My body has a story, and only I get to decide what that story means.

I remember the first time someone noticed my stretch marks. I was in summer camp, and we took a trip to a local lake to swim for the day. Completely innocent, I didn’t think anything of them as I took off my cover-up and got ready to jump into the lake before me. But that ‘innocence’, and years of always being taught to love my body, came barreling down in a brief moment of shock and horror for a fellow camper standing next to me. I can still hear her voice, “*gasp*, oh my god, what happened?!” It took me a minute to apprehend what she was referring to, but I soon realized when she proceeded to point at my shoulder. And it was in that moment, that my innocence turned into insecurity. I ‘had’ to cover up, and hide the ‘flaws’ and marks that scarred me. Yes, I was that girl who would wear long sleeves in 100 degrees weather…not because I wanted to, but because it was safeTiger Stripes | Learning to Accept My Stretch Marks www.pinkcaboodle.comLike I said in my last post, Taking Chances, “Sometimes the things that scare us the most in life, no matter how big or how small, are the things that we must take a chance on.” So for the first time in 15 years, I wore an outfit with my shoulders out, baring one of my greatest insecurities.  Tiger Stripes | Learning to Accept My Stretch Marks www.pinkcaboodle.comI’ve tried doing this before, and failed, left feeling like everyone zeroed in on the stripes that made me a target of shame, unattraction, and unkind words. I would retreat into myself, avoiding eye contact at all cost.
Tiger Stripes | Learning to Accept My Stretch Marks www.pinkcaboodle.com

Somewhere along the line, ‘something’ clicked into place…my confidence! You know that saying, “life is a journey, not a destination”?  It’s so true. The things I’m doing now, the chances that I’m taking, I would’ve never done, one, five, fifteen years ago. I’ve said this before, and it’s even clearer now, gaining confidence and self-esteem does not happen over night. Tiger Stripes | Learning to Accept My Stretch Marks www.pinkcaboodle.com

Just like hurtful experiences can build layer upon layers of doubt and insecurity, experiences of (self) love and acceptance can strip each layer back until there’s nothing left but pride. That takes time, and it’s different for everyone. Tiger Stripes | Learning to Accept My Stretch Marks www.pinkcaboodle.comI came into my ‘time’, this weekend, and I’ve never felt prettier. Not only on the outside, but in the completeness I felt in myself. Does that make sense?Tiger Stripes | Learning to Accept My Stretch Marks www.pinkcaboodle.com

And it is only when you find that completeness that you begin to shine.  Tiger Stripes | Learning to Accept My Stretch Marks www.pinkcaboodle.comI want all of you to shine too! What are your insecurities? What is it that you try to hide and cover? Not just physically, but perhaps mentally or emotionally?
Tiger Stripes | Learning to Accept My Stretch Marks www.pinkcaboodle.com

Whatever ‘it’ is for you, start taking baby steps towards them. Scary, I know. But remember, it’s the chances we take in life that bring us the greatest rewards. We’ll do it together 🙂

Tiger Stripes | Learning to Accept My Stretch Marks www.pinkcaboodle.comWe all have scars. But each mark, line, stretch, bump, or bruise tell the story of who we are. And only we define that story…not the ‘haters’, not the name callers, just you and I.  Now, the very marks that dulled my pride, make me shine the brightest. You see, they didn’t magically disappear. The stretch marks didn’t change….I did. My perspective changed. My love for myself grew. And like the exclamation mark at the end of a sentence, these stretch marks are the outward sign of an emphatic declaration — I am fearfully and wonderfully made!

Tiger Stripes | Learning to Accept My Stretch Marks www.pinkcaboodle.com

Outfit:

Dress: Off the Shoulder Maxi Poplin Dress (Eloquii)

Earrings: Pearl Cluster Earrings (similar)

Eyeshadow: Morphe Brushes

Eye Glitter: NYX face and body glitter

Tiger Stripes | Pinkcaboodle.com

Plus Size Fall Fashion #Eloquii Maxi Dress

PinkCaboodle

Maya is owner of Pink Caboodle, specializing in Fashion and Body Positivity.

50 Comments
  1. First that dress is divine!!
    And I wish that body positivity was taught from a young age and things like this didn’t happen. Could you imagine a world were you hadn’t felt the need to cover up? That’s the world I hope we are all working towards.

    1. Thank you! I wish so too, but I think things are slowly beginning to change. I was chatting with my mom earlier about how there’s starting to be more representation of all body types in tv commercials, beautiful women both big and small. It makes me happy to see that ☺️

  2. You are so beautiful!! Such an inspiration, I am terribly insecure and try to hide every flaw. As I get older I am learning to accept myself and learn that I am not flawed, but fearfully and wonderfully made!

    1. Jena, thanks so much! I completely understand, but again, it’s a journey, and it comes with understanding who you are and how you see yourself 🙂 You are fearfully and wonderfully made!!!

  3. Maya, believe it or not, men have many of the same insecurities that women have. You are inspiring me. Keep up the good work.

  4. You are absolutely stunning! I grew up super skinny and could basically eat anything without gaining a pound, so when I had my son and couldn’t lose the weight and had stretch marks, I was incredibly insecure. My family was always ragging on us to stay thin and such, so it was difficult for me to accept myself. I’m finally with someone who loves me for who I am and makes ME feel beautiful, which helped with the process of loving myself and accepting myself as I am

    1. Wow thanks so much for sharing your experience. It’s a beautiful thing isn’t when you learn to love yourself, and have the love of your family as well 🙂

  5. Gorgeous dress! I also have stretch marks. I try to love them. Some days are better than others. If I were rich, I’d get rid of them I’m sure, but alas, I have to accept them.

  6. A beautiful post and great title too! I say good for you, you are HOT and absolutely true that each line is a story and another notch on the experience pole!

  7. This is beautiful and you’re gorgeous girl! I have “tiger stripes” on my stomach from giving birth to two babies, and at first I was so self-conscious about it but now I’ve learned to embrace it. It makes me beautiful and it is part of who I am. Great reminder!

  8. The way I’ve looked at my stretch marks is that I earned those carrying my babies. I’m still working on loving myself fully. But hey, I’m getting there!

  9. Love your look, gorgeous! That dress is perfect for you. I’ve worked hard to accept a lot of my physical imperfections. Everything tells a story and I’d much rather have plenty to share 🙂

  10. This dress looks fantastic on you. I think it is amazing you are finally getting comfortable in your own skin. You are beautiful.

  11. Loving that dress. Never be afraid to show your stripes. There are so many women who have them but cover them up. I know I am covered in them some from before I got pregnant and some (ten times worse) after I had my son.

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