I know we have been taught that staring is rude and should be avoided at all cost but I am willing to make an argument for this cause. I am a starer. I am fascinated by many things. I have always been that way. If I ever meet you, I will talk to you and I will want to know everything about you.
My tummy gets stared at a lot.
Why? The obvious answer is because I shamelessly put it out there but my other theory is because we just don’t see the beautiful variety of bodies that exist so when we see it we just can’t help it. If we saw them regularly it would be no big deal (which would be wonderful) but we just don’t. It used to make me self conscious, nervous, and upset when someone would just stare but today my view is a little different.
Today I will present my argument for staring and sharing your amazing self with the world.
I present exhibit A)
I like to take advantage of my fiance and ask him to take my picture so it’s not all selfies and mirrors on my social media and blog. It’s a gorgeous day out and he’d rather be out by the pool. I have his attention for about 5 minutes so he just snaps away. Not waiting for me to pose or my flash to charge. The kids are excited because the poolside tv is on so they’re fixated on what I believe is an infomercial. In short, no one is even paying attention to me. Lol. Proof positive that mommy is a weirdo but hey we love her anyway. They’ve seen me do all this so many times they don’t even care, let alone worry about what I look like to others or think it’s odd.
Yet, I see all the other people around the pool trying not to pay attention to us, let alone what my body looks like in a bikini but it’s just so odd that they have to keep glancing. What is so odd?? A woman like me being happy and silly in a bikini with a belly full of stretchmarks and scars. Carrying on as if nothing is out of the ordinary. It’s almost confusing. My family carries on as if they don’t notice what they notice and that’s because they just don’t. I’m just being me, again. That’s it.
Having kids and working with them has given me a regular and refreshing dose of unfiltered truth. Their questions and curiosities helped me to see a much larger and loving picture which we continuously ban them from exploring.
When my nephew was 4 and I was pregnant with my son he saw my freshly stretched crimson skin.
<insert imaginary picture here because i was too self conscious at the time to take any pictures of myself/>
He just stared at them and a developed a really upset look on his face. Then he said “Did you get scratched by the cat Aunty Ana!?!” Bless his heart, he thought I was hurt. He wasn’t disgusted, he was concerned. I was a little hurt when I saw the look on his face at first but thankful that we let him process his thoughts instead of covering up and redirecting to another conversation. We did a brief explanation of stretchmarks and he seemed satisfied to know I wasn’t hurt but otherwise probably had no clue about all the other stuff we said. He didn’t seem to care much either.
Then a different nephew came to visit and we all were getting ready to go to the beach.
He came out at looked at my now 7 year old postpartum body and in a typical 10 year old fashion he said “wooah, what happened to your stomach?!” which earned him a scolding and possibly a slap upside the head from abuela for being rude. I explained the concept of tact and then explained my pregnancies and surgeries. I actually don’t even think he listened the entire time and just said a distracted “ok” by the time I was done. Apparently my story wasn’t fascinating enough for a 10 year old boy. He was probably secretly hoping for an animal attack story.
Either way, my tummy has been described in many ways by kids. Soft, squishy, stripey, jelly, funny, etc but never once as ugly, scary, or disgusting. If I trust anyone’s opinion it’s a kid’s.
Facts are Facts. When I googled stretch marks I was not surprised what the auto fill “suggested” but still saddened that this is what we have turned to. Why? Because the fact is about 90% of women will get stretch marks sometime after their sixth or seventh month of pregnancy, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. How many women is that? Well a quick and lazy google of “how many moms are there in the world” gave me 43.5 million. So what is 90% of that? One more duper duper lazy google of “what is 90 percent of 43.5 million” gave me 39,150,000!! That’s just the number of pregnancies. That number doesn’t even include other natural occurring reasons for men and women to develop stretchmarks and scars like: living.
and marketing is marketing..
I love me some Instagram and have met quite a few incredible people that way. It is also very very very easy to see how we are ended up going in the wrong direction and why my above google search has come up the way it has. People don’t want facts, that’s boring. They want to know what’s “trending”. So imagine my non surprise when this happened when I searched #stretchmarks…
Now, does anyone remember the story of The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss? If you have 12 minutes and want to check out the full length movie you can check it out on YouTube: The Sneetches Short Movie. If you don’t have time for that here’s the wiki version: Sneetches with stars discriminate against and shun those without. An entrepreneur named Sylvester McMonkey McBean (calling himself the Fix-It-Up Chappie) appears and offers the Sneetches without stars the chance to get them with his Star-On machine, for three dollars.
This story is aimed to talk about discrimination and to an extent I believe that applies here but more so because of the ingenuity of the entrepreneur Sylvester McMonkey McBean and his promise to bring happiness for just $3 dollars. He used the fact that these sneetches were made to feel bad about their differences and cleverly sold them a product that would only create a larger problem. That man was a, albeit unethical, marketing genius. He left that beach LOADED with cash and exclaiming that “you can’t teach a sneetch!” By the end all the Sneetches end up broke, confused, and sad. His quick fix didn’t work because he didn’t address the issue he just took advantage of it. Once they realized that they didn’t know who was who that ish about stars didn’t matter. It never did. They had created their own problem the moment they determined one group was superior to another based on a naturally occurring and perfectly normal mark on their tummies.
Is this story beginning to sound familiar to you?
Stop covering up and hiding. The more we share our humanness the more we can appreciate our humanity. I don’t mean walk around in your bathing suit because you might be happier in the snow. I mean be yourself and share it because in the end this has nothing to do with our skin, it is about us. Our spirit and passions being shut down by fear and waiting to be freed by love. Let us stare at one another in fascination and be ready to share ourselves back until all we see when we look at one another as souls with a story to tell. Unique and wonderful in its own way and that we have the pleasure of crossing on our own journey.
We are all born with our own set of DNA. You’re special! Get.Over.It.
I am super duper excited to have 4 official RSVPs!! My goal is 20 so I am well on my way but I can always use your help.
If you are in the Houston area or have friends and family that might be interested in joining me then you can easily let them know by sharing via FB here: Learn To Love The Skin You’re In Luncheon. Help get the word out! 🙂