Taking a quick break from the Whole Foods Ladder to write about a sudden thought that hit me last week. Sometimes I get so excited or moved by writing something that I just need to drop everything and go with the flow.
I love my stretch marks.
It’s an odd statement, I know. And for the men out there – I’m not sure what you think about stretch marks, both when women talk about them and if you have your own. Let me know in the comments. Either way, I love my stretch marks, and that might be unusual. And I’m trying to figure out why. It’s not the kind of love where I jump up and down and get excited and rave all about it (that’s the kind of love I have for sweet potatoes and bumblebees). But I’m actually quite fond of them.
Perhaps it’s a mark of how far I’ve come on the path of self-love. I’ve written so much on this subject, but it is probably the most powerful medicine for healing that I’ve found to date. And as my body continues to heal, my stretch marks, like my feelings about them, transformed from an angry red to a faded, translucent, ethereal silver. They catch the light at different parts of the day and gleam in their healing. They remind me of how far I’ve come.
But more than accepting these marks on my body, I’m proud of them. I’m proud of the struggles, obstacles, frustrations, fears, hurt, and pain that I’ve transcended, because on the other end I’ve found so much love, light, joy and thankfulness. Most of the pain was more emotional than physical, more psychological damage than the ravages on my body. I used to feel bad that I was so young, not even altered by the rite of motherhood, and carried these marks on my body. I’d try and console myself with the idea that at least I was getting thinner as I got older, rather than the opposite. But I let someone else’s message convince me that I had spent the “best years of my life” being at my physical worst.
The best year of your life is every year that you make it so.
That’s all a bunch of bullsh-t. My philosophy on moving through life is that the best year of your life is every year that you make it so. Many people have remarked that I seem older and therefore wiser than my chronological age. I’d rather have this kind of wisdom in my twenties, because already it’s given me a more youthful and optimistic spirit than I had in my teens. It is something that I can carry with me always into motherhood, menopause, and a face covered in wrinkles. If you have joy and gratitude and self-love, aging is something you can enjoy rather than dread. And the person you find to grow old with will only reinforce your love for yourself, rather than your doubts about your appearance.
I love these marks because to me, they carry the reminder that I am whole. I am a brave and active participant in life rather than a timid soul kept on the sidelines by self-loathing. I am well. I am a joyful person and I live a joyful life. They’re a natural tattoo of my gratitude, my resilience, my brightness in the world. They’re marks of love. If you have them, it’s only greater reason to love yourself.