Dear Stretch Marks
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Health and Wellness

Dear Stretch Marks

I know you are probably here to stay, so let's get a few things straight.

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Dear Stretch Marks
Madi Breunig

Dear Stretch Marks,

The first time I laid eyes on you, I cried. A lot. Tears of disbelief, confusion, frustration, and even embarrassment. After taking to Google for advice, I immediately ran to the store to find something to erase you from my life. I quickly grabbed the bottle of lotion (you know, the one with the silhouette of a pregnant woman on it— as if they are the only ones who should have stretch marks) and raced home to try to prevent the inevitable. I was too late, you were here to stay.

So, I had gained a bit of weight. I was getting older— I finally had BOOBS, and of course my hips were filling out, too. I actually sort of liked that my body was finally maturing. I was still healthy. So why were these translucent and purple squiggles appearing, as if my body were swelling to the point of ripping? I panicked. I skipped meals, I worked out incessantly, and even though I lost a lot of the weight that caused you in the first place, you remained on my body, like a roadmap of where I had once been. I wore you as a mark of shame, constantly checking my clothes to ensure that you were concealed. But I'm tired of hiding. I’m changing my ways, because I refuse to let a few marks keep me from living my life.

From now on, you won’t stop me from doing anything. I’ll wear that pair of shorts because they show off my long legs. I’ll wear the swimsuit I like because I don’t want to add to my collection of weird tan lines. I’ll wear that crop top because, damnit, it makes me feel good. Stretch marks aren't a sign of weakness or disease. You are not a flaw: you are just a scar, just like any other freckle or birthmark. I’m fit and strong, but most importantly I’m healthy, and I’m not about to let you keep me from being happy.

I can’t be sure of too much regarding my future, but I know that you are likely to be alongside me for quite awhile. And if someone along the way has a problem with that, they can move right along, because I am a woman who comes with scars, bumps, bruises, and yup, a tangle of stretch marks.

Please don’t feel neglected now that I won’t be paying much attention to you. If you feel like growing, great. If you decide to fade, go ahead. No matter what shape you end up taking, you will always be part of who I am, and you know what? You're beautiful. I’m sure your numbers will grow over the years, but until then, know that you are loved, and don’t worry, my cellulite will keep you company.

Love,

Your body of residence

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