First I thought nothing. I felt nothing. I was nothing – except a mother, of course. But feeling good as a woman, despite the Divorce Diet that knocked 30+ pounds off my diminutive frame in a matter of three months?
As the ink eventually dried on the paperwork and my kids were encouraging me to get out and date, I began to fancy a makeover.
I thought about dyeing my hair red. Of course, I would have to carry a compact with porcelain powder and line my eyes for a feral feline look.
I considered perming my hair à la 1989, in search of Boho chic. My hair guy nixed that idea, in defense of my hair health!
Non merci – and may I urge you to think twice about anything that is permanent?
I even visited a cosmetic surgeon, thanks to low self-esteem after divorce and one persuasive guy I dated briefly who said I needed to lift everything up. Hoist those boobs, tuck that tummy!
But there weren’t any takers to pick up the tab on those surgeries – not to mention domestic help and independent wealth during the period of time I’d be out of commission. And was it really necessary to undergo cosmetic surgery to compete on the post-divorce dating scene – not to mention for a better sex life?
After Divorce, Esteem Takes a Tumble
We all know that divorce is an ending, and it can be a terribly painful one on so many levels.
When you feel unwanted, undesired, unhitched and unhinged, self-confidence takes a hike.
But divorce can also mean a gradual new beginning – sometimes helped along by an updated look.
A mental makeover will definitely benefit from a positive attitude and a little luck, but also time to heal. A physical makeover? That just may spark the emotional uptick you need!
As my divorce wore on, and in the months after, I realized that I wanted a new look for a new life. I wasn’t sure what that would mean, and despite toying with the idea of red hair, I knew I needed to take my time and ease into a brighter, shinier, improved me.
I had lived too many years in which I felt invisible, and I didn’t want to feel that way any longer.
Makeover or Update?
I grew my hair. I went to a sexier, slightly more tousled style.
I changed my glasses, I changed my perfume, and I took up healthier habits I had let go in the merry-go-round of mothering and working. I also treated myself to fine lingerie, though that was over the course of a number of years. Quality costs, and I was willing to save and budget for what I wanted.
Might I add, we should wear our gorgeous underthings every day, and not just for special occasions? We should do it for ourselves.
I won’t say I had a lot of time to fuss over myself. I didn’t. Nor did I really want a full-blown makeover. The real issue was to feel as though I deserved to pay attention to myself – no matter what my ex thought of me, no matter my marital status, no matter my weight or my age.
I wanted to flirt, to date, to feel womanly – something I hadn’t felt in my marriage.
My Passion for Fashion
And I love fashion!
I dusted off my favorite shoes that hadn’t seen the light of day in ages.
I added more color to my basic black – deep magentas, hedonistic pinks, and I went for red, red, red!
I pulled out my favorite scarves and accessories, reminding myself that it was okay to love whatever I felt comfortable wearing, to try new looks, and to be more relaxed or more daring in my style than I could be when I was married.
I experimented. And it felt great.
The Value of a Style Update
The single mom life can be grueling. Over the years, when I sensed myself bogging down in the tedium of driving kids, cooking dinners, doing laundry, sitting up and worrying at night – I’d give myself a style perkup – going shopping in my closet, digging through the makeup drawer, and trying out something new.
Without fail, it always did and still does perk me up.
That, and the following: recognizing healthy habits and occasionally standing in front of the mirror (naked, believe it or not) – realizing what this body has been through, how well it has served me, and that I need to treat it kindly.
Besides, when I get in touch with my physical side, my girly side, I feel better about life.
So give yourself an update whenever you desire one. If you’re on a budget like I was, you can still manage! Get girlfriends to help, enjoy free consultations at the makeup counter of your local department store, and have some fun!