It was Christmas morning. I'm in New York at the JetBlue terminal. I had gotten up at 3:30 a.m. so I could be at home when the children opened their Christmas presents. Half asleep, I stumble through airport security only to find out the plane is delayed. After a moment of total frustration, I decide to try one of those express manicure places to pass the time. At least I could take a mini nap in one of the comfortable chairs they provide. I walk in and find myself sitting between two people who, by the sound of it, are obviously on the verge of a separation or divorce. My 20 minutes of peace are about to be replaced by a tense exchange of curt, sarcastic remarks. What a hideous way to start the holiday.
As a divorce or separation becomes a reality, it turns into a progressively ugly hot bed of emotions. Even when divorce is for the best, it takes a huge emotional toll on all parties involved. I have known many people among the rich and powerful who have walked away with huge settlements. Very few of these have thought the emotional turmoil was worth the anxiety provoked.
Troubled, high-profile marriages fill the newspapers, tabloids and gossip shows. It's almost impossible to find news reports that don't mention Tiger and Elin Woods, John and Elizabeth Edwards, Governor Mark and Jenny Sanford, and even Jon and Kate Gosselin. Most people find this kind of "couple gossip" has brought journalism to an all-time low. Nonetheless, it's the fodder that we all read. It's what sells papers and gets TV high ratings.
People are glued to this kind of news because they realize nobody is exempt from divorce or separation. Those who think "it can never happen to me" are terribly naive. I'm not suggesting that everyone will go through a divorce. I am only saying that no one is free from the possibility of estrangement from their significant other.
Separating from one's partner is among the most stressful periods of a person's life. Divorce has a direct correlation to depression and lack of self-esteem. It abruptly ends the fantasy of having the perfect life.
I know right now you are probably thinking this idiotic hairdresser is going to tell me to color and style my hair and the world will be right again. Guess what? It's not a situation that a blow dry or highlights will fix. Recovering from divorce is an inside job. It takes plenty of introspection, guidance from professionals and your own personal support group of friends.
It takes time to recover. Some people are mentally stronger and healthier than others. These are the ones who will probably bounce back more easily than the ultra sensitive, who may need more time to rally and regain their self esteem.
Now that I have made a total disclaimer -- that the hair salon is not a quick fix to cure the emotional devastation of divorce -- I want to say that looking good and living well really is the best revenge. I think taking good care of yourself is essential. Whether you go to your hair salon for the works or just give yourself an at-home manicure, it will make you feel better. I'm not saying it's the path to long-lasting happiness. It is simply putting one foot ahead of the other until you regain your balance and your dignity.
Divorce is ugly. It is very important that you put your best face forward at this exasperating time. My motto for all who feel that they are in the depths of depression and despair is simple, but takes tremendous courage: Fake it until you make it. I guarantee you will.
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