Scars and Stretch Marks

Preface: So as I write this, I am realizing that this post might be criticized for being about white skin because I am white. I would like to clarify this right now. This post is in no way meant to be discriminatory, and I hope that everyone can (well, actually, hopefully you can’t because you have such awesome confidence) relate to it regardless of skin color or gender or sexuality. This is a very personal post about self-esteem and the suffering that I have experienced by looking down on what I look like. 

Photo by Sarah Sickles

Ever since I was little, I’ve had bumpy skin. Ever since I was little, I’ve picked the bumps on my skin, unable to control the mild satisfaction of squeezing the life out of a tiny puss ball. Ever since I was little, my arms have been covered in scars.

I suffer from Keratosis Pilaris and Hyperpigmentation of the skin. My arms are covered in pink and burgundy scars, reminding me of the shame that I hold for myself on a daily basis. I don’t look like I want to look like. I am not where I want to be in life. I don’t feel as good about myself as I want to, which just leads to me feeling even worse. While I’ve sorted out (sort of) my relationship with my stretch marks (keep reading, it’s coming), my relationship with my arms is different. It affects my outfit everyday. I refuse to wear sleeveless shirts or short sleeves that are shorter than half of my arm, and I wear sweaters and long sleeves whenever I can to hide my arms. It stares me in the face every morning while I choose what to wear. It’s a pretty awful way to start the day, wanting to hide a portion of yourself, and it usually doesn’t get better from there.

Photo by Sarah Sickles

I recently gained 50 pounds (in less than a year. Thanks hormones) and grew some pretty gnarly stretch marks in places I’ve never had them before. Again, this is a daily reminder of my shame, of being overweight, of not looking like I want to. But I’m working to be healthier, to fight back against my nonexistent metabolism (my OB literally said I had the metabolism of a 50 year old man). With swimming and weightlifting and (almost) daily cardio, I think I’ve shrunk a tiny bit. You see, the stretch marks on my tummy are no longer a dark purple; they’re a pretty shade of pink. So right now, for me, these stretch marks are a good thing. They’re a measure of how far I’ve come, even if it’s just a tiny bit. They show my progress, they show my history. I still hate them sometimes, marking my previously unstriped tumtum. But that’s okay.

Pink holds a special place in my heart. And as much as I love Pink, I’ve been really hating it on my body. The point of Pink Things, of this mag, is to reclaim Pink for each individual person and what it means to you. To reestablish the relationship we have with Pink, to change it. For me right now, Pink is about reclaiming the relationship I have with my body. It’s about acceptance and love. It’s about my scarred, stretched skin. It’s about body positivity, mental health, and confidence. Sorry to sound like your basic bitch (which there is no shame in being, by the way. Fuck the haters, I like Taylor Swift too. I’m just using the phrase for effect, which might be another problem I need to work on? That’s for another post), but that’s what Pink Things is all about.

Can you relate? Comment or share this post, or just email or DM me through social media@lolaphalangee. Life is easier when you have a support system, so let’s make one.