Stretch marks? YES, please!

Recently with a friend of mine we took a closer look at our bodies. Around 40, while still attractive, we have a collection of stretch marks, moles and scars. We take pride in certain, are indifferent to some, while others we hide in shame.

The stretch marks create sophisticated lines of patterns on our thighs, buttocks and breasts. They look like tattoos. Scars from life. On our bodies and souls alike. Scars of fear, of betrayal, of old hurts. Scars of dying and being reborn. We carry them around, hiding them from the eyes of both strangers and close ones – in shame and fear of being hurt again.

They are what they are

I look at mine, rediscovering them with new tenderness. Tracing them gently with my fingertips. This one is here to protect love. This one secures my belonging. This one makes sure I get my needs met. With a newly found love and awe, I honour them, I cherish them. And I recognize they belong to my past, they do not need to run my life any longer. Nor do I need to feel ashamed of them. They are what they are. So I dare to strip naked more and more, unabashedly recognizing my beauty – not unscathed, but battered and scarred. Like kintsugi, Japanese philosophy treating breakage and repair as part of a history of an object, that adds value to it.

“Leave all my wrinkles, don’t retouch even one. It took me a life to earn them” – said Anna Magnani, an Italian actress during a photo shoot.

Aga Rzewuska-Paca