Before and After Photos – Hiding in Plain Sight

February 6, 2014 — 62 Comments

For some reason, “before and after” stories, especially with accompanying photos, pique our interest. The most common stories are of dramatic weight loss, usually linked to a fad or diet, and often stories about cosmetic surgical make-overs. But the kind of before and after stories that have intrigued me the most are the ones that are about people taking responsibility for how they are living, for making different choices – for making choices that are more self-loving, more nurturing. These changes are impulsed from within but still create an outer change.

These are the ultimate human-interest stories. I’ve been pondering on why they are so compelling. One possible reason is that we are all drawn to change. Scary as it may feel at times, change is inevitable and therefore necessary.

Photographs give us a visible and textural marker of evolution happening although we may not be able to see it in the minutiae of day to day changes. And if our very nature is to change, to evolve, then the “before and after” photos and stories confirm that we are doing what comes naturally and that we are succeeding.

When we look at old photos of ourselves, we are often appalled at the clothes we had on, we cringe at how we styled our hair, we laugh at the look on our face. But if we look at these old photos without judgment of “this was good, this was bad”, “these were the good old days and these were the terrible years”, then the photos become a way for us to observe ourselves.

The before and after changes tell us, in a pictorial way, of who we used to be and who we are now, and perhaps in looking at these photos we may even get a glimpse of why we have made these changes. On first blush it appears to be about better fashion sense, a better haircut, or perhaps a better job that bought better housing and better holidays. But if we look beyond these outer appearances and changes, what can we see by looking back at old photos?

Recently I have been inspired by the before and after photo stories that reflect an outer transformation that follows from a change in lifestyle. These stories moved me to dig back through my old photo albums to see what I could discover about myself, knowing that I had made many lifestyle changes in recent years. Yes, I went through all the comparisons mentioned above. But much to my surprise, I felt my own evolution through the style of glasses that I wore.

I got glasses in the 5th grade. My recollection of this time is that I was a good student and so I was seated at the back of the class. The teacher did not need to keep an eye on me, she did not need to tell me to settle down, and she did not need to tell me to get to work.

At some point I realised I couldn’t see the blackboard from the back of the room. I just thought this was a consequence of my desk being so far away, but upon mentioning this to either my mother, or my teacher, I was moved closer to the front. This was a real bonus as far as I was concerned because I liked my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Apple, very much. She was a kind and attentive teacher so I was happy to sit closer to the front.

Still my mother thought it time to get my eyes tested. Now whether I really needed glasses or whether I wanted to have glasses because Mrs. Apple did, I can’t really say. I do know I picked out some frames that looked as close to Mrs. Apple’s as I could find.

And thus began my life with glasses sitting on my nose and in front of my face; glasses that will sit between me and every image that I observe over the remaining years of my life. But in looking back, I realised those glasses served another, perhaps just as important purpose, although I didn’t know it at the time.

Here I am at 16…

Gayle Cue Age 16 (1966)

Me (Gayle Cue): Age 16 (1966)

And here I am in 1983 (age 33)…

Gayle Cue Age 33 (1983)

Me (Gayle Cue): Age 33 (1983)

Notice how much bigger the glasses have become. And notice that they are tinted so you can’t really see my eyes. For the next 25 years I did buy new frames and the lenses often needed strengthening, but the large frames and tint remained basically the same. They had become the perfect way to hide from the world. It was like “You can’t see me, I have my eyes closed” theory, only in my case it was “You can’t see me, because I have on my big tinted glasses”.

1987 (age 37)…

Gayle Cue Age 37 (1987)

Me (Gayle Cue): Age 37 (1987)

Christmas Day 1993 (age 43)…

Gayle Cue Age 43 (1993)

Me (Gayle Cue): Age 43 (1993)

I had no conscious awareness of these attempts to hide from the world, but when I looked back through the photo albums recently, it was immediately obvious to me that that was what I was doing… or rather attempting to do. Most of that time I was smoking pot so it was a good way to hide my bloodshot eyes. But I think it was also about trying to hide from myself. I didn’t want to see how I was living. I didn’t want to face myself in the mirror because I wasn’t living the truth of who I was. I was coping the best I could with a number of stressful situations and rather than addressing them head on and with clarity, I was withdrawn and trying to hide myself away from the next blowout, whatever it may look like. Smoking pot or chasing spiritual gurus was all the same – an escape.

Here I am in 2013 (age 63), still wearing glasses but long gone is the tint and not surprisingly, they are almost frameless!!

Gayle Cue Age 63 (2013)

Me (Gayle Cue): Age 63 (2013)

I now live a life that feels true to who I am and who I want to be. I am no longer hiding from myself, or the world. I wake up every day feeling good, feeling clear. I owe the clarity of mind to lifestyle and dietary changes. 

I no longer ingest any substances that stimulate or alter my natural state of being. And I don’t just mean recreational drugs or alcohol. I’m also taking responsibility for not stimulating myself with caffeine, chocolate, sugar and certain other foods that bloat me and take me off centre. I owe the clarity of heart to learning how to live in my body (not my mind) and feeling what it is like to be living in a body, my body.

It is thanks to the great patience and great example of Serge Benhayon and his family that I have been able to make this evolutionary step. And it is thanks to my own desire to live from a soulful level that I am a woman who can see clearly who she is and where she fits in the sea of humanity, no longer trying to hide in plain sight.

By Gayle Cue 

Further Inspirational Before & After Photos and Stories:

  1. True Beauty… Defying Age and Aging by Kylie Connors
  2. Being 60: A Mature Woman in the World by Ariana Ray
  3. Before and After Universal Medicine – Danielle’s Story by Danielle Pirera

62 responses to Before and After Photos – Hiding in Plain Sight


    This is a truly inspirational read, and how lovely it is to see you in your absolute glory shining through your un-tinted glasses!


    Very inspiring to feel how you are opening up once again to the world and letting yourself shine once again. We are all very fortunate of such an amazing expression. Thank you Gayle.


      I appreciate you reminding me – with those two little words “once again” – that it is me RETURNING to my glory. ;-)


    Gayle, I loved this piece and yes the photos say it all. You are no longer hiding – you are in full view of us all.


      Hi Sally… I think everyone is familiar with the old adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words”… so as you point out “the photos say it all”. Another reason we are all intrigued with the before and after stories.


    Woao, what a beautiful woman you are, age 63! That last picture is amazing, such an open face and so much light shining through.

    mccannelizabeth February 6, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    It’s a joy to read your blog Gayle, and a great revelation of what old photographs may reveal to us, if we but study them without judgement.


      Yes, it was amazing even to myself that I was able to look back through old photo albums and not let my harsh inner critic have a say. There is so much more joy in life if we can observe rather than judge!


    I see nobility in your face at age 63; I see the expression of the self responsibility you have chosen.


    An absolute inspiration, Gayle. You appear, and feel, so clear and beautiful in your last photo, so open and comfortable in the knowledge of who you are, and therefore who you present to the world. Thank you.


    I loved seeing the progression through different stages of your life, the photos tell it all don’t they?! How beautiful you are now, looking straight at the camera, blue eyes able to be seen and looked into, looking out from a joyful place!


    Inspirational, thanks Gayle – so amazing to feel your expansion in how you see and are seen.

    vanessahawthorne February 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Gayle thank you for sharing this, it is so inspirational. What strikes me is not the glasses but the return to the very feminine, open, and loving presence you are in the current photo, and the sweetness present in the first picture at 16 now has a strength. So, so inspiring!


      Thank you for your comments Vanessa. It made me reflect on what true strength feels like. In my younger years, if someone would have asked me if I felt strong – I would likely have said yes because I was determined. I was determined I would have an interesting life. I was determined to be good. All that determination had a hardness to it and I did equate hardness to strength! Now, I feel a great strength but it has nothing to do with determination or hardness. Strength is about knowing who I am in connection to my Divine heritage and living it every day, in every breath.


    You have always been beautiful to me! How wonderful you are living and recognising your beauty. I Love You.


      Dearest best friend since I was 18… yes, YOU always did see me as beautiful but even with your constant reminder and reflection, I still didn’t believe you. Wow and ouch. So at last, you and I are on the same page with this one. I am a beautiful woman by divine design and now clear enough to feel it. Thanks for your patience while I got there.


    Wow I can feel the presence and power you hold in your most recent picture.


      Thank you Amina. I appreciate all the comments made on this blog. The healing, of course, happened as I looked back through my photo albums and truly saw what I had been doing, another layer of healing occurred as I wrote the blog and yet another layer when I felt brave enough to post it on my Facebook page. The comments by readers is pure joy, no further healing needed through acknowledgment or recognition. But the comments are FUN!


    Gayle you are an inspiration, I love that your glasses now let us see your eyes which are clear and full of joy and playfulness.


    Thank you Gayle, your words on pictures are incredibly insightful as are your photos. Your willingness to reveal the true you is a gift to us all and that last photo touched me deeply.


      Thank you Gemma. I did find the process of looking back at old photos, with the intention of really seeing what was going on beneath the surface of the picture, very revealing (and joyful). It was like I was witnessing my own life. The distance of time AND not judging what I was seeing is what provided the insight. Your comment that the “last photo touched you deeply” touched me deeply. We just keep going round reflecting to each other.


    How gorgeous to see the truly beautiful woman you are Gayle, emerge from the behind the disguise. Thank you.


    it is truly amazing to see the change in you over the years, to a beautiful woman full of glory. I really like how you talk about hiding in plain sight. So many do it and because of the way they hide in plain sight, they don’t realise they are doing it.


      Hello Rebecca, What a lovely surprise your comment was – all these months after publishing this blog. It’s the ripple effect – the ripples still going out, without the original splash ever knowing where the ripples will end up or who they will touch. You’re right, many people are hiding – but do not have the awareness that they are doing so. And all that it takes to see it and change it, is to become aware. It made me ponder on what supports awareness? Stillness. Acceptance. Intention to see truly. I’ll keep practicing. ;-) Thanks for your comment.


    Dear Gayle, seeing you now I am inspired with a big smile on my face. I am 36 and am so so looking forward to reaching 63. Keep on with how you’re living and thank you for sharing.


      Hello Shevon…….what a lovely compliment / acknowledgment – for someone at age 36 to look forward to being 63. This is the role we elders can fill. We can reflect to the younger generations that life is still interesting, still full, still exciting, even in our sixties and seventies. Who knows! Maybe even in our eighties. I know a few people in their eighties who are leading the way.


    So lovely to see you Gayle. Your presence and light shines bright. Thank you.


    Wow Gayle that is really amazing to see the changes you’ve made on so many levels. Truly glorious.


    Thanks so much for sharing Gayle, another great testament to the Way of the Livingness. Proof of how you and so many people including myself have significantly changed their lives due to the inspiration of Serge, the Benhayon family and Universal medicine.


      Hello Kev, Yes, so many people have now had the personal experience of having their lives improve through the Way of the Livingness. I never tire of hearing about one more successful story, even in the simply stated way that you’ve acknowledged the change in yours. Thanks for taking the time to comment.


    Thanks Gayle – it was great to read your blog, and see the development through your photos and understanding… and what a powerful full stop with the final photo. Its like I can see into the depth of you, and what emanates out is this gentle strength and purpose. Awesome.


    What a fabulous transformation, Gayle – you look so young and gorgeous, its great to see your eyes. I love what you say, “I owe the clarity of heart to learning how to live in my body (not my mind) and feeling what it is like to be living in a body, my body.” What a powerful statement and learning experience it is to feel what is like living in the body and not the mind.


    An inspirational article Gayle. Looking back at old photographs can be very revealing when we first check on the clothes, hair and outer appearance. When we look through the eyes we can tell so much more about how we may have been hiding from the world and fooling ourselves that no one could really see us – a very lonely place. Your photo age 63 is brimming with openness and appreciation of who you are.


    Thank you Gayle – inspiring to read, and wow you certainly have blossomed.


    Beautiful Gayle. The light in your eyes for all to see is an inspiration. Thank you for sharing with us.


    Wow, Gayle this is a great blog – and so amazing to feel the clarity you now live with as evidenced by your final photo. I appreciate so much more the role glasses play in the way we are either looking out at the world or in the way we allow others to see us. They can be another form of mimicking & masking or a true expression of our insight. Your honest self-appraisal is inspirational and accessible to us all.


    Hi Gayle I love that you are no longer hiding from the world and maybe it’s time for new frameless glasses for me!


    Hello Gayle, for me the most stunning picture is the final one, taken in 2013,
    where the true you is shining through!
    It is also interesting to see how the 1980s fashions encouraged us to look at
    the glasses and not the wearer!


    Thanks Gayle, I had never seen the connection of wearing glasses and hiding in plain sight. When my arms got too short to read things, and later on when it was cheaper to buy new glasses then a bigger TV was when I chose to see the world clearly and started wearing specks. I had for years small, thin, and always black glasses I could just look over the top of…just like looking over my self built wall I had spent years of creating. My last glasses were a big ones and colourful. Now, I can see the world and others can see the fullness of me in my eyes.


    I love the power and wisdom that shines through in your most recent photo. Thank you, Gayle for sharing, you are inspirational!


    Thank you, everyone, for your comments on this article. It is an amazing process to look back on your own life, from the vantage point of the passing years. Even for folks who are much younger, there is still an opportunity to look back at old photos and look past the hairdo and the clothes and even the location. Look into who you were at that stage of life, how were you living? What was your relationship to yourself like? Did you have a sense of your own sacred self?


    I Love it Gayle Cue – the ultimate human-interest story.
    Yes we all seem to be interested in before and after photos and I guess it’s because we can see the Truth of someone and the change so there is no denying or hiding. It’s there in your face – pun intended !
    When I saw your old photos I could see you hiding behind tinted glasses and the last one I could see your eyes and who you are, if you know what I mean. In fact, when I went back, I realised you had glasses on but I never saw that the first time – interesting.

    Making lifestyle changes that support us as you say, allows the new You to continue and you never have to go backwards again. Thanks to the life and work of Serge Benhayon my photos are showing me how much I have changed and to really start to Appreciate that my choices led me to this point.


    Gayle the way you don’t hold back in diving into the “real” you is also a beautiful expression of the courage, strength and deep honouring that you are willing to explore who you are with. The timelines reflect a journey as well, and I love how even though you have seen and done a great amount you are not resigning yourself to “that’s just the way you are” it feels so…true! You are indeed an inspiration Gayle Cue and you have the voice of an angel.


    Hello Phil .. I love how someone so much younger can appreciate the self reflection that I’ve written within this blog.


    It’s all in the eyes as they say – the gateway to your soul….and how amazing for us all now to be able to see you and truly connect to that bundle of scrummy that you are.


    Wow the difference in your pictures is amazing Gayle. At 63 you look younger and more alive with vitality than you did at 37. There is a wisdom and radiant beauty that just shines through your photo. Serene, claimed and beautiful.


    Hi Gayle, thank you for sharing your photos with us all. It is plain to see that you are an amazing women, full of grace, serenity and power in your last picture. Society often talks about how people ‘lose it’ when they get older – this changes that mind set completely, it shows us that this is not the case at all, growing older is not something negative that we resign to, it can be a returning back to who we are through the choices we make.


    Top blog Gayle. It’s great that you are no longer trying to hide in plain sight. From that shy looking young girl in the first photo to the confident woman in the last photo, the transformation is very inspiring. Thank you for letting us see the real you.


    Such a beautiful and honest blog. The pictorial history does really tell a tale and it is a joy to truly see you now Gayle.


    It’s amazing how we put so much effort into trying to be something or someone that is not ourselves to fulfil an image that we believe will make us better than we are when in fact we are already magnificent. So beautiful to see you in your truth Gayle.


      Yes, Jonathan, I agree, we do put a lot of effort in to trying to be something or someone. There’s actually much less effort required to just be who we are and to accept ourselves as we are. And then, surprisingly, the journey begins to unfold before us in a new way that doesn’t require trying but still results in constant growth and an increased sense of self and well being. I’m amazed at the change that has happened in the 14 months since that last photo of me was taken. Must be time for a new photo ;-)


    Wow Gayle -you came out of hiding :) How beautiful to see you – claimed as a woman and radiating with confidence. I love your words on change – yes people are truly fascinated by it – a very powerful thing that starts with us!


    What a great story and photos Gayle. Life’s so much smoother when we allow ourselves to get real and drop the disguises and stuff that our bodies don’t cope with so well. You look great!


    Your transformation is astonishing. It’s wonderful to be able to see your eyes.


    Beautiful blog Gayle. ‘Before and afters’ tell a great story – in fact your pictures tell not a thousand words but a book to be written. Gayle you are an inspiration to us all.


    How truly lovely to read through this and your story, seeing how you have transformed. The growth and depth that is there from all the loving choices you have made, truly inspiring Gayle.


    Beautiful to read your journey of self discovery and appreciation Gayle.

    Benkt van Haastrecht February 24, 2015 at 5:45 am

    It’s a beautiful story Gayle, it’s amazing to see the change in your photos. The photos are a great reminder of the change you made to your life!


    Now that your glasses are clear you are looking at the world in a clear state, not through the tinted haze you used to as a pot smoker. You look gorgeous Gayle.

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