The last and final time I ever wore a bikini was in the second grade with my family, before I started growing and my body started stretching. I grew more than an inch a year after the fourth grade all the way to the sixth or seventh grade. I finally stopped getting taller in the seventh grade but, I gained and lost pounds along the way.
Now, I’m 18 years old and I am at a steady weight but I have yet to try a bikini on because how could I? I have permanent tiger stripes on my hips and the back of my knees to remind me how fast I grew and gained weight. I also have them on my chest and near my shoulders, the key places that will be exposed when I put on a bikini or wear an off the shoulder top. I started noticing them in middle school and tried using various stretch mark and scar crèmes along with olive oils and home remedies for year or two. None of them seemed to work and I have finally accepted that I just cannot wear a bikini. I will always wear a cover up or bit more clothes to hide my scars whenever I go to the beach.
Photo taken by Levi Saunders
As silly as that sounds since a lot of women have stretch marks, especially when they get pregnant. However, I was not pregnant I just grew fast and I hated that so much because I now have stretch marks that seem to never go away. This played the biggest role in my insecurities for the longest time because I thought my body was not perfect enough. Along with my love handles which always stick out when I wear jeans or skirts. I hated the sight of these.
As we begin the New Year I have decided to create a goal for myself, which is to simply love every mark, mole and blemish on my body. I’m 18 and reaching the age of having responsibilities and making “adult” decisions. I need to learn to accept and embrace flaws especially those on my body. I thought to myself, if I can’t love my own body then who will? How will I let anyone like my physical self if I didn’t?
Photo taken by Jeremy Bishop
Growing up I only had one person that said it was okay to have stretch marks, and that was my mother. As an anxious preteen and teen, I didn’t care too much about her words. I guess the lesson of accepting how you look was skipped in health class. The biggest problem with young girls is that they don’t hear “you are perfect the way you are” enough unless it’s in a pop song. Even then, how can one believe that if music videos show perfect dancing girls with the right amount of weight and clear skin?
Media is changing and getting a lot more diverse now but, I still can’t seem to put on a bikini. It’s not easy taking your insecurities and throwing it out the window. I just cannot simply face my fears of letting the world see what I have on my body. Although, I have begun my baby steps of putting on a bikini because at the end of the day, why should anyone care? What should matter is whether or not I’m enjoying being me.
I’m writing this article because I want to let the world know about the biggest insecurity I’m facing right now. I also want to let everyone know that I am fighting to overcome it. Everyone is not supposed to be the same, we have to be different or else we would live in a boring world. My advice to anyone dealing with insecurities about how they look, remember this as long as you are happy and healthy no one else’s opinions should matter, you make the world a better place by being the best that you can be.
Photo Taken by Kaci Baum
Main article photo taken by Jon Tyson