Guest Post by Natasha Metzler
I’ve heard it countless times. “Women, don’t be ashamed of those stretch marks. They mean that you’re powerful and glorious. Your body gave birth. You should be proud.”
And every time I hang my head in shame.
These stretch marks? I have them and I have never given birth to a baby.
That time they formed? When my skin was stretched taunt and tiny wounds formed and my body stitched itself back together? That wasn’t the baby I longed for, it was cysts.
In those moments, everything in me screams, “You’re not beautiful or glorious or powerful.” All I am is a syndrome that forms cysts instead of babies.
Have you ever noticed that lies run deep and dig into your heart and it can almost feel impossible to tear them out?
But truth sets us free. It always has and always will. My stretch marks are battle wounds just as surely as the mom beside me. Oh, they’re different, of course. The ones that grace her belly are more like a badge of honor and mine are more like scars.
When I was a little girl, I fell and cut open my chin on a patch of ice. It was a whole big rigmarole because my parents weren’t home and the hospital wouldn’t accept me without a signed permission slip from them. This, of course, was back in the days before cell phones and the like. My babysitters patched me up the best they could and the cut eventually started to heal.
Then it got itchy. I constantly picked at the scab and Mom would say, “If you do that, it will scar…”
One day my father broke in, “Oh let her be. Scars aren’t anything to be ashamed of; they just give you a story to tell.”
These scars are part of my story. The evidence of my battle. The one I fought through, am fighting through, and survived.
And to those, like me, who carry scars instead of badges of honor, I say to you:
You are beautiful.