Insides and Outsides

insides outsides.jpgTake a look at this picture. What do you see (besides some fabulous jewelry)? My guess is you see a happy couple, probably passionately in love, planning a long future together. Yeah, that’s what I see, too.

I’m thinking about my Work-in-Progress. One of my characters, miserable in her own marriage, sees a happy-looking couple on the street and fills with envy. As I think about her, I’m reminded of an incident in my own life. Six or seven years ago, I was divorced and partnerless. I was in church one day when I saw an acquaintance several rows in front of me. She was sitting with a man I’d never seen before. I realized that this acquaintance, a lovely woman for whom I had much affection, was finally dating after many years of a dry spell. I watched as she and the very handsome man tipped their heads together, whispering and laughing and looking very much in love. I felt joy for her, marred only by the green-eyed monster, envy. I wanted some of what she clearly had.

Later that week, I shared my feelings with a girlfriend, who told me “that’s your insides looking at their outsides.” Wow. She nailed it. We know our insides so well–all those insecurities and uncertainties and, sometimes, emotional pain. But all we know of someone else’s relationship is what we see on the outside–that superficial laughter and whispering and sparkly-eyed joy. We have no idea what’s going on inside those two people. Whenever I find myself envying someone else’s life in some way, I think about my friend’s wise statement. I think this is a lesson I want my character to learn, as well.

Sure enough, my acquaintance and her new man split up shortly after I witnessed that scene in church. I was genuinely sad for her and I hope by now she’s found the special someone she deserves. I know I have.



  1. Denise on October 2, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Besides the jewelry, I see a hot guy and Ali McGraw look-alike. Lol!
    I like “that’s your insides looking at their outsides.” I never thought of it that way, but I will definitely remember this phrase!
    It is so true. So often we are caught unawares when we hear of a couple getting divorced or breaking up, and we think, “Wow, and they seemed so happy!” I think some people are just really good at presenting a good front to the public. But not everything is as it appears.

  2. Margo on October 2, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Words well spoken Diane…your friend is very wise.
    Denise, she DOES look like Ali McGraw…this pic is straight out of LOVE STORY!

  3. brenda on October 2, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Diane, Even your BLOGS are interesting…

  4. brenda on October 2, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    The electricity just blinked…back to my response.
    The story above and Diane’s from church reminds me of what happened to me and one of my best friends (SINCE CHILDHOOD)…My first husband, one of my best friends also, and I were together for 30 years…we raised two great kids…built and started a church…we had the house with the garage, stay-at-home mom…etc…After I was divorced about 8 years, I returned to my home state/town…where my best friend still lived. She was twice-divorced and looking diligently for Mr. Right. I DID not want to ever ever marry again…she was appalled…Well…I met someone and married pretty quickly…she was in shock…why not her? (During this time, I was engaged and had several marriage proposals from others…) Sadly, my dear wonderful, beautiful friend died a couple of years ago (before she was 60)…never having met that true love. I am now divorced and have decided that I was right in the beginning-I should have stayed single. I think that I am a good wife…I am a good teacher…I can’t be both at once…and there are so few good men out there…I miss that friend…I wish she could have felt whole ALONE…

  5. Diane Chamberlain on October 3, 2008 at 2:22 am

    That’s sad, Brenda. I hope your friend was happier than you think (your insides were looking at her outside, you know. . . ).

  6. Denise on October 3, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Brenda, my cousin is in her mid-40’s, attractive, smart, self-confident and self-sufficient. She always wanted to meet the proverbial Mr. Right but hasn’t to date.
    I have no doubt that she feels whole and happy. Would a Mr. Right make her life somehow feel more complete? I have no idea, and neither does she. But the key is that she has never sat around waiting for him to appear; she made life happen without a man.
    Maybe the same was true of your friend. I sure hope so!

  7. brenda on October 3, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    My friend was ill a long time-emotional, etc…I am glad your friend, Denise, is whole…
    I am having a fine time getting back into the groove of MYSELF…I like who I am…even at my age…

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