(re)Seeing Stretch Marks As Beauty...
Treatment, Prevention, Cure...
When I've searched online for the term 'stretch marks', most of what has come up has been how to prevent them, how to treat them, how to get rid of them - creams, potions, promises. You'd think millions of women and men have some kind of skin disease and that it's highly contagious.
What's That About?
Why is there such an overwhelmingly negative view about stretch marks? Why are they often seen as unseemly, unsightly, something that needs to be hidden, gotten rid of; something to be ashamed of. Why is that the general message portrayed?
In a way, the above questions are rhetorical when you submerge them within an industry that makes billions off our insecurities, billions off the constant suggestion that we're not good enough, that our bodies aren't good enough. Oh and here's a cure, here's a treatment, here's how you can make it go away. We love you. Take care.
Rejecting the Status Quo: Seeing Stretch Marks as Beautiful...
If the power of suggestion has been such that, over time, some of us (including myself) have learnt to see our stretch marks as problematic, as shameful, then can there be a different power of suggestion that, over time, swings the pendulum the other way?
Can we start to suggest to ourselves that, actually, there's nothing wrong with our stretch marks, and that there was nothing wrong with them to start with, with us, with our bodies?
Can we begin now?
These aren't really questions at all, because I believe the answer is yes, to all of them. Do you?
I love this picture. It's by an amazing photographer, Saddi Khali. I see it as one of revelation, worship, beauty.
Pro-Stretchmarks: What I'm Doing...
For months, I've been writing and sharing love notes about stretch marks. It's my way of dealing with a world that mostly tells us that when we have stretch marks, we should despise our skins for it. That's what a quick search on Google tells me. That's what numerous articles and videos tell me.
So, I started writing love notes, heart bytes, affirmations.
stretch marks are body nomads.
stretch marks are skin hieroglyphs.
I started writing, re-imagining, excavating, re-truthing.
when the body sleeps, some stretchmarks climb over and away from skin. they fly, dip and soar, leaving eloquent trails in the sky. snaking silver, gold. distracting the moon. distracting the moon.
...returning just before eyes open.
The more I write, the more I see.
Changing the Lingo...one utterance at a time...
I found the above image in a forum and I love it! Had to share.
Can you imagine if 'stretch marks' were called tiger stripes instead, if that was the norm? Imagine if every time you typed the term 'stretch marks' into Google, 'tiger stripes' is what came up?! Now, that would be something! Did I hear someone say parallel universe, hmm? :-)
Try this: Start saying 'tiger stripes' every time you wanna say stretch marks or every time you think it. Or use a different word, a different positive word. Try it for a week or three. You could also say it for someone else you know that has stretch marks: friend, family. One of the ladies I sent love notes to called hers 'stretch tattoos'.
(there is nothing inherently wrong with the word 'stretch marks'. It's just a word. But it's the association, the shame, the embarrassment some of us have been taught to attach to it.)
The Script: the old - the (re)newed...
I believe the script can be rewritten about what lots of us have been mis-told about our stretch marks. Yes. there are treatments - creams and such, but another way, another treatment so-to-speak, is to start looking at our stretch marks differently, learning/growing to accept and love them as beautiful and sacred --- the more I write about them, the more I believe that they are; truly are.
If we can start to see our stretch marks in a different light, what other parts of our bodies can we start to see differently and learn to celebrate/appreciate?
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