On each of my hips and along the sides of my breasts, I have a series of discolored lines. They’re thin, but noticeable (though I rarely see them anymore). When I do realize they’re still there — in the same spots they’ve been for years — I’m neither bothered nor frustrated. I bought a cream to “fix” them last year on a whim, but never used it because it just wasn’t a priority. If I run my fingers down them, I can feel a slight groove that deepens along the widest parts of me. The more that I stare at them, the more I remember how much stress they used to bring me.
At 14-years-old, I went from a 118 lb. size 0 to a 140 lb. size 8/10 in just nine months. Nine months. Think of the last time you gained enough weight to constitute a size jump, and imagine that a few times over. My hips suddenly grew and my boobs increased two cup sizes, but I didn’t grow an inch height-wise. The lines were white so, due to my extreme resemblance to the title character in Powder, they barely showed up on my flesh for years. I ignored them, they ignored me; we had a good relationship, my stretch marks and I.
Then, however, I moved to California and gained a bit of skin pigmentation for the first time even, which was all well and lovely — except my stretch marks suddenly became apparent, and I finally understood why these frustrate so many people to the extent that they do.
Suddenly, rather than ignoring them the way I had for so long, I could see their true extent. They ran down around my hips like ski trails, criss-crossing and getting deeper in some spots. The ones on my breasts were even worse: they had somehow darkened. I would run my fingers down them, cursing myself for not wearing enough sunscreen and realizing why saying, “Nobody will notice them!” was not nearly as valid of an argument as I once thought while trying to convince my friends that wearing a bra during sex was stupid (okay, I actually still think it’s really stupid, stretch marks and all). They were what every Maderma commercial called “unsightly.” My hips and breasts — two of my most distinctive “womanly” parts — were unseeable. I felt shitty and ashamed and afraid to take my clothes off for sex with the lights on (something I had previously actually looked forward to).
Looking back, I wish I had been more like this girl:
Remember Stella Booncroft, the blogger who didn’t give a shit what people thought of her stomach or stretch marks or fat? Yeah, I wish I had been like her; I likely would’ve been so much happier. I also would’ve actually worn shorts and a bathing suit at some point (neither of which I even bothered to try until I was 20). Then again, so many people have similar issues with theirs — but why?