When COVID hit, I gained plenty of weight… and plenty of stretch marks, too.
For a long time, I looked at my stretch marks with disgust – especially after I lost weight. How could I let myself go? I asked myself on a regular basis. How will I ever be able to think of embracing my stretch marks? How can I ever be beautiful again when I have stretch marks? I feared the answer and hid my body.
But now, I’m here to say: dear stretch marks, you show that I went through a lot, and I love you.
I’m here to proudly announce: they are not reminders of failure, but proof of survival.
Stretch marks are beautiful, and we should learn to love them. Here’s why.
Stretch marks are exactly what they sound like – marks from gaining OR losing weight quickly, not just when you gain it.
I gained a lot of weight very quickly – I was eating edibles all the time and making peanut butter rice krispie treats every night to cope with the stress. On top of that, I wasn’t really moving – work had me locked to my chair.
So, I got stretch marks.
Then I lost weight super quickly (hi, eating disorder!), which didn’t help a thing, and my little secrets became even more prominent.
I regularly googled “how to make stretch marks go away” because I was desperate to get rid of these ugly lines.
They felt like foreign strangers to me. I have been poked and prodded my whole life thanks to cystic fibrosis, but I’ve never had stretch marks. Little dots from PICC lines and two lines from a double hernia surgery on my pelvis, but never anything large and obvious and indicative of something “shameful.”
And again, these scars aren’t little things – they’re on the insides and tops of my thighs, on my stomach, on my biceps, on my chest, even on the backs of my knees.
I wondered how long it would take for my stretch marks to gtfo and just fade away.
Six-to-12 months was what google told me, and I looked forward to the day they would be gone entirely, not bright red.
My stretch marks are now engrained in my skin, little rivers running along my limbs and standing out on the loose skin. They aren’t invisible; they aren’t gone. They’re there, still obvious when you look closely. And yes, I’m aware most people do not look closely, but still. They’re obvious to me.
But one day, I got tired of hating my stretch marks – why not find the beauty in them instead?
After all, it takes so much energy to hate things. And you’re always going to be stuck in your own body, so why not learn to embrace it and its unique markings? Doesn’t embracing your stretch marks for what they stand for sound healthier – not easier, for sure, but better – than obsessing over how to get rid of them?
My favorite animal is the tiger – fierce, beautiful, and not afraid to fuck with you if you fuck with one first.
That’s why I’m ending this stretch marks love letter on the term: because tiger stripes indicate that your lines make you fierce and brave, not cowardly or disappointing. Your tiger stripes are just a part of you and not some battle scars.
Your tiger stripes are beautiful. You are beautiful. And so am I.
Do you embrace your “flaws?” How have you learned to find your “flaws” beautiful? Tell us your secrets in the comments!