The Before and the After—A Picture Tells the Whole Story

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely hate taking pictures.  Not taking pictures from behind the camera lens but to actually be in front of the camera lens itself.  So I’ve been on a weight loss journey for the last few years now and I committed to this journey no matter how long it took for me to get to a place of being healthy (and yes thinner too) and happy.  I also knew that I couldn’t do this quickly and rapidly because I had tried that before and it didn’t stick and that I didn’t want to lose weight surgically (not knocking it for anyone who has had weight loss surgery—just not for me) but rather naturally and that meant it was going to have to be slow and steady.

I’ll admit that at certain periods throughout the process it has been slower than others and of course there’s moments where you reach a new stage and you plateau.  However, I have managed to remain vigilant and have lost well over a hundred pounds but yet I still don’t like taking pictures.  My best friend asked me once if I had any before pictures so that I had something to compare things to because I constantly have an issue of looking in the mirror and thinking that nothing has changed regardless of the fact that my clothes have gotten looser on me and my face is visibly different, but as I stated before I have never liked to take pictures with me in them.

So today when I went to the gym (knowing that I had taken a picture for the membership card when I first joined the gym) I asked if I could take a new picture for my membership card.  When she took the picture and printed out the new card I took out my old one and looked at the side by side view (you can see it below-sorry it’s not a clearer picture) and the difference was, in my opinion, very noticeable.  I was ecstatic and overjoyed and of course I went and showed everyone in the gym my before and after and one lady even pointed to the before picture and asked who it was.  That motivated me even more.

Here's my before and after... See the difference!
Here’s my before and after… See the difference!

What does any of this have to do with my writing you might ask?  Well you know they say a picture is worth a thousand words and in today’s case my before and after pictures made a lot of things clearer to me.  That before picture was not a happy woman, perhaps a woman who faked it with some success, but definitely not happy.  But the after picture was a happy person, a more confident person, a more secure person, and a healthier person.  It in many ways mirrors my journey of writing that I spoke of with such frustration in yesterday’s post.

My writing career, years ago, around the time of that before picture, was existent (barely) but it wasn’t moving in any direction.  It had gotten off the ground (maybe about a couple inches) but it hadn’t took off, it hadn’t even gotten midway, it was just stagnant hovering somewhere around the point of the wheels of a plane being an inch off the ground but not yet ready to take off.  It has been a slow journey in that regard as well but unlike with my weight loss journey where I had succumb to the reality that slow and steady is better for me and in the end will garner more promising results, more lasting results, with writing I had wanted it to be a rush to take off.  I hadn’t thought about the fact that if slow and steady can win the race in one area, why wouldn’t it be the right track in the other area as well.

My writing career is still definitely not where I want it to be but it is definitely beginning to take shape and it seems to be ready to take off.  Just as with my before and after pictures in my road to a healthier and happier version of myself, I couldn’t see the progress before and it appeared as if nothing was really happening, my writing career has its before and after points as well.  My writing career, my writing style, has changed and taken different shapes right along with me and looking at the body of my work over the years I can see the progress now.  I can see the fruits of all of my hard work and I am just as overjoyed at that as I was to look at my before and after pictures from this morning.

Sometimes to see the bigger picture, you really do have to capture it in a picture.  A picture doesn’t just show the physical changes in a person but sometimes you can see a whole story in the person you are looking at in that picture, the emotional changes, the mental changes, the career changes.  So what would your before and after of you look like?  What story would it tell to the world?


Jimmetta Carpenter


The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”


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