I’m imagining the eye rolls as I type this sentence, but I’m saying it anyway: I’m not an insecure person.
I am many things, but I’m not insecure. I give all the credit to my mother, she’s always made me feel like I could do anything and that I was perfect the way I was. these days, she even calls me “the Amazing Ali.” she’s the sweetest and I’ve always felt loved, nurtured, supported, and I always knew she was proud of me. or rather, I lived my life to make her (and thus, myself) proud. her expectations weren’t crazy high (mine were higher!) and she always told me she was proud of me.
in terms of body image, even when I was in my early to mid 20s and I looked at the “skinny girls” in magazines, I didn’t want to BE them, I just wanted to be ME, just a better version. I never wanted their exact bodies, because I was taught to love my body, appreciate my curves, and my mother also taught me NEVER to compare myself to others. even with the smallest of things, “oh, Sarah gets to stay up until 9pm!” she would say, “well, you’re not Sarah, are you?”
SO. long story short, I’ve always been pretty secure. except for ONE major insecurity.
I have them. 80% of people on the planet have stretch marks (that’s a fact – Google it!). yet, they still make me feel crazy insecure.
I’m just about 5’8″ and have been this height since I was in high school. in middle school, I went through a major growth spurt when I was in middle school. I grew so quickly, I got stretch marks on my inner thighs and a few around my hips. but those aren’t what make me feel most insecure, since they’re barely noticeable except to me – they’re on the insides of my thighs, so they’re hard to see most of the time, unless I’m sitting cross-legged in shorts. and who cares? people like Chrissy Teigen have made them feel much more ‘normal’!
what I’m MOST insecure about are the ones on my boobs. and I’ve never actually talked about them until now, because I feel so embarrassed by them. they make me feel like that part of my body is ugly.
the summer between 6th grade and 7th grade, I went from no boobs to a C cup. from 7th grade to 8th grade, I was wearing a DD. I remember how devastating it was to look at those purple marks on my boobs. while boys gave me attention and girls always said, “you’re so lucky!” I felt the exact opposite: cursed.
my entire life, they’ve always been what have made me feel less pretty. I’m constantly tugging on shirts to make sure my cleavage is covered. I won’t buy certain shirts if cleavage shows, because it’s too embarrassing. everything has always been crew neck, high-neck, boat neck, etc.
when I was wedding dress shopping, I wouldn’t try on any dresses that showed any sign of my stretch marks.
even when I’m at the OB-GYN and the doctor does a breast exam, I cringe and I’m so uncomfortable, I almost feel anxious, because I’m just so embarrassed by my body.
now, when I’m in a bathing suit, there’s nothing I can really do (unless it’s a high-neck one piece), so I’ve kinda just had to deal with it. and luckily, at my age of 30, they’re getting fainter and fainter with each year, so they’re less noticeable than they were in my teens and early 20s.
the fading stretch marks definitely have helped with my insecurity, but it’s still there. everyday.
also, let me note that Lu has also helped me with that insecurity. when I’m with him physically (you know, HAVING THE SEX) or getting dressed, I don’t give AF. in the beginning, I would dim or turn the lights off, because I was so ashamed. about 2 years into our relationship, I just stopped caring, because he made me so comfortable and well, let’s be honest: guys are guys. (most) guys LOVE boobs, so. I have pretty big boobs, and since my boobs are Lu’s favorite physical part of me (TMI?!), it’s helped me big time with getting over my personal insecurity.
if Lu loves my boobs, why shouldn’t I? his opinion should be the only one I care about, anyway!
but yea, that’s my biggest insecurity. my only insecurity, really. while it was crippling in my teens, I’ve slowly gotten over it as I get older and realize that my body isn’t defined by a few white marks on my boobs. and caring that much about my physical appearance is a bit petty anyway. I’m not defined by my body, I’m defined by my actions and my mind. and I think those two are pretty solid!
so how is pregnancy helping me overcome this insecurity?
the initial excitement immediately wore off, because I started thinking about stretch marks. I was so worried that I was going to get stretch marks on my tummy, that I actually felt a little sad.
think about that for a second.
I just found out I was going to have a baby with the love of my life and I was sad. because of the possibility of getting stretch marks. LOCO.
as my belly expands slowly, I’ve started to feel less and less stressed and worried about stretch marks. what I’ve realized is that what’s happening to my body is far more important than something on the surface (literally.) I’m going to bring a baby into the world!
even if I do get terrible stretch marks on my tummy, I wouldn’t change a thing, because a baby is more important than my physical appearance. this revelation has made me realize just how petty it is that I still care (at 30!) about stretch marks.
I still feel like they’re unsightly, but I don’t think they make me any less beautiful of a person. and I love the way I look naked, isn’t that the most important part? I’m in great shape, I’m happy, fulfilled, and confident with the person I’ve become.
NOW. will I still cover them up in shirts? yes. BUT, will I be embarrassed by them? no. will I worry about people seeing them when I’m in the hospital during labor, delivery & after? HECK NO. will I care about people seeing them while breastfeeding? definitely not.
SO, it’s time to finally get over it!
and besides, as my mom always said, “beauty fades, but your mind lasts longer.” so, I think we could all practice a little less harshness on ourselves and focus on what’s important: being a kind, good person.