Posts Tagged ‘divorce’

Independence Day

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

I’m going solo on this blog posting because as those who know me know, the last year of my life has been an emotional hurricane that I never saw coming.  I certainly didn’t have time to evacuate.  But rather than dwell on the crises, I want to talk a little bit about what they have yielded for me: a new independence that I have never known before and have come to treasure.

I’m on a Costa Cruise through the China Sea from Singapore to Shanghai with stops in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Okinawa and Taiwan.  Amusingly, I’m eating spaghetti Bolognese while seeing Asia.  It’s one of the greatest adventures of my life, and I’m sharing in with more than 850 other passengers (only 63 Americans), including my own incredible group of eight women and girls and two kids with disabilities.  As we were passing over these waters on the Fourth of July, it occurred to me that this marvelous journey would not have been possible had I not rediscovered my own independence through the most painful emotional experience of my adult life.

In the last year, my marriage came to an abrupt, agonizing end.  But even as my world was turned upside down and shaken, I slowly came to realize that this experience had the potential to become a blessing if I chose to make it so.  There’s the key word: chose.  That is where this comes back to my favorite topic, Inner Beauty and the Beauty-Brain Loop.  Because one of the most vital aspects of Inner Beauty is choosing a healthy, self-affirming way to respond to the things that happen to us as women.  We have little control over the things that will happen in our lives; we have total control over how we prepare and respond.  In fact, those may be the only things we have control over.

When divorce shatters the world you knew, your Inner Beauty dictates how you respond.  Do you blame yourself or sink into a self-recriminating depression?  Do you lash out in anger at everyone and anyone who crosses your path?  Or do you use the crisis as an opportunity for self-discovery and self-reinvention, clearly the healthiest path?  If your Inner Beauty—your self-love, compassion, empathy and belief in your own strength—is robust, you can choose to make a dark time into a time of renewal.

After a natural period of anger, grief and confusion, that’s the choice I’m trying to make.  I think I’m doing pretty well, and that brings me back to independence.  In the past year I have tried new things and had new adventures I might never have tried before.  I truly didn’t know what I was missing until I realized that the only factor limiting me…was me.  In doing things like this cruise, I’m spending time in the company of loving, beautiful women and literally testing new waters.  I’m free to become who I want to be at a stage of my life when many of us cannot or will not evolve.  Talk about a blessing.

As you know, everything flows from Inner Beauty.  I’ve tried to give some attention to every aspect of the Beauty-Brain Loop.  I saw a new dermatologist and got some new skin products that I adore, exercised, saw my doctor, and made sure I got the kind of healing sleep most of us busy people deny ourselves.  I gave up my occasional glass of wine and spent more time in deep talks with friends.  I spent time with family, talked with my therapist, made some new friends, cleaned my house…cleaned the cobwebs out of my mind and my life.  Spring cleaning for the self.

My new sense of independence and possibility has helped me focus on taking great care of my Health and my Outer Beauty, and certainly when I look around me and see the people I am with, I am deeply grateful that my Environment is starting to reflect what I feel inside.  It’s been a difficult road to the deck of this ship, but it has most certainly been worth it.

Happy Independence day to us all…

Eva Ritvo

Beauty 911 in Action

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

It’s always nice to know that the theories we put into our book, The Beauty Prescription, actually make sense in the real world.  In one of the chapters, called Beauty 911, we talk at great length about taking care of your inner and outer beauty in times of stressful transition: death, divorce, job loss, etc.  During such times, it’s easy to let your beauty go, to neglect your health, to succumb to anger and sadness, and to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.  Our advice was to be mindful of these truths and to take steps to preserve your physical health and appearance as well as your emotional equipoise, because when you can keep control over something while everything else around you is spinning out of control, you feel better.  And you are better.

A woman we know named Ann (we have changed her name to protect the not-so-innocent) has become our personal poster child for the principles of Beauty 911 because of something that happened to her a couple of weeks back in Miami.  Ann has been going through a terribly traumatic divorce, the kind of personal betrayal that is emotionally shattering.  For many weeks, she was depressed and couldn’t stop crying.  Life as she knew it had been upended by the dissolution of her marriage.  Frankly, we were worried about her.  She’s a strong, smart lady with tremendous inner and outer beauty, and to see her thrown for such a disabling loop was a reminder that every one of us is just a phone call or a test result from having our existence cast to the four winds.

Fast forward to a few weekends ago, when everything seemed to change.  Ann had started to get her sense of self back, get her feet back under her and find some of the fire we knew well.  She had stopped being a victim and was beginning to morph into a fighter.  It was good to see.  To blow off some steam, she went out on a Saturday night with some friends to some nightclubs in Miami’s wild South Beach district.  Now, if you know anything about South Beach, you know that it’s like Mardi Gras year-round.  This is a place where the plainest women become objects of fierce sexual attention from gorgeous men, and Ann is hardly plain.  She had decided for the evening (and here’s where the principle of Beauty 911 comes in) to adopt a new identity—to give her divorcing self a night off and cut loose as someone else for a while.  So she introduced herself as Asia D’Cuba and had a great time.

About midnight, “Asia” tired of the scene and headed for the street.  But as she stood there she was having trouble fastening her sweater.  She didn’t see a huge white Mercedes pull up, but a deep voice from the darkened car said, “Can I help you with that?”  Ann, tickled by the attention, leaned forward provocatively and a huge, dark-skinned hand came out of the window, fastened her sweater clasp, then moved to her breast.  That was more than she had bargained for, and she jumped back.  The voice and hand, it turned out, belonged to a professional football player about 25 years old (who shall also remain nameless) and who Ann knew had just signed a multi-million dollar contract.  He invited her to check out his car, but she politely declined.  After all, there are only so many things a middle-aged woman under an assumed name will do on a Saturday night!

Still, Ann was secretly thrilled.  She, a fortysomething soon-to-be divorcee who had been feeling old and unattractive, had been hit on by a twentysomething NFL stud!  We thought it was hysterically funny and really sweet, and wonderful for her growing self-esteem.  We also think it’s a perfect example of Beauty 911 in action.  Ann took herself out of a comfort zone that had become depressing, took a risk, found her playful side, and rediscovered her self-confidence.  All these things combined to make her atttractive enough to capture the attention of a rich young man who could have picked up on any woman in South Beach.  Crisis?  What crisis?  The only person we feel sorry for now is Ann’s soon-to-be-ex.

Stay beautiful,

Debi & Eva













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