Some parts of my body I like more than others. What I like one day may be completely different the next.
My body has undergone some substantial changes over the past five years. My height is pretty much the only constant (I’ve been 5 ft 3 since year 6). My dress size has fluctauted. My weight has been about as predictable as Melbourne weather (if you’ve ever been to Melbourne you’ll understand that joke). My cup size changes weekly.
Today I was lying down on the couch and a part of my body stuck out. I had my legs draped over my boyfriend’s thighs. He was gaming and I was reading crime fiction (obviously). Perhaps the light was particularly strong because this part of my body was staring right at me.
There, in all their glory, were my stretch marks. My tiger stripes.
We usually associate these bad boys with age or post-pregnancy. You don’t necessarily picture budding youth and stretch marks together. But that is my reality, and the reality of many young women I’m sure.
In this moment I was surprised by how I felt. I looked at the stripes that stretch across my legs and thighs and I felt a sense of peace.
I can’t change them. I can’t eliminate them. So I may as well embrace them. And why would I want to get rid of them? They’re a part of me. They contribute to making up my identity. Just like my eyes or my lips do. They are a chapter in the Story of Sophia and without them I wouldn’t be me.
My body’s been through a hell of alot. It’s been bruised by soccer balls. It’s been scraped from falls. It’s been through panic attacks and workouts. It’s been punished by an eating disorder. And still, after all that’s been inflicted on it, it’s survived.
Today I looked down at those stretch marks and I was surprised that I was okay. I didn’t feel self conscious about them for the first time ever. And I’m not ashamed of them. They’re natural. They’re normal. And they’re me.
I’m sharing this with you for two reasons.
- To show young people, particularly women, that stretch marks are normal. They don’t just magically appear after you’ve given birth or when you reach 60. They’re development reminders and they’re completely natural.
- To show you that it’s possible to overcome physical insecurities and embrace parts of your body that you once disliked.
I hope, in sharing this, I’ve helped you feel a little more comfortable in your own skin. Your body deserves your love and attention, not punishment and criticism.