you actually I still hate it. I hate getting up and actually doing it. Yeah. But just throughout the rest of your day. You feel amazing. So just do it.
So what do you do? Just go for a walk, you walk.
I walk and I've now just recently started running and started doing free weights. So
Oh, I love free weights.
on I just recently started doing Pilates Reformer.
Oh, yes.I've started Pilates as well.
Oh my god, I love it.
It's amazing. I haven't tried before everybody's going on about it. So that is something that I'm going to be
It’s really nice. It just it just touches every part of your body. You know, like it's very targeted exercise.
Yeah, he says yeah, yeah. And I'll be doing it. I'll definitely be doing it. You're not the first person to recommend it. It's sweeping the nation. Yeah.
Love it. Love it. Okay, so what do you think are the main causes of body image issues?
Obviously. Male owned media. It's really quite simple. Stop following ridiculous people, and living your own life in your own time and living your own reality. Your body will tell you when it's too much. Your your heart and soul will tell you when you're pushing too far. Listen to that. Rather, don't listen to nonsense on your feed of Facebook and Instagram and all the other nonsenses of how you follow your own soul. Follow your own voice and listen to the deep inside you
and how how do you believe negative body image affects relationships?
Honestly, it actually it affects young girls specifically and that's like again, I go back to the fact that I work with teenagers constantly and it it really bothers me because it's it's reality for them. And if you don't have a solid parental influence telling you that that's not real. It really is quite sad. You know if if you are I'm believing that I have to have a waistline like this. And I have to have a face like this. And I have to have, you know, a skirt length like this, it really is quite disheartening when we're not taught to just accept who we are. And it's a difficult thing. It's a really, really difficult thing in this world, to teach children to, and just people to accept the person that they are when they wake up in the mornings and to love who they are when they wake up in the morning. It's a really, really difficult thing to actually because the world has been so saturated with what is perfect. And, you know, we are never ever going to look like someone else's idea of perfect.
Yeah. And what do you think the relationship, the why the facts? And I'm talking not only about the men woman relationship, but generally the relationship between friends and people, you know, like, do you think the way you see your body in your body image? Really?
Yes, Will extremely they'll break it, it shouldn't. But it does. Because we also haven't learnt to find people to like, I always say to my students, find your own people. And if you if you haven't found your own people who will love you exactly the way that you are, it's really hard. You need to find people who will appreciate you for just who you are with no extra rings and bells. And that's the difficulty in not accepting who you are and falling for all this media placement of what is perfect and what isn't.
And why do we think they do?
I really,I think it's a solid misunderstanding of, of guidance from when their children already. So at the moment, my little girl who's got curly hair, comes home and puts water in her hair and brushes it straight, and thinks that that's perfect. So that's something that I have to work on as a parent. And I don't know if I've, if I'm doing that because my parents instilled such a strong love of self within me. But it's also because of my faith. You know, your, your, as a Muslim, you are taught that you were created in your own version of perfection. So don't mess with it. You are perfect because you were created. So. So I always I was always taught that. Okay, I say mumble but my, my toes are funny. Yes. But they're perfectly funny, because you are perfectly you you know, it's that wonderful Dr. Seuss story as well. Nobody's more you within you. And it's it's something that I think that we need to be. We need to be perpetuating that in our children today. Because that's why I think that's why because nobody seems to appreciate themselves as themselves.
Yeah, that's true. That's true. It's very sad. And I'm trying to understand, like, I have no idea why is like a person with marketing and business background. I know why media does a though people behind media. And it just for me, it's so obvious. And sometimes, I just wonder, why don't you understand and why?
Why don't you separate you what the marketing reality and, and your own reality?
And it's so strong, you know, they say like the media is the fifth power. Yeah. And do you get to understand why,
as an English teacher, it's something that we teach, we teach the bias in, in media, and we teach that, but it's really bizarre, because you'll still find people be heavily influenced by advertisements.
Don't you think its because they don't have their own, as you mentioned in the beginning, like you say to your students, find your own self,
find your own sense of self. Yeah, and settle yourself in your own soul. And if you can't find your soul, and you can't find your settlement, then you need to retract because it's always inside. It's nowhere else. It's nowhere else. It's not outside of you. It's all inside. And if you don't quiet your soul and sit in it, and sit in your own body, and find it and find who you are and sit quietly and learn who you are. You're never going to be happy.
Yeah, and until then you gonna be influenced by other people and
always looking outside. And you know, I I've always had that and I'm grateful for it. But I've always had that ability to work out whether I can connect with somebody or not. And one of the ways I can connect with somebody is if they are indeed comfortable in their own skin. If they're not, I find it really difficult to connect with them as a person. I mean, I'm, obviously I'll, you know, be cordial. But I cannot connect with you. If you're not settled in your own soul, I find it really difficult because I can't do shallow talk. I can't do it.
I'm with you on that.
I get very deep very quickly. And if you're not comfortable with that, then we'll come by.
So how do you overcome some body related insecurities when they come up? Because we are all sometimes we have it anyway.
Yeah, yes, you're very good question. Question. I was just talking to my son, yesterday, who mind you has got a perfect body. He's, he's short, but well proportioned and muscley and cut, and he's got a beautiful body. He's 17. And, you know, all the girls at school would tell me this. And we find it a bit odd because they do realise I'm his mother, and I changed his button. But my point is that he was saying your name, I just really do ask him out, if you're fat, stop eating lose weight. You know, and if and it was really quite simple. Now, in some regards, I'm to blame for that, because I'm his parent. So that point of view comes from somewhere. So I actually have always brought them up with, listen, you're not eating to keep yourself skinny. And you're not avoiding things to keep yourself skinny. You're eating because you have to help this body that you've been putting, and you're in it for who knows how long but you know, 70 years possibly, so take care of it. So my kids eat a carrot a day, I eat a carrot a day, I eat an apple a day, they eat an apple a day, and they eat a cucumber every single day. Those three fruits, I don't know why it's just because they're simple to pack in their lunches. I don't cut them up, they eat them rough. Now, I've instilled healthy eating in my children from the start. I have one son, like I said, who looks like a model. He's just short, but gorgeous. Body, other son, overweight. Now, he is very, he was very, very active and stopped being active. And he has now decided in his own heart in mind that he wants to fast twice a week to fix this up. So when I asked him just last week, so why did you decide that? Like, I think you look fine, are you? And he goes, because I'm not healthy, man. Let's face it, I'm not healthy. And I said, Okay, so that's the reason it's not because you guys, it's not because of the muffin top, I've gotten quite used to the muffin top. And I'm going okay, good. So I, I myself make the same deduction. I don't mind having an imperfect body. But what I do mind is being unhealthy. So it's not about body image for me. But I suppose being healthy comes along with the body image. So when I do run, I have to admit I do look better. But it's not about the body image. For me, it's about being healthy. And when I'm overweight, and I try and bend down and put my shoes on, it does bother me get there. But it's not, it's not a factor. I don't worry so much about being overweight, as much as I worry about my heart having to work harder. At this age, when I was younger, I must admit, having to take care of myself wasn't even a thing. And in a lot of it's got to do with genetics. And I think that's actually a really unfair thing, because some people are just always a little bit overweight. And they're a little bit chunky, that's me, I've always been chunky. So I'm always going to be a little bit overweight, but I'm actually so okay with it. But it just also means that I'm always gonna have to eat less sometimes, you know, but it is something that I it does affect me, it does affect you. But it's not about the way that I look as much as the way that I feel. And it's always been like that for me. And that's something that I've perpetuated with my students profusely. It's not about the way that you look, but it is about the way that you feel it's so important because the way that you feel will come out in the way that you look.
Yeah. So when we're talking about insecurity, so your insecurities comes the moment you understand that it's not healthy. And so what what's you do you start dieting you start exercising?
Well, no, don't start dieting as much as replay. Seeing what I Oh, that's my Yeah, no, I can't die it I cannot die it but I do fast. Not now, but terms two and three, which is the shorter days I fast Mondays and Thursdays pretty much right through terms two and three, which in the end ends up about 40 days of the year. But I replace so I make soup 52 weeks of the year. Every week I make soup. And my kids have always got containers of soup in the fridge to pull out of the soup is a mix of lentils, meat and vegetables. And it's really, really simple. So what I'll do for that week that I'm perhaps not eating Tim Tams is I will have a soup every day. I'll also say that I have a cup of green leaves every single day. And that makes all the difference for me. I know it's boring. But if you put a cup of green leaves underneath a chicken schnitzel, yeah, instead of rice with a pasture fibre, yeah, yeah, it's it's quite nice. And that's what I do is I still have I can't I love meat. So I will have, you know, a steak on top of a bed of spinach and kale.
No, it's also healthy.
Yeah, yeah.And like I said, and those three vegetables every single day, my children and I eat that every single day.
Very good. So do you have ways to bring yourself into the body shape you want? And if so, how have the this change with age? Like annually, we just spoke about the substituting things like and you said the unit of exercise, you just started that so but how did you do it when you were young? same way?
Yes, same way, same way, but it was a lot faster. Yeah, it was young, a lot faster. And I also I have this terrific cousin who's an exercise physiologist who kind of was my guide when I was younger. And he's the same now. So he'll say to me, or you'll just need to do these sorts of squats or these sorts of push ups and, and that's what I do, I kind of just listened to a few key people. And, again, like I said, genetics, I'm fairly lucky like that, hence why my boys, they can do something and then they can see results quite quickly. Like I said, my one son who went from doing five days a week of activity to nothing, has obviously picked up this weight. But what he's done now he's he's picked up his exercise game. And then he's also changed his diet somewhat. But again, he's 15. So obviously, he's gonna be and he's the boys gonna be falling off him like, it's not funny. But at my age, what I've done is I it is a reduction of processed foods, you've just, you've got to get rid of it. You've just got to get rid of it. And just drink water. Just drink water. It's it's the word that the kids have taught me this week. What was it? It's such a flex mess. In our day, we used to say it's a superpower. You know, like just a little bit of knowledge is a superpower. And they say it's a flex and the Flex is that you know a little bit of something that you know, is just amazing. And what it is, is just drink water, drink water. And just don't drink the soft drink. Just drink the water. Because if you drink your two leaders or you know, however many leaders message drink a day, you don't have time to drink all the old stuff.
Interesting. So my last question, and it's my favourite one. If you have any. What is your favorite quote about being a woman or saying?
Oh, wow. I would have to say that we are vessels of power. I always I always admired the way that my mom would say just remember. Men may be stronger, they can pick you up, but they cannot give birth so you know who's stronger down the bottom there you are so that my mom would say you can get a man in between your legs and squeeze the hell out of him. Which is actually you know, it's not sexual at all. But you know what I mean? Like guy you can actually wrestle and win, because women strong down there. But what she was actually saying is deeper in the soul. Women are stronger. You know, if, if a woman walks away from a man he crumbles. If a man walks away from a woman, she survives. Absolutely. And across the globe, those numbers have proven again and again and again. If it's the woman's choice to leave the man, he crumbles if it's the man's choice to leave the woman. she'll survive.
Most of the time. It's the woman's choice.
Most of the time, it's the woman's choice, and then she survives
for us survivors.
Well, thank you, Rohan, for the wonderful interview. I really enjoy it. And I hope that you will enjoy the rest of your day and your photo shoot. And thank you again for joining the project.
Thank you. I absolutely am so excited about today.
If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at email@example.com That's Aleksandra spelt with a K S. Or visit our website aleksandrawalker.com
This is the 45 over 45 chapter of MY BODY MY STORY podcast, where we celebrate rule breakers and role models - the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their SENSUALITY, BEAUTY, SOUL, and TRUE ESSENCE.
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