Her divorce led to a complete personal makeover.
By: Cris Gladly for YourTango.com
Did your divorce spark a major change?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the photos I found the other night left me speechless (and rather sick to my stomach).
No, I didn’t stumble across images of violence and graphic porn on the Internet or anything like that.
What I found in an all-but-forgotten box I tucked away long-ago were old pictures of me. Images taken years before I finally left my marriage. Photos taken of me in my former life, before my divorce. And let me tell you, they seriously startled me.
Oh my gosh, is that me?! I look awful.
I’m buried under shapeless layers of plain, dowdy clothing. I’m wearing that damn dumpy cap that I remember throwing on nearly every day. My hair is styled in an unflattering, chopped-to-my-chin cut.
And then, there are my glasses, which I referred to as “my safety goggles” (how telling). I hid behind those metal frames like they were battle armor.
Sure, I did technically need glasses to see street signs and to read, but if I'm honest, they were a symbol of everything I was trying not see in my life. And since the glasses prevented anyone from looking directly into my eyes, I know I wore them so no one could see how dead I felt inside.
I was in an unhappy, nearly sexless marriage back then, one in which I felt small, un-cherished, unprotected, and incredibly lonely all the time.
Was my ex-husband a terrible person? Nope. Quite the opposite. He was a nice guy, but we met when we were young, too young to understand what a terrible match we made.
We had zero chemistry or true love connection, but for 18 years we were both just too scared, too polite, and too responsible to admit it (to ourselves and to each other).
So, I lived my life devoid of passion and intimate connection. As a result, everything that might have been bright and beautiful about me was hidden. It was all numbed out, stuffed down, and locked away. I was a hollow woman walking through life with my inner light turned off. Both my self-worth and my vibrancy lay dormant (much like my body, buried deep underneath my dowdy appearance and layers of shapeless clothes).
I have to tell you, looking at those old photos of myself was downright painful. My stomach churned and tears filled my eyes as I stared at this girl I barely recognised as myself. Sure, you might look at the photos and simply think, "Damn, girl! You were rocking some seriously Plain Jane anti-style in that old life."
But what I see now as I gaze at this version of myself from a life escaped years ago, this dowdy girl in a cap and glasses, is that my outward appearance was actually a spot-on barometer for what was going on in my inner world.
And I am so sad for that girl in the photo. My heart breaks for her –for the me hidden inside – and I cried for us both, finally, after all these years .