My stretch marks are numerous.
I remember the first time I noticed them, when I was around ten, and I had no idea what that little purple scar was or where it came from. By the time I was 18 I was so familiar with them that I didn’t even blink when a new one would appear. I watched my stomach and arms get painted by the wounds I inflicted with every binge fest I “enjoyed”.
There were times they bothered me, but I just told myself there was nothing I could do. I tried losing the weight, tried every diet under the sun. I faltered, I fell and I gave up. At times I would promise myself the weight would be lost one day, another failing just meant I would try again another time. Other times I would cry out that it was impossible! There was no way I would lose the weight!
Pain followed those marring marks. Pain in my back, pain in my knees. An ache in an ankle I lied and attributed with bad shoes combined with past injury. Belly aches from the food my body didn’t want to process, migraines from the sugar addictions.
Exhaustion mingled with the pain… and the scars… and depression followed.
Don’t ask me how I woke up amidst what I thought was a losing war. Don’t try and find the key that finally lifted me high enough to rally my strength. I don’t know how I began to gain the ground back. I don’t know why this time it worked. It just did. I woke up. I gathered my strength. I fought and I fought hard. I cried from the pain, I stumbled and took hits, but I kept getting back up. I continue to get back up.
Perhaps it was my fellow warriors, fighting beside me against their own demons, that helped rally me. Or perhaps it was my armor, built up of my family, my support system. Maybe it was the long lost promises I had made to my child self.
I am fighting in a war against an image of myself I accepted long ago. Some battles I win, some battles I don’t, but I keep getting back up. The fat is losing. It melts off me as I work on making myself healthy instead of skinny. I am gaining ground. I will win.
And those stretch marks? Those horrifying, marring streaks across my skin? They are beautiful. As each one shrivels to a white lightning strike, I rejoice. These are my pride, my evidence of my labor.
My stretch marks are my battle scars and they are beautiful.