When you consider the vast number of men and women alike who have stretch marks, it's a little baffling that they've been stigmatized for so long. Thankfully, the taboo associated with baring stretch marks has begun to wear off, as people take to social media to join the #loveyourlines movement and share photos of stretch marks in really self accepting ways. It's wonderful that so many people are finally moving beyond feelings of discontent, shame, and often hate toward their stretch marks. That stigma, born of the notion that stretch marks are somehow uncharacteristic of the human experience is simply misconceived, since under so many sleeves, waistbands, skirts, and slacks, there are tucked an array of entirely unique #stretchies, stripes, and lines. What's more intriguing is how society gravitates toward things that resemble stretch marks, while still shunning the very marks themselves.
That's right, there's a strange, rather hypocritical dance that's been taking place between the patterns we adore, the food we eat, the way we design our interior spaces, the natural phenomenons we respect, and the lines on our skin that so many people struggle to see as something other than unsightly. So, for those of you who still struggle to accept that stretch marks are more than just common (they're perfectly beautiful, and entirely embraceable — and people get them for many, many reasons over the course of a lifetime), perhaps it's time for a quick trip down stretch mark similarity lane. Yep, this is a land of stripes, wiggles, wrinkles, and dapples. And for the ladies and gentlemen who already have love for their stretch marks, and the #stretchies of those around them, may this be a little hat tip to you and your clarity.
1. Tiger Stripes And Zebra Stripes
Tiger stripes have long been a term of endearment for stretch marks, and no wonder, with their entirely individual patterns, their gently sloping line weight, and biological legacy. Of course, zebra stripes share a lot of similar qualities, and definitely have that same stretch mark vibe.
Delicate, lovely, and full of exquisite patterns and creases that not only assist them in their ability to fly, but protect them from predators, butterflies are yet another example of something we love that looks like stretch marks.
Flower petals, leaves, stems, and roots all sport veins, tendrils, and color variations that resemble stretch marks. They're an incredible natural reminder that often, the small, unique details of a living organism are what make it stand out — and often what cause the beholder to find it beautiful.
Peppermint is refreshing, sweet, and unmistakably vibrant. The traditional swirl and inherent divots in a peppermint candy look quite a bit like friendly little stretchies, don't they?
5. Cotton Candy
Delicate wisps of spun sugar tangle in soft waves of color, just like stretch marks dappling the tummy of a new mama.
6. Baked Goods
From sweet rolls to pie, baked goods in all of their sweet, layered goodness, often mimic the appearance of stretch marks. Soft dough moves similarly to our skin, making some of our favorite treats a quiet tribute to the way our bodies deal with changes in shape.
Whether or not you're a breakfast person, you likely have at least some respect for the pancake. And if you look closely enough, the crisp sections of pancake dough form delicate fractal designs, not unlike the way stretch marks send tendrils outward across our skin.
A fierce and lovely comparison can be made between stretch marks and lightning. How many lightning strikes light up the sky of your thigh?
Clouds are some of the most incredible natural phenomenons on our planet. Always changing, traveling, amassing, and releasing moisture — they are so much more a part of our earthly story than we usually give them credit for. And look! Can you see them? Right there, in the sky — stretch marks!
10. Riverbeds And Deltas
Seen from above, our world is a vast array of dry lands and waterways, mingling and stretching out toward the sea. Hmm, something about those lines, though... they look a little familiar, don't they?
11. Canyons And Mesas
Speaking of divots, stretches, and dimples, how could we neglect to touch on this planet's famed canyons and mesas? Natural wonders like these are just giant versions of what happens on our very skin during the formation of stretch marks. Sure, that's a dramatization, but how do you think your skin cells would describe their structural shift?
12. Tropical Fish
Look at those adorable lines! Highly coveted, and sought out almost entirely based on their appearance, many tropical fish sport lovely linear patterns, that (you guessed it) look quite a bit like stretch marks.
We've long been drawn to the visual versatility and functionality of knit textiles. They breath, they bend, the stretch, and they look really unique while doing so. Of course, so do our bodies — and stretch marks.
Delicate, lovely, intricate. What if these were words we used to describe stretch marks, as well as lace?
Last, but not least, one of our most precious resources, water, in its constant state of motion, regularly resembles stretch marks.
Despite what we've been coerced into thinking by the beauty industry (and those who tend to fear and find disgust with things that are not homogeneous), stretch marks, wrinkles, dimples, and divots do not make us less. They tell our story, and as most of us learn at a very young age, the stories most endearing are those that veer off course, that take us to places unexpected, that boast imperfection and lessons learned.
Take inspiration from the world around you and the things that you love, and treat your body with respect — stretch marks are just another way our bodies are woven into the delicate fabric that visually portrays the story of our lives.
Images: samidan19/Instagram; Getty Images(4); barelyfitz, armydre2008, seelensturm (3), oregondot, melburnian, mwf2005, feralarts, grand_canyon_nps, laszlo-photo, jaie22 , 58754750@N08, 79818573@N04/Flickr