Stop Being Embarrassed By Your Stretch Marks

Photo By Kellsie Kennedy


There they are.  Three thin, pale lines crinkled at the top of my left thigh.  Those are not the only ones, just the ones I see the most.  They wrinkle as a memorial to a couple chubby years of middle school.  I tell myself they look like tiger stripes.


My stretch marks are the only scars that embarrass me.  I have circular scars along my ankles from old mosquito bites and there are crisscrossing lines from the heels I wore to prom my Junior year.  I had a quill, mountains and trees etched into my shoulder and ankles.  I even laugh when I retell how I chipped my front tooth.  Every one of my body’s marks has its own story.


My stretch marks are different.  It has become habit to wear shorts down to my knees.  Every summer I flip through racks of swimsuits with the hope of finding something long enough.  I keep towels wrapped around my waist when the suits are inevitably shorter than I want.


I can not be the only one.  It seems as though there is an unspoken rule that mothers have to stop wearing bikinis.  Men wear shirts with longer sleeves to cover the red squiggles on their triceps.  We are all ashamed, by why should we be?


I ate pasta every day for three years when I decided to stop eating meat.  It is quick and easy enough that a 12-year-old can do it.  As you can imagine my school clothes were stretched until zippers broke.  Nothing fit anymore.  So, I ran.  I ran and cut my carb intake until my clothes hung loosely.  Picture Monica Geller, except my apartment is nowhere near as clean as hers.


Now I have stretch marks just like everyone else who has lost or gained weight quickly.  I imagine these will not be the only ones I acquire in my lifetime.  It hit me recently that maybe I should stop being embarrassed.  I have them, so what?  My stretch marks and yours, are sort of like a trophy.  If the scar on my knee reminds me of that great hiking trip in the Smoky Mountains, why should my stretch marks not tell of the time I worked hard to become healthier?  


We invest so much energy into becoming this ideal version of ourselves.  Maybe if we could redirect our focus to forming into who we really are, we could start feeling more comfortable in our skin, stretched or not.