Those who wear scars look at them every day — sometimes they define us, other times they tell our “war” stories. Mine spoke to me, whispering awful things. They told me I was damaged merchandise. They told me I was worthless. They told me I didn't deserve love. And for a long time, I believed them.
I couldn't decide which was worse: having people ask about them, or feeling their silent gaze on me as I walked by. There's always a different way of interacting with them.
"Excuse me," said the stranger next to me at the pool. "Can I ask how you got those?"
"Whoa, what happened to your skin? It looks like fire!" my college roommate commented. "Can I touch them?"
"I know how you must feel," my cousin's wife assured me. "I got mine from my three pregnancies, and I hate them so much. They're awful."
When it came to intimate situations, I was just as worried. What would my partners think of me? Would they want to see me again once they'd seen my body? And so, when romantic endeavors fell flat or didn't follow through, my stretch marks told me it was because of them. The scars always had an answer. They always came up with a reason that explained why I was more broken, why I didn't deserve any of it.