Before and After Photos – Hiding in Plain Sight

February 6, 2014 — 114 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

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


    I really loved the way you explained why you don’t ingest substances that alter how you feel. I am finding that the feeling I get when I eat foods that are sweet is becoming really uncomfortable as it disconnects me from the natural loveliness I now know so well. This blog is a great reminder that feeling connected to me is sweeter than any taste.

    Alison Pearson March 6, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    So lovely to feel beauty-full you in your last picture Gayle. You are so present. In all the other pictures, you are there in body but, as you say, you were hiding and the world was missing out.


    “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.”
    You are indeed a beautiful woman Gayle and the fact that you can now ‘see’ clearly who you are is felt in this last photo. ✨


    So awesome Gayle, I love what you expose here as it can be so easy to hide in plain sight, I for one have excelled at this. What I enjoyed most was the fact that you are now showing we can all make the choice to take responsibility for the way we live and bring ourselves back to life, out of the darkness and into the light. Thanks for being a beacon of light in this world.


      We do indeed ‘bring ourselves back to life’, it’s a great way of describing the process that Gayle writes about here. We talk about ‘living the life’ when most of us are far from living. I used to think I was really living life yet I was sick, overweight, and struggle to be able bodied due to my weight impacting on my mobility. I fooled myself for so long and yet underneath it all I knew what was really going on – how could I not – the misery I woke with each morning told me loud and clear. It’s as if we need to ask – how sick do we need to get before we hold our hands up and say – there MUST be another way to live.


    Thank you Gayle, for me I have also found a way to hide although I have never worn glasses. My appreciation is also to Serge Benhayon for sharing how easily we get lost and not expressing the true and whole me. “And it is thanks to my own desire to live from a soulful level” well said Gayle, this is saying it all!


    A very open and honest account of your journey.
    One look at your most recent photo says it all, and we finally get to see those beautiful eyes reflecting all the love that you are.
    Your story is very inspiring, thanks for sharing it with us.


    A very honest article about a beautiful journey.


    A very revealing article Gayle. When I look at old photographs of myself I can see the shying away from the camera and not wanting to be seen; I always disliked having my photograph taken. Serge Benhayon has inspired me to be aware of the way I was living and to choose to make changes that are more self-nurturing and caring. I can now look in a mirror and see who I truly am and that all I was trying to hide away from was not me.


    To let ourselves be seen, and to choose to see, everything in front of us ( as the song goes) are such great steps to take. We all have something so unique to bring to the world, and the world is less without us, so just by being who we truly are , we are serving, isn’t that just great!


      ‘The world is less without us’, this is so very true and yet we fool ourselves in so many ways that this is not so. To be without ourselves is to be everything we are not and never have been. There is so much more to us and it’s got nothing to do with what the world tells us we are. This I love. I love that I can make the choice to be myself.


    Thank you for sharing your amazing unfoldment Gayle. A picture tells a thousand words and yours have done exactly that.


    A really great story of a life turned around. From out of control living to true living – what a difference. This is very inspiring.


    What an amazing transformation!! The glasses you are wearing now do not even look like they are there because you can completely see your eyes. This is something I would call a miracle.. to go your whole life almost hiding bloodshot eyes, to now showing off those beautiful blue eyes without any reservation. Go Gayle!


    What a great story of coming back to who you truly are. I love your line ‘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.’ I have never heard this expressed so simply and so beautifully. Who would not want clarity of heart after reading that line?


    This is a lovely sharing of your commitment to live in a way that is not just about yourself but about sharing the real beauty of who you are for all others. Thank you Gail.


    Wow what a transformation, your picture at 63 looks amazing, fully claimed and present for the whole world to see… great blog Gayle it offered me a reflection of how much I hid myself from the world, in my case, so I did not have to stand out or be seen. I could relate to Mary Adler and not wanting to have her photo taken and this made me realise that I was just shying away from myself …silly really.


    I love how you have explored your before and after transformation through the style and size of spectacle frames. In the final photo, then aged 63, your are fully present with yourself, your eyes sparkle through almost transparent frames, we feel your true and radiant self.

    Deidre Medbury May 19, 2015 at 4:36 am

    Great insight to why you wore tinted glasses – not to keep the glare out but to keep you hiding from the world. The after photos – here you are with clear shining eyes for all to see, confirming the loving changes you have chosen for yourself. This is an inspiring reflection for all who know you and have contact with you Gayle.


    Your frameless glasses look amazing on you Gayle. There is a big difference in your before and afters and it’s clear what you said about your tinted glasses…There are so many things that people use in this world to hide or to cover up what we don’t what to see/feel. I find these before and afters so much more interesting than the simple weight loss ones. The development back and discovery about oneself is an amazing thing to witness and I do love seeing it.


    I can relate to your story Gayle, being a glasses wearer much of my life. I recently went to the opticians from a new prescription of glasses, and chose two really gorgeous pairs of designer glasses, but as the optician was measuring me up, I knew I could not buy them. I tried on a pair of rimless glasses and was amazed at how much the light in my face was shining out, the rimless glasses barely made an impact to stop this. I am sold on them now- just as I’m sold on my light shining out for all to see.


    What an amazing blog Gayle, love how you write and express, and also how you’ve exactly captured the truth we can feel about old photos, and all our nit-picking blushes! You’ve raised such a great point in seeing beyond these reactions, and what struck me from your post was seeing that perhaps these gasps (of despair, or otherwise) are more down to us being able to feel that the photo is capturing the way we were living ‘back then’. And that when we start to live from the truth of who we are as evidenced by your latest photos, then the gasps of cringe give way to gasps of complete joy in the beauty that’s there – lived.


    It’s funny Gayle that even though you tried to hide behind your tinted glasses you couldn’t really hide because people could still see your eyes. So perhaps we cannot really hide as much as we’d like to think. People can always see and feel how we are and if we are living to our full potential or not. It’s a great story you share and I loved reading about your unfoldment with your glasses.

    Samantha Westall May 28, 2015 at 8:09 am

    A beautiful account of the transformation you have made to the glorious woman you are. A pleasure to read and to see.


    I love your current glasses and the fact that you shine through them. I do like the ones you wore at age 16 too although it can be easily seen how much you hide there. There are many ways to hide. We all have triple PhDs in Hideology. The before and after is really amazing. We can learn so much simply by looking beyond appearances!

    Amanda Woodmansey May 29, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I am also inspired with the gorgeous transformations of the people who have changed their lives by living their true selves. It is so interesting to see all the before photos stretching back to childhood and the photos that show how they have been affected by the world and the life they have lived.
    Thank you Gayle for your photos and also giving me some excellent pointers when I come to look at my own past photos.

    Samantha Davidson June 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    I really appreciate this quote “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”.I know this to be my experience also and one that I must have felt the pull from the inside, because I did not have the connection to understand what lay ahead me. I have also found ‘clarity’ a wonderful word, through supporting my body and being honest about what comes up for me in life.

    Michelle M Ryan June 27, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Looking through this pictorial story it is obvious you have come out the other end winning, just by connecting deeply to yourself and dropping what no longer (excuse the pun) fits the picture!


    I too am one that loves to observe the change and it is fascinating to notice that people associated with Universal Medicine appear to come alive. It is remarkable to witness people who I usually wouldn’t find attractive become drop dead gorgeous when they start to live from who they really are. Beauty really is within and when that is connected to the outer takes care of itself.


    It is remarkable to see the transformation in your face and eyes Gayle, from the earlier hiding and tomboy persona to the confident and gorgeous woman you now are.


    This is simply beautiful Gail, “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.” I too am coming out of hiding and am feeling huge inner transformations, which is showing on the outer!


    Gayle thank you this is an amazing story. I particularly love the last photo of you, you look so claimed within yourself and so comfortable in your own skin. It’s very awesome that you have chosen to allow the world to really see how gorgeous and amazing you truly are.


    I really am questioning again and again Gayle why it is that we hide who we are. It seems completely illogical and yet most people do it from the time they go to school or earlier – once they realise that others don’t like people who don’t hide who they are!


      Great point Lucy, why do we hide who we are, I know I did, and most of us do, Is it possible as children our light is so bright that it makes others uncomfortable, because the reflection is a painful reminder that they walked away from their own light, and as children we feel all of this, so so we dim our light to ‘fit’ in, be liked and not stand out?


    Lovely to read Gayle that you are no longer hiding the gorgeous and tender woman you are from the world, Lucky us! Thank you for sharng your process of evolution and the important reminder that; ‘It is our very nature to evolve, to change, change is inevitable’. I totally agree, and better we make the change ourselves, than life forcing us…..


    No matter how much we try to hide you can see the beauty shining from within. In every single one of those photos I see a very beautiful woman where that light shines despite changing in fashion and lifestyle … Amazing!


    So beautiful to read Gayle, I really loved your last photo of a very claimed and present woman. I feel it’s time for me to visit my old photos and see what they will reveal.


    The difference in the woman you are is amazing, and just shows how powerful it is to make self-loving choices in how we live from day to day. If someone had told me just how much I would change if I made simple changes to how I was living, I would not have believed it. Yet the changes have occurred as I have changed and now hold myself as a very delicate and beautiful woman. The beauty all rests in the eyes, the windows to the soul.


    Wow Gayle the changes you have are in your life are truly amazing. To go from hiding behind dark tinted glasses to letting the world see who you truly are is deeply inspiring and your photos clearly show that making loving choices has supported you to allow your beauty and light to shine.


    I have my own before and after photos and story. I weighed 120 lbs. forever. And lived life to the fullest, it was full of alcohol, caffeine and things that made you go faster. I had called it my T & A diet…tension and anxiety. Then I stopped and got comfortable with someone else that also was happy with that arrangement. I buried my hurts but the self-abuse continued that I was doing to my self and body. I was slowing becoming the poster child of what not to do to your self to live a healthy life style. I meet Serge Benhayon and over the years from making new choices to the way I was committing slow suicide by the way I was living a strange thing happened… the real me stepped out of the shadow of what I had grown into; over weight, poor health and all the bad habits. I no longer hide in mine or any ones shadow. I am getting younger as I am growing older and I love it.


    What a beautiful uncovering of yourself and a stepping out from the shadows. Amazing that your choice of glasses in these photos so clearly shows how you have been changing, and what a beautiful clear and open Gayle presents herself in your last picture.
    Thank you for sharing this. This is a great reminder to come out of hiding- to not hold back.


    Amazing Gayle I am inspired through your lovely blog to have a look at my old pictures as well – but not only to have a look at my hairstyle or at my fashion choices. This is a good tip because I was looking only at this. What I love from your picture is that you are looking so much younger and sexier when you are 63 years old than when you were younger. That is what is mind blowing and that is what makes people curious – they like to know your secret – what you have shared so open hearted.


      Beautifully said Ester. I agree with you, Gayle certainly does look younger and feels so full of grace in the last photo. As beautiful and as exquisite as any rose I have ever seen.


    I have over time morphed into someone that is no long the person I previously was, internally and externally. I am showing the signs of time but there is an inner vitality that shines out now. I have also hidden over all these years, I have always been a photographer documenting life as I have moved through it but never one to be in the photos. I have large periods of my life that there are no photos of me. Because of choices I have made I no longer am hiding from my self or the world.


    Thank you for sharing your before and after photos Gayle, I too have worn glasses for most of my life and like you for much of that time they were huge and tinted. I had not before connected the dots in why I chose such frames and to tint my glasses, but what you share feels pretty true for me too. About a year ago I went off to the optometrist, I was wanting to no longer wear glasses at all, but my eyes were not suitable candidates for laser surgery and I simply cannot do contacts. So glasses I still have, but they are much smaller partially frameless, ahh, but still tinted. In reading your blog I can clearly feel why they are and for this I thank you.


    Thank you Gayle I love what you have shared with your before and after photos. I always find it inspiring observing how people’s lives have transformed by making loving choices as you so gorgeously have. And I also love this last picture of you now as for me it reflects the joy of living in a body that is truly well loved and with the graceful and divine presence of you.


    Coming back to this blog has got me wondering, what is my relationship with my sight? Due to lifestyle changes my prescription has changed in that it has gotten better. However I see this as a result of the many choices I have accumulated over the years. I notice how when I am unwilling to feel something right then and there my eyesight gets worse if not waring my glasses and it sharpens the more I choose to be aware of what I am feeling. The goal is not to be glasses free but I feel that there is more my sight is communicating than I have taken notice of. What more then is there to see and be aware of?


    Hiding is a theme that is coming up a lot for me lately. When we are not living the truth we know, we can come up with a myriad of ways to hide. I hid in my roles as a good student, a church member, a wife, a mother. Since coming to the work of Universal Medicine I now understand that no one benefits from hiding – not me or anyone else. I am now learning to live all of who I am, even if it rocks the apple cart.


    I love this sharing Gayle, what a great reflection of your life. Your last photo is amazing, thank goodness you stopped hiding the beautiful woman that you are from the world. Now we get to see your beauty, power and who you are. What strikes me about this is how important it is to have older people staying in life, leading the way and reflecting back their wisdom to others.


    You are glowing Gayle, the presence you are holding at 63 feels so true. The symbolism offered by the glasses whilst in 5th grade brought you forward and out allowing you to see more clearly, they also allowed for the choice of now that I can see – do I want to be seen. As you have shared the connection to self unfolded from there. Everything is a reflection and what you have offered has inspired me to look more closely at my photos beyond the clothing, haircut etc. Thank you.

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