Yes, I Have Stretch Marks!

If I type in the word "stretch marks" into Google, I get some interested suggested results. The first being "stretch mark removal" then "stretch mark cream" and so forth. So why is the first suggestion, stretch mark removal? Why is there a stigma around stretch marks that make people want them to disappear? I have never understood the perception that stretch marks are bad. I have them, so does that mean that my skin is now unattractive? I started noticing stretch marks on my upper thigh and hips when I was around fifteen. My body was changing and developing, but there was always this stigma around them that made it wrong to have them. I appreciate some people don't want to have them, but I see no difference to a mole or freckle? Our bodies have different features, beautiful in fact, that make us all unique. For years, stretch marks have been a topic to hide. Not just from women either. Men have stretch marks too.

It's clear to see that social media plays such a huge part in this. The world of Instagram and Facebook is fake. We are believed to see perfect looking people, because at the end of the day, we as humans have the urge to be liked by one another. So we create this world that is fake, unlike our reality. This consists of photo editing and photoshopping to create this illusion that we are "perfect" to others. Have you ever seen a curvy girl on social media show off her stretch marks? No? Most likely because these have been edited out. So we are led to believe that these marks are "abnormal" and shouldn't be shown.

I get so annoyed at celebrities who create this feeling that stretch marks are bad and publicly address this. And again, I ask, why are they so bad? Because I see no wrong in them? For International Women's Day I stepped out of my comfort zone. I felt it was time where I needed to speak out and gain the courage to do so. I have always been about empowering and picking people up and what better way to do this than on International Women's Day. Yes, it made me a little vulnerable to the world, but I didn't care. If you haven't seen it, I chose to show my stretch marks on a video to show that all bodies are beautiful. I hope this video inspired you to feel confident in yourself.

Whether you're tall, small, curvy, thin, athletic, man or women, there is a chance you will have a stretch mark or two - all bodies have to stretch and that's simply what stretch marks are. Bodies change in size and weight all the time and that, to put it simply, is just what our bodies do as we get older and mature.

For those who are anxious about their stretch marks showing, that's okay. Overtime they will fade. People are not normally happy with their "imperfections" so try to hide them. I want to embrace them. It's like when we see someone have a mole of their body, we don't go "oh my god, you have a mole on you", so why the perceptions on stretch marks? Try to be confident and embrace who you are through a positive light.

Tell the story! Each individual mark on your body tells a story, so turn it into a positive one. Do you have stretch marks on your belly from pregnancy? That's a reminder of the beautiful life that you carried and brought into the world. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to carry children, so take that reminder that YOU can tell the story of bringing your child into the world.

Do you have stretch marks on your arms due to muscle gain from exercising? That shows how hard you have been working and the marks are just the reminder what change you have made to achieve your goal.

Do you have marks on your body from comfort eating? Look at it in the sense, that although this might not be a healthy habit, but at least you find yourself happy and a lover of food.

Each person can tell a different story with their marks. It's up to you how you see it, but I like to focus on the positives of my body rather than the negatives. There is no makeup or cream that can truly cover your marks and your insecurities. But, it's your own security and ideology that can help you!

Just remember that these streaks don't make you any less of a person. Do people actually care what you look like? Of course that's my own opinion and everyone is entitled to their own thoughts, but I can't emphasise enough is to just be confident in your own skin. It took my a while to get there and I hope you do too, if you haven't already.

It's a real journey of discovery of self discovery and body positivity and for some people, this can take a long time, but that in itself, is okay! My ideology has always been about empowering and helping others, and that includes you.

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