It's no surprise that stretch marks have been looked upon as something we should hide or feel ashamed about. Just like many other characteristics that make us human, they are deemed as flaws we must correct in order to be beautiful. We are expected to find ways to minimize their appearance on our bellies, thighs, arms, or anywhere else they've shown up. We are told we should detest them because they are another sign we haven't achieved perfection. This is completely wrong.
As a woman with stretch marks on her thighs and underarms, I believed these were ugly and horrible for the longest time. But as I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate them as stripes that show I'm older, mature, and have been living a full life. They are my lines, my stripes, my marks and a part of me forever.
I applaud those who proudly embrace their stretch marks, as well as those who've taken it upon themselves to help others accept their lines. We must continue to love ourselves, express body positivity, and embrace our tiger stripes. We've earned them by being human, and that should never be a bad thing. So, if you're struggling to accept your lines or simply wish to know why they are not flaws, here are five reasons to love them.
1. Because they show that you are capable of surviving change.
Having stretch marks means that you have the ability to transform yourself, which is quite extraordinary. Maybe your body changed quickly during puberty. Maybe you gained or lost weight during your lifetime. Or, maybe you had children. Whatever the reason may be, your body has endured all of your life’s living and is still here in one piece. You have, countless times, metamorphosed into a new you – and your stretch marks are proof of that.
2. Because they remind you that you are strong.
If you can survive change, that makes you strong. You have withstood reshaping into a new you and continued living. Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” places the idea of adaptation on a pedestal for being one of the main reasons for successfully existing. Your stretch marks are physical indicators that you have victoriously adapted.
3. Because they remind you that you don’t have to fit into society’s ideal beauty image.
The ideal beauty mold for women (and men) has far too long stayed intact; we don’t have to be porcelain dolls or chiseled Greek statues. We should accept our bodies as they are and strive to be better for ourselves, instead of hiding our so-called flaws. Stretch marks are a part of life and are not negative features that make us imperfect. However, they are reminders that what may be deemed “perfect” need not apply to us.
4. Because they are unique accents to your body.
It is quite impossible for anyone else to have the exact same stretch marks as you. They are almost like fingerprints: something uniquely yours which accent your body. They make you even more special and distinct from the rest of the population. No, they are not scars or flaws, but beautiful features that are remarkably you.
5. Because they unite us.
Although all of our stretch marks are one-of-a-kind, almost all women have them. They remind us that we are human – not perfect, but linked with other imperfect, incredible women. As my friend exclaimed, “most women have them and it’s like ‘hell yeah, we’re women and we’re beautiful.’” Can I get an amen?