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No matter how we get stretch marks—through weight fluctuations, breast development, building muscle quickly or pregnancy—the resounding response to them within our culture is, “Ew.”
A face of utter disgust goes with it. What’s interesting is that women are the worst offenders in judgment. We have stretch marks and cellulite, but we turn our nose up at others for the same thing that we are struggling with… and therein lies the answer to why—the struggle. We hate that we are burned with this scarlet letter for the entirety of our lives and that hate turns inward and onto those who possess the same mark.
They remind us of our scars.
What was once a beautiful in times past is now a reminder of “losing control.” Because today we’re taught it’s not acceptable to have stretch marks without overeating, indulgence, laziness or giving up. These are the words that people use to describe these marks, thus etching the pain deep within us.
Stretch marks are those little white streaks that appear when your body grows fast enough to break the elastic fibers under the skin’s surface—and no shape or size is excluded from possessing them.
Insecurity surrounds them. Hate protrudes from them and fear lies beneath them. In reality, they are filled with beauty that we’re too blind to see.
So, what’s beautiful about stretch marks? I didn’t learn this until I got married so I have my husband to thank for healing and teaching me my worth.
They make the most beautiful curves
I used to be so caught up in the fact that I had stretch marks that I truly hated my body, but my husband on the other hand loves every curve. I used to have a panic attack founded on insecurity when he would see them, but he doesn’t see them. He just sees me.
I learned a lesson in this. I could never have the hips, butt and breasts that I do without these little white lines that express growth, maturity and womanhood. My body is a canvas on display of this evolution to beauty and femininity.
They reveal our strength
It’s interesting that the thing most people find repulsive now represents something new to me. Strength. You see, stretch marks are a sign of bending and not being able to break. There is so much power within our bodies that it won’t allow the skin to unfold. Yes, it will give way and move—but it will never break. We then are unbreakable. I look at the small, white lines with a respect and gratitude of sorts.
I learned another lesson in this realization. Stretch marks remind me that no matter who or what I may face, I am stronger. I may bend, but then I’ll come right back, more resilient and courageous. Scars are a sign that we’ve been there, experienced a shift or trauma of some sort and now are healed from that experience.
Imperfection makes perfect
We’re no longer bound to the idea that we have to be perfect in every way. Finally, people are breaking the mold and being honest about their true colors. We see celebs without makeup, wearing bikinis with no six-pack and countless women who we’ve perceived as perfect proving they’re not!
Think about Jenny McCarthy, Tyra Banks and Halle Barry’s bodies and how much everyone envies them. They have stretch marks. They have spoken publicly about it and are not ashamed, because they know they’re beautiful (with or without them.)
Once we understand how beautiful we are inside and out, nothing can take it away from us…even those pesky little lines.
So, if you’ve been ashamed, hiding or insecure about the marks you bare (and how you got them is irrelevant), begin to see the beauty of who you are, admire your shape and strength, then you’ll find the perfect you. My stretch marks remind me of my growth as a woman, where I have been and who I have become. Remind me again, why am I supposed to be ashamed?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Susannah VanWinkle
Volunteer Editor: Melissa Horton/ Editor:Renee Picard
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons