I recently started following the #NormalizeNormalBodies hashtag on Instagram, and it's been life-changing. Every post where a woman shares her belly rolls, jiggle, and dimply skin makes me feel better about my body, knowing I'm not alone. Social media, with its Photoshop, perfectly posed angles, and lighting, tricks you into thinking women look flawless, and they don't!
This recent post from Suzi Curtis caught my eye, and I just had to share it. She's a body-positive advocate, a disordered-eating survivor, and she told POPSUGAR that she's excited to bring more awareness to body positivity, and specifically in this case, to stretch marks.
She shared that her stretch marks started at a fairly young age, around the age of 12. She said she was always a chubby kid, and when she hit puberty, she gained weight significantly and quickly. "I had big stretch marks on my hips and breasts, and at school in the locker rooms, I would get hassled by other girls because of it — they would tease me and say I looked like a zebra or that I was in a fight with a cat," Suzi shared. Kids can be so cruel!
She went on to say that at age 16, she was sent to a prestigious boarding school in Sydney, and there was a lot of pressure to look pretty, be skinny, and be popular. "I was none of those things," Suzi said. She came from a low-income family and definitely couldn't keep up with what the other girls had.
"With the pressure of this, I developed anorexia with bulimic tendencies. I would eat half a banana a day, I would purge if I ate more, and I exercised like crazy," Suzi shared. With the shock to her body and the drastic weight loss, she developed more stretch marks; on her arms, back, and more on her belly. "I looked like I had been through a fight with a lion," Suzi shared.
As she got older, she fell in love and gained weight again, this time weighing 130 kilograms (about 287 pounds), which stretched her skin again and added more stretch marks.
Finally, after years of torturing her body, Suzi now has a great relationship with food, exercise, and all the parts of her body women generally don't like. She said, "I see them as my battle scars, but also as reminders of how far I've come in my journey, that even though my body has been through hell and back, it still stands strong. It keeps going through everything I have and will still put it through. Those little stretch marks all tell stories of how resilient, how powerful, and how determined I am to be at peace with my body, and to love my body, no matter what it looks like."