“Stretch Marks” Fiction. Based on a True Relationship with my Body.

“Writing for me is always about truth, and I didn’t want to tell my truth”—Taura Stinson

“Stretch Marks”

Fiction. Based on a True Relationship with my Body.

by K.E.A

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

I pat my stomach, watching it jiggle. Did I gain more weight? I haven’t weighed myself in a while. My thighs are larger than they used to be. The leggings fit tighter than before. My upper arms feel less muscular. The breakouts are still happening. I can trace the stretch marks on my skin. Having a body is so much fun.

My self-esteem with my physical appearance is usually okay. I prefer to wear leggings in summer. I feel better in long sleeves or layers that cover me. They make me feel safe. Plus, I don’t have to shave. Or at least an excuse not to.

I don’t mind going to the pool in a swimsuit, but I prefer to go when no one is there and sometimes I don’t always shave my legs when I go.

I don’t mind wearing tank tops or short sleeves, or even shorts when the mood suites me, but my skin is pasty white and might blind someone. I feel like my legs are oddly shaped and just don’t look at my toenails. I was not blessed with nice-looking feet. The hair on my arms is dark thanks to a Sicilian heritage even though I’m a pale redhead. Oh, and it comes back almost as soon as I shave it.

My skin has always been an issue. Pimples even into adulthood, popping up across my face and pretty much everywhere else. Nothing works. I’ve tried. It also doesn’t help that I look like I’m sixteen. I also go between a pale color to a deep red flush at any given time, especially if I’m embarrassed or laughing. It gets worse the more people call attention to it. I never have to worry about wearing rouge. I burn easy and usually host a swath of freckles along my skin. There’s also this strange flesh bhindi on my forehead I inherited from my mother; I don’t know what else to call it.

Not a huge fan of my teeth since they aren’t as bright as everyone else’s, but they are straight. Thanks, braces. I’ll just have a retainer forever. I’m always self-conscious about my breath and always have gum handy.

I don’t always like how I look in my clothes. Leggings are solid, but t-shirts feel frumpy. Flowy is flattering and sweaters are usually a safe bet. If it clings too much, I try not to draw attention to my midsection. I’m always making sure I don’t smell.

My best features would be my eyes and my hair. If I got a dollar for every time someone complimented my hair, I would have been able to pay for college. It’s always set me apart, but some days I think about cutting it all off. It’s thick and frizzes, untamable by any hair stretchy. I’ve lost many a faithful scrunchy to it. During the summertime, it’s unbearable. When it does behave, it curls into copper waves.

I’m not terribly keen on looking at my reflection in the mirror beyond my morning ritual. I’ve taken only one selfie in my life, and I prefer to be behind the camera. There are moments when I like the way I look, when I think “I do look pretty today.” Some days I feel cute in my outfit or happy with how I look in my underwear even if it’s just for my benefit. I can feel the acceptance and contentment seeping through my skin, glowing from within.

But it’s a struggle to see my beauty in myself. Often things around me change my perspective of myself. Undoing years of conditioned standards of beauty and appearance doesn’t happen in a day. Peeling back the layers of lies leads to more layers, revealing how deep it has sunk in. Beauty is subject so I won’t destroy myself to fit into a mold that is constantly changing. I’m not fluid like water; I’m flesh and bones. At my core, I know my worth, but sometimes I need to be reminded.

We become blind to ourselves, buried underneath the weight of the expectations and opinions of others. Occasionally the dirt needs to be knocked off to reveal the truth underneath.

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