Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Ellie’s Story – Explore a New Focus

by Leila R. Ferrari

Ellie worked as an aesthetician (skin care) person in a salon as we interviewed for my book project. Over the years, she switched from hair care to skin care and felt she could contribute more to the community that way. She researched and answered clients’ questions about her field and attempted to present a complete picture. This story is in Ellie’s own words.

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At first when you go through a divorce, you feel that it’s almost the end of the world. Then you find there’s light at the end of the tunnel and life goes on. Things change for you. Probably my kids are better off now. I’ve taken them to various places, trying to get them into hobbies and various things. They didn’t understand how that was supposed to help them relax. Later, my older child told me it did help a lot to form some hobbies. It works if you really go for it because it takes focus to complete an activity, so it can take their minds off things that might bother them. During the time they engaged in the same activities, or played games together after dinner, I know it helped a lot. They talked and got things off their chest that way.

I’ve been at this salon four years already. It’s amazing how fast the time goes. I think working here, and working out, doing things with the kids, all these things help me focus on the present, and forget past hurts. I’ve been taking my vitamins and minerals too, hopefully that works as well. It’s said to be beneficial along with all the rest. I’m not really interested in becoming a distributor of any kind, although the product I like and think is good. The research appears to solidly support it. I’m busy enough now with the rest of my life and the only customers I really want are my skin care customers.

The divorce was a mutual decision. The relationship just wasn’t working, although custody still became its own issue for a time. Eventually it just worked out regarding the kids. Now they’re quite grown. I think back and wonder what the big deal was about the divorce. We still see each other at various weddings and funerals, as we both know the same people. It’s like going to school with someone, having a longtime friend, mutual people in your lives, and then there’s a change.

Ellie's story - focus image

It’s way in the back of my mind, what was I so concerned about, once the divorce happened and was over with. It was just in the beginning days that it was really difficult. Then it fades. Different things happen in life. I now have grandchildren and other people and happenings to focus on. I know that some people feel that they need a husband. I’ve seen this happen with some friends. That must be horrible, to live that way, to think that way. It’s important to move on. It would be really difficult to have kids and maintain the kind of attitude that you have to have a husband, even in the face of divorce. It would give someone a really hard time especially when it comes to meeting people. How do you make a wise choice if you feel that kind of pressure? I’m glad that was not me. People sometimes get into a bind because they get into circumstances, feel stuck, and then can’t back out. Or, they don’t see that they can make a change just the same. It’s important to believe that you can always make a choice.

Reading is a good thing to do. It doesn’t have to be a certain type of book, either. Just reading for pure enjoyment can relieve stress, relieve the mind. Cooking is another therapeutic activity for many people. Baking is a fun thing as well. You just have to have someone to share the baking with, so you don’t eat it all! I don’t go to church weekly, although I go at least occasionally. I especially go with my grandkids, and visit different churches with friends. I don’t want to stuff church down my grandkids’ throats, yet it does give them a foundation. I brought my kids up in the Catholic Church, and they have attended a variety of churches during their lives. When they grow up, they do things their own way. I would never interfere in those choices. I have nine grandkids, so you can just imagine how busy holidays are. Even birthdays and just ordinary weekends are busy, when a couple of them stay over with me. We stay active together.

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Exploration connects to resilience as it gives the brain a chance to check out possibilities and take a fresh look at things. In her own life, Ellie’s belief in the possibility of concretely choosing a different path paved the way for solving various problems of career and family. Gratefulness, for health and family in Ellie’s case, is another aspect of and contributor to the development of resilience in one’s personal and professional life.


About the Author

As a psychology major, educator, and later a family therapist, Leila R. Ferrari has a keen interest in how individuals face difficulties and solve problems. She obtained permission among acquaintances in the business and professional world, co-workers, administrators, and personal graduate school friends at the time, to interview and tape-record their personal stories. The topics covered overcoming obstacles, surviving and thriving beyond traumatic events, as well as solving everyday challenges. This is one of those stories.

*Names and other pertinent details in this story were changed to protect privacy. 

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