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CHEZZI DENYER: 'I want to thank the haters who feel the need to tell me that I look old.'

I get told from time to time that I look old.

Always from invisible people, none of them I actually know. 

I always wonder why they feel the need to tell me. To upset me? Make me hide in shame? Do they want me to feel embarrassed? Like I have a choice about my age? Or the ability to turn back time?

Comments like “if you went back to your natural hair colour, you wouldn’t look so old." And my response in my head, "My natural colour is mostly grey... and they think that would make me look younger?" LOL! 

Watch: Chezzi and her husband Grant Denyer renewing their vows last year. Post continues after video.


Video via Chezzi Denyer

What about the “you look more like 50 than 40." Um, okay then. Thank you?

Or just the other day, “your face is so old it disgusts me”... Well, my advice dear sir, would be to refrain from looking at it 

You see, I am old. I am aged. I am weathered. I have lived a lot of life. A great deal of experience has been compiled into my relatively short number of years on the planet. And that, in turn, has to have some effect on how we look I believe. I can’t look like a 20-year-old, because I believe I have lived well beyond what most 20-year-olds could even fathom. 

I am so fortunate to have lived, and survived so much. Life changing. Soul altering. Life. 

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I’ve experienced tremendous lows. Crippling post-traumatic stress disorder, fearing petrifying flashbacks every time I closed my eyes. Witnessing car accidents. Helping someone survive using CPR. I’ve arrived first at horrific scenes. Seen too many deceased bodies for what I could handle. 

On the flip side, I’ve had the highest of highs - playing selection basketball in America at 15. Auditioned with hundreds and got dream acting roles. Started my own business at 18. Worked in TV production, which I had always dreamt of. Interviewing international celebrities. Meeting such amazing people, from Bette Midler to the Dalai Lama. I’ve worked at a few Olympics, and the Commonwealth Games. I’ve worked at Parliament House. I helped change legislation. I’ve spent years volunteering my time with various charities. Fed homeless at Christmas time. Soup kitchens. Helped feed malnourished children breakfasts before school. Delivered food and goods to farmers struggling to eat during the drought. I’ve been chased by a rogue bull, and I’ve hand-delivered a baby lamb. I’ve had to help end the life of a suffering calf that had its eyes pecked out by crows after being caught in a fence. 

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I’ve seen cyclones and their aftermath. Helped communities rebuild. Lived through floods. Seen first-hand the devastation fires have caused. Met people who have lost everything they owned except their memories. I have been robbed. Had a gun pulled on me. I’ve hugged and cried with friends trying to manage severe debilitating depression. I’ve mourned friends who have taken their own lives. Intervened and helped others before they could. I’ve lost friends to alcohol, drug addictions, anorexia and bulimia. I have sat with close ones as they took their last breath from cancer. I’ve written and read a handful of eulogies at funerals for those I loved. 

I’ve been fortunate to have travelled all over the world. Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Tahiti, Africa, England, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, America, Indonesia, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates to name a few places.

I left my career to full-time nurse my injured partner after he broke his back. I have survived death twice myself - once from a Jetvan explosion where I was burnt and lost all my hair. And also when I went into anaphylactic shock, presenting at hospital within minutes of cardiac arrest. I should have died that day. I believed I was. I said goodbye to my daughter and husband as my shirt was cut from my body.

I have endured three painful and private miscarriages. I have also been lucky enough to have grown and birthed three beautiful children. I experienced an emergency caesarean. I’ve had my urethra torn from a dropped catheter bag. I have survived postnatal anxiety and turned my experience to help others suffering from it. I’ve suffered from 14 bouts of mastitis over three breastfeeding journeys.

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I shattered the cartilage in my nose and had it rebuilt. I battled chronic sinus infections and a subsequent three major operations to return my sense of smell and hearing. I have been diagnosed with ADHD after years of thinking something wasn’t right with me.

And so much more. More than I can fit within this post. I have lived. I have survived. I have come out the other side and I have thrived.

So I want to thank the “haters”... thank you to those who feel the need to tell me that I look old. You may have set out to try to hurt me but you have actually given me a gift. You forced me to think and take stock of my life experiences. Something I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. Something I think we should all do from time to time. 

You won’t ever know what someone else has been through, so why would you ever feel you know what someone should look like? Compared to whom? We are all different. We are each special. 

We are who we are. We look the way we do. Each of us beautiful and unique in our own right. And if you feel the need to judge someone on their appearance, what does that say about you?

This post originally appeared on Chezzi Denyer's Instagram and Facebook, and was republished on Mamamia will full permission.

Feature image: Chezzi Denyer.