Our bodies are a special thing no matter the size, shape, or imperfections on them. It took me a while to realize this with my own body, but once I did, I never looked back. I love how people have recently embraced every aspect of their bodies, and companies have begun to promote models that aren't airbrushed.

This was not the case almost 12 years ago when I got my first stretch marks.

When I was in third grade, I had unknown allergic reactions that caused my body to break out in hives from head to toe. This happened a couple times so badly that I needed steroids to reduce the swelling. I don't know if you've ever had hives, but they are typically small bumps, almost like a bug bite, that itch. The hives that I had were not small by any means. They were large, raised bumps that covered my every part of my body.

Where one hive stopped, another one started.

The hives eventually subsided after a couple of weeks; however, the marks left are permanent. These marks that were left behind were stretch marks. They covered and still cover my butt, upper thighs, and upper calves.

As a third grader, I saw the stretch marks and hated everything about them. No one else at my age had stretch marks. I felt out of place.

At the same time, I was a dancer and continued to dance until I graduated high school. I never realized that dance could contribute to the appearance of my stretch marks until I saw my dancer friend also had them on her thighs. This made me feel slightly better knowing I wasn't the only young person with them.

I used to worry about how my legs and thighs would look in shorts. Because of this, I would be cautious of the pants I wore and who stood behind me. I would constantly put onPalmer's lotion.

I used to hate my stretch marks.

I've come to learn that stretch marks are a part of life. No matter how somebody gets them, he/she has a story to tell. Whether that be childbirth, weight fluctuation, or playing a sport.

Don't be self-conscious to have stretch marks. Be proud. I love my stretch marks now because they are all mine.

For me, they demonstrate my years of dance and my escaping hives cause by a possibly life-threatening allergy.

I love when people refer to stretch marks as tiger stripes because that is exactly what they are. I'm proud to wear mine.