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 safe. Like 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. I’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.
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.
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. I 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?
And it is only when you find that completeness that you begin to shine. I 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?
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 🙂
We 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!
Earrings: Pearl Cluster Earrings (similar)
Eyeshadow: Morphe Brushes
Eye Glitter: NYX face and body glitter