Before and After Photos – Hiding in Plain Sight

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. Before and After Universal Medicine – Danielle’s Story by Danielle Pirera

191 thoughts on “Before and After Photos – Hiding in Plain Sight

  1. Gayle it is so beautiful to observe how you’ve evolved over the years, and not just thorough the glasses you wore but how your body presented in each photo. The hardness that can posses a body is very obvious without being critical either.

    It’s so true when we live from our bodies instead of our minds, then the connection is very different. We connect to not only the maleness or the femaleness, we connect to that Soul that’s within all of us, which is genderless. And from there, serving humanity is so joyous anything less only hurts oneself.

  2. When we meet someone we are deeply inspired by because of their expression of truth, we can sometimes re-interpret that inspiration by trying to model them and copy them, rather than letting ourselves be inspired to express from our own truth as truly modelled by them. This is something I have fallen for time and time again, and yet when I have experienced those moments of truth in expression coming through me, there is nothing but to express and appreciate the expression, rather than trying to emulate something else that is not who we are.

  3. Gayle this last photo of you shows us how much more comfortable you are with being in your ‘own skin’ so to speak. For a woman to know who she is and to be totally in acceptance and appreciation of this is a gift of greatest value – to herself but also to all other women as a reminder of where we can all be.

    1. I agree Henrietta, but I also observed the tenderness of an ageless woman. Looking so sexy and sassy irrespective of how biologically young they are.

  4. Thank you Gayle – I have just re-read this blog and was reminded of how much we can hide in life, be this behind glasses or another means such as a role we play (even being an actor in life is hiding the true you)… there is a multitude of roles we can take on: Mother, wife, daughter, teacher, dentist, secretary, mechanic etc – so long as we identify with what we do we are hiding from who we actually are. The realisation of this is very powerful, life changing in fact – for when we can let go of the roles and the hiding then we can really begin to live life and give ourselves permission to simply be who we are, glasses or no glasses.

  5. “Scary as it may feel at times, change is inevitable and therefore necessary.” I have recently been exploring this because there are some key areas in my life where I feel I’m resisting change, I’m resisting the new to cling onto the familiar. I liked your line that change is “inevitable and therefore necessary” because it supports the understanding that it’s a part of the natural order of life.

  6. Beautiful that you are no longer hiding, and choosing to be in and connected with your body, ‘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.’

  7. At a very young age I was encouraged to do eye exercises and to date they have worked and at 66 it is great to be able to see clearly. Our abilities fall away if we do not exercise and use them or are lied to so we shut them down, upon this realisation much of life changes and when we start to read the energy that is around us, which is another before and after because at a young age we were shut down from reading energy and now we are re-learning that it was True to feel what energies are doing to us and thus appreciate that we are more than this physicality.

  8. I guess it is a natural progression that as we deepen our connection to who we truly are, what we feel drawn to changes, and what no longer serves gets let go. I can feel how we might sometimes resist this pull and invitation and remain in the comfort of discomfort by coming up with all kinds of excuses to make it less of a priority, and that is rather poisonous.

  9. A beautiful sharing Gayle, what a sassy, spunky, and amazing elder you are in the community. It is great that you came out from hiding as you have so much to offer everyone with the qualities that you live naturally everyday.

  10. In the last photograph there is so much more presence that was definitely hidden in the other photographs – such a powerful testament to healing power of making self-loving lifestyle choices.

  11. Often the best hiding places are in plain sight and while it’s usually about us hiding from the world, it really does start with hiding from ourselves; for the more willing we are to truly see ourselves the more we have a foundation in who we are and what we share with the world.

  12. Before and after stories are enormously powerful, I’ve seen both kinds – so positive and negative ones and they both remind us that every choice we make counts and ultimately had a result, and that we have the power inside us to change our lives – in whatever direction we want.

  13. I have recently got glasses because my eyesight was a little bit less and I started to have headaches after days on the computer. I must say it is a very interesting journey so far. I can feel how it is easy to hide behind glasses at times but also how not wearing glasses for me dulls the reality of life around me a which is also a withdrawal from life. Having these glasses allows me to receive the world around instead of me having to focus to try to see what is going on around me.

    1. I love what you have shared here Elizabeth – using the glasses as a means to support ourselves to see more clearly shows a willingness to see the truth… I too have glasses and to work with this rather than wish I did not have them is a great step in embracing the healing that we are offered in this.

  14. I can say I have also changed in the past few years, but I am here wondering – was that a true deepening of a quality, or was I going after an image? There definitely has been a deepening, yet I am becoming more aware how ingrained we are in the way we dictate and arrange our movement where there is a picture, a goal if you like, we are going towards, and we are essentially trapping ourselves in the old pattern. Something for me to feel into.

  15. Gayle I love that you are no longer ‘hiding in plain sight’, the reflection you offer to others is very powerful in the way that are shining out in the world and embracing the ageing process with such grace and joy.

  16. This is a great blog Gayle that is making me wonder how many of us are hiding in plain sight all the beauty that we innately are and the potential that we can bring.

  17. A gorgeous sharing Gayle, thank you and here you are in plain sight shining your beautiful self, your picture says it all. I am impressed to get out my old photos and feel through the different times in my life and what that will reveal to me, I know there have been some amazing changes that have happened to me over the past few years.

  18. This most recent picture looks like a completely different person – and I guess in a sense that is true. When we come to know our true innate selves we leave behind who we once believed ourselves to be, to instead be all that we are and in fact, all we have always been beneath the facade.

  19. Before and after pictures point to specific changes. What changes get our attention? That is up to the observer. And, not everyone is interested in the same, or is willing to really feel all that a picture reveals. Making it about energy is the most telling exercise of registering change.

  20. “I am no longer hiding from myself, or the world.” A shining inspiration to others to equally share their light and love.

  21. How interesting to see how the more you chose to see yourself the more you became visible to everyone else and then to realise that, that applies to everyone.

  22. Hard to believe that you wore tinted glasses and were a stonner once?! The woman I have come to know is confident and direct and does not hide from anyone, especially herself. You really have made some very different choices that have served you very well, the love and strength now radiates from you, stunning.

  23. It’s amazing what we can read when we are willing to see the truth. I’ve often thought about going through my old photos and doing a before and after…….today may just be the day.

  24. As a fashion accessory I have always wanted to experiment with frames, although every time I put them on whether with prescription or not, they cannot remain long on my face before I feel there is too much on me, and I have to take them off. With glasses I also feel there is a need to feel “professional” or “proper” and that is an image that kind of sets me apart, there is a bit of separation and distance, which is not what I really want to convey or feel true about.

  25. Its interesting to observe how clever we are to hide. How it is that we create ‘our owned’ specific ways to not stand out, be in comfort, and not be challenged. We create this to offset to not feel we have originally chosen this upon ourselves. It might seemingly look as those what is happening to us or what we do is due to our environment and the setup of the world, but what I have determined is we have created it (all). I do not want to feel how much I have allowed the abuse of myself.

  26. Looking at your pictures throughout your life speaks volumes of how you have changed, ‘ 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.’ Wonderful.

  27. I was thinking when reading this writing , that some times the world is so un-loving that we want to look at it with tinted glasses so we can distort the image we are receiving so that it does not look so bad so to speak. But this is just another method of hiding and not taking responsible , for what one brings to the world. Thank you for sharing.

  28. The way we live shows very clearly on our faces and body as we age. The life of inner love is shining on your face Gayle.

  29. Thank you for sharing your observations Gayle, I had to wear glasses occasionally in my late teens, I did not like wearing them at all and was so relieved when I could wear contact lenses, to have now come back round to wearing glasses because of dry eyes, and now being fine with wearing glasses.

  30. The title of your blog made me smile because I can relate to hiding in plain sight for many years. It takes a lot of effort and hard word to do that. I’m discovering its easier to just be me and let the world see and deal with that rather than continue to constantly second guess how others want me to be, which really has nothing to do with others, but what I have subscribed to. There is a lot to appreciate in the changes you have made and the photos have charted that change well.

  31. I recently went through some old photos, and it was interesting to notice how I hardly recognise myself, I am much softer now in appearance without the hardness that I once used as my form of protection which basically I used to keep people out.

  32. It makes sense that our bodies and our faces can be read like a book on our life story and that rather than trying to change the appearance of ourselves from the outside that the greatest changes can be made from the inside out i.e. how we feel on the inside about ourselves will show on the outside.

  33. I love this article, a true blast from the past. I remember the influence my favourite teachers had on me at school and growing up, they were role models for how I was going to be. Photos at any point are a great reminder or reflection of where we are at and I can see that’s what I have always used them for. While reading over this article I remember always looking at photos and how they took me to a certain part of my life. It was like the photo had life and I didn’t just look at the photo itself but could recall where I was in the photo, not in physical location but more how I was living, how I was dealing with the world. I use photos now in the same way and love what they capture. I love seeing them as soon as they are taken, which is a bonus of our modern world. You can pretty much take a photo anytime in any place. I loved the transformation in the photos in this article with the commentary to support what we were seeing, using the photos like I use them as a marker for a point in life.

  34. Amazing observation, Gayle. It’s interesting how wearing glasses for you at first was simply a necessary support to see better, then it turned into a shield to hide behind. When I started putting on make-up, it was an addition, then over the years there came a point where I started feel less if I didn’t have make-up on. I used to think that I was hiding myself, but I am now wondering if it was the fact that I was hiding from the world and living a lie that I so wanted to hide.

  35. How deeply inspiring it is, to see ‘before and after’ images that reveal a restoration of the true loveliness of a person. Age matters nought when the fullness of someone’s presence is felt – in fact, this turns our societal ‘norm’ on its head, where so many lose vibrancy and a strong sense of their innate beauty and essence as they age. To see someone actually thriving all the more as the years go by, is testament to the quality of the life lived – clearly in this case, to The Way of The Livingness.
    I know I feel far more vibrant and ‘me’ at age 48 than I did at 28, or 18 for that matter… This is remarkable beyond measure.

  36. This is very inspiring Gayle, and I can’t help but notice the femininity that has also returned to your face. It was as if this had been covered over/masked also in those years ‘in between’, and today you let it – i.e. you – be seen openly, in all of your beauty.
    Deeply inspiring.

  37. I love that you can look back and have realisations about the choices you have made in life and why…. and then get to appreciate that through living the principles of the Ageless Wisdom presented by Universal Medicine, we no longer need to hide our true expression in the ways we once did.

  38. My feeling is that the power of a before and after story is that it reminds us that change is possible. We have all had feelings of emptiness, that this is not the way we want to live… and a true story of change reminds us that anything is possible both for them and for us… its just a question of how we are living and the choices we make.

  39. Oooof! how awesome is that Gayle. I love the fact that it’s never too late to realise that we are well worth being seen for who we are, just as we are, warts and all.

  40. It is interesting what we choose to hide behind whether it is glasses, clothes, make-up, a partner, etc but as we lovingly commit to ourselves, the things we hide behind gently get exposed and our true self comes to light.

  41. We tend to react to objects, clothes and haircuts we see in past pictures and get upset. But what if we started to see these snapshots as indicators of energy we were in, in the past? Then perhaps we could question and honestly look at how we are today. For sure the styles and objects may have been updated but has the energy changed? Thanks Gayle for helping me see that there are messages waiting for us, in plain sight.

  42. There are before and afters and before and afters. What is truly beautiful is to feel how those people taking responsibility for their own lives, somehow are able to return to the before of the before previous to the after.

  43. I agree Gayle that pictures do speak a thousand words and not just the physical appearance changes and changes of fashion, but the feeling or sense we get from pictures and photos say loads about how we have been living up until the moment the photo was taken.

  44. Wow Gayle I find it very inspirational what you have shared about your glasses. I love it how you changed your life and with that also your style of glasses – by the way you look and feel very beautiful and much younger with your latest glasses choice.

  45. Gayle,
    I can completely relate to what you share here about glasses. I too have had the huge frames, the tinting (which I still have) and the sense of not wanting to see the truth of my life. Hiding in plain sight is something I have done for years, of late I can feel that some of my hiding has been to not bore another with my life, so I held back from sharing in full, my experiences. I am beginning to discover the falseness in this, as I open and share more, I can feel at times a deep appreciation from others as they can relate to my experiences, as I have related to yours here.

  46. Beautiful Gayle to see you come out of hiding. It is interesting how many people have the need to hide from this world and the various ways they choose to do that. It tells a lot about our society and the way we are with each other that so many in our communities do not feel safe to show their true face and beauty.

  47. “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. ” Gorgeous – and a fab photo of you in your ‘frameless’ specs.

  48. Gayle, the ‘after’ photo of you is gorgeous and I can feel that you have nothing to hide but an openness to share all that you are with the world.

  49. It is truly beautiful and inspiring to read your story Gayle of how you have transformed your life from drugs, food and dark glasses to making loving choices that supported your body and has allowed you to no longer hide from the world to now shining brightly for all to see.

  50. While I was reading your blog Gayle, I could feel how I retreated from the world by not being present and taking myself away by being racy. So caffeine and sugar were my way of putting the world at arms’ length. This did not do me any good and I really missed myself, not even consciously knowing that I was doing this, just feeling out of whack. What a true blessing it is to have returned to fully embrace being present and available to life. Getting rid of those things that kept me at arms’ length from the world is brilliant.

  51. Gayle, beautiful honest sharing of your life. I too had glasses at a young age. I could feel that I was not being seen for who I was and was able to hide behind them. It wasn’t until I got contact lens that I experienced interactions and connections with me and not with the barrier of glasses and the distortion of thick lenses. Reading your story Gayle brought back this memory and realization.

  52. I love the title of your blog Gayle, “hiding in plain sight”. Isn’t that what we are all basically doing? We are hiding behind our insecurities and inadequacies adapting behaviours that make life possible for us but underneath all that is the ‘real me’, our essence, always shining through. We might not see it so clearly anymore as we are convinced by and caught up in our issues but others are not so easily fooled. And when we are honest with ourselves, and like you did take some old photos to guide us, we cannot deny the beauty and potential that there is in us. Realising and accepting that is then the start to bring this to the fore and live it full heartedly.

  53. It’s beautiful to real your evolution Gayle – amazing you can do it just by clocking your glasses. And yet, when we need to wear glasses, they do become part of our body, our vehicle of expression, so just in the same way we change our hair to express how we feel within, so too do glasses change.

  54. Gail I love that I can see you in your most recent photo. As I look at the others we I feel like I am missing out on you as you hide behind your glasses. You also feel younger in your later photo – the result of living you no doubt.

  55. Thank you for sharing your before and after photos Gayle and it is so clear in your last photo your solidness with where you are and therefore your willingness to be seen in full. I can relate to hiding in plain sight and big glasses are a great way of doing that! I still finding having my photo taken quite confronting because it is a record of where I am at and so often in the past I have not wanted to see the evidence of my lifestyle choices. Since making different choices I am slowly becoming more comfortable with seeing and being seen thanks to the practical presentations by Serge Benhayon and the ongoing support to make loving changes in my life.

  56. There’s something about before and after photos that can really capture our attention when they’re not reflecting anything invasive, dramatic or traumatic but are instead showing the results of what can happen when people come to their senses and start living in a way that is simple, honouring and nurturing of the body. For they reflect back to us what is possible for ourselves when we choose to take true responsibility and care deeply enough.

  57. This blog shows us how early in our lives we start hiding from life and ourselves. It could be by using glasses, certain clothes, food, alcohol, drugs etc. I love how you have shared about the glasses Gayle because it shows us that we can use “normal” things to hide or avoid ourselves but whether it is a harmful substance or glasses, it is all on the same spectrum.

  58. Reading your transformation Gayle is making me wonder how many others statistically in the world are hiding in plain sight. What we all need to consider and ponder on is why? Our next consideration is what would the world be like if we all did actually commit to truly healing and living the joyful after effects of this healing by letting go of what has hurt us and holds us back.

  59. What an awesome before and after Gayle. The fact that your after is clearly continually deepening and expanding is an inspiration for us all.

  60. Thanks for Sharing Gayle. I must say you looked gorgeous at 16, and again today 😀
    I totally agree, we need to look back at past things that we have done and see the truth – why we chose what we did and what was happening at the time. I know I have looked back with judgement sometimes, does this mean I still carry judgement about myself now? yes. But we need to learn to see and know things for what they are, and this will help us to not react to everything we see and know.

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