This blog has been up and running for over two weeks now and I could never have guessed how much it would have changed me. I’ve realized since March or so that I wasn’t alone, but my outlook on the female body – on my own body – has completely and utterly changed since July 5th. I’ve seen so many stretchmarks over the past weeks that it is the norm to me now. I see them as beautiful. And I don’t mean I see the beauty in them – cause I was always able to see that to a degree – but I see the marks themselves, specifically, as beautiful.
Growing up I always hated my body. Likely I would not have admitted it because I knew was “wrong” to think I was fat, but I could not stop comparing myelf to all the thin girls with taut tummies and thin thighs. I never was overweight, but I also wasn’t terrifically toned. Oh, but the numbers… I somehow had this idea in my head that 125 pounds was The Right Weight. And so when I hit that at 12 years old, 5’2″ tall, and then continued growing, I felt sick to my stomach by the time the scale read 160 pounds when my 5’9″ body graduated high school. Looking back, I realize that’s a totally acceptable weight for my frame (and I’d kill to be there now! But I won’t give up my white chocolate M&Ms and herein lies the true problem, no?) but at the time, I was completely crushed. I worked sound for my high school’s show choir and I’d sit there and watch the girls with their beautifully thin arms do “jazz hands” yet, when I tried to replicate it in the bathroom mirror (HA yes, now you know I dance in the bathroom for myself – you know you do it, too!!!), I saw giant flabby marshmellows bigger than my head. Funny thing: looking at old pictures recently I discovered that my own arms were thin and beautiful back then! Why couldn’t I see it? Even though I struggled against hating my body, even though I told myself over and over again, “I’m not fat!” I felt I was. It makes me grieve for what I had back then, and it breaks my hear to know the pain that girl once felt.
I have no pictures of my unscarred tummy and I wish I had because that memory has been washed from my mind now. All I can see is this loose, striped flab. I just wish I could have a realistic glimpse of what I really looked like back then.
But now that I’ve got this site, honestly for the first time ever I am feeling less and less shame about my body! I no longer feel like I have to hide my ugly tummy from my family! I’m far from wearing a bikini, but that is more due to my own feelings of nakedness, rather than from shame.
I was talking to a friend about this site and mentioned letting my 4 year old daughter see it. My friend joked that I shouldn’t scare her about pregnancy yet, but I really believe that if these images are there in her brain now – even just subconsiously as she walks through the room when I have the site up – if these images are there, maybe, just maybe, she will have a better idea of what “normal” is. Maybe it won’t be so painful to her to look in a mirror. Perhaps she will have a better idea of what she really looks like. I want both of my children to know what women, and people in general, truly look like. I want them to know normal.
Anyway, it’s late and I’ve rambled on for long enough. Thank you to each and every woman who has participated or left a comment or passed on the link or even just been touched by it. I feel like we are coming together to create this amazing thing, let’s push it forward so everyone can benefit!
My own pictures (you can see my current belly up at the top of this site or on the “Who I Am” page)…
4 Weeks pregnant with #2. I took this photo totally for myself, never expected to share it with even my own husband, let alone the internet. I had completely forgotten about this until recently and since it’s not longer shameful to me, here it is. Even still, the shorts are carefully obscuring the fat flap.
28 weeks. Laying on my back always seemed to help the fat fall into the right places, so I took a shot of my belly button popped halfway out. It never did fully pop, and I think my son was right underneath it in this picture.