Aug 18, 2020
Written by
Talmesha Keonna
Photographed by
Talmesha Keonna

started growing love for my stretch marks in the year 2014,

a couple of years after giving birth to my son.

My journey got off to a pretty rocky start. I had no sources of inspiration and no clue how to even begin. However, since then, many things have changed. Everywhere I turn I’m seeing stretch marks. 

Stretch marks have favorable mentions in songs.

They get glitter sprinkled on them in the name of art and empowerment. They even have movements created in celebration for their very existence. It’s safe to say that the representation of real bodies is shaking up the world in the best way possible.

Yet, the desire to hide them still lingers on for many. 

If this is you, then these tips are for you!
Honestly, I get it. There are years of unrealistic beauty standards that need to be destroyed. They have taught us to view stretch marks as the one thing that could “ruin” our physical beauty. The idea that stretch marks can be beautiful and sexy is still a relatively new sentiment but it is 100% true!

Allow me to help you see this realization. Throughout the years of learning to build my confidence, I've discovered multiple practices. The following tips will help you shift your perspective, celebrate, and normalize the beautiful marks on your body. Let's begin!

  1. Be willing to cultivate a loving relationship with your stretch marks. It’s important to start here because love can only flourish where it is wanted. It works like any other relationship in life. I don’t think any of us have witnessed a thriving one-sided relationship. Only you can start this journey on a solid foundation and it is as simple as you wanting love to live within each mark.
  1. Let yourself (and your stretch marks) know that you are committed to working on accepting them wholeheartedly. Then allow this commitment to drive you into action. You will be more motivated to find different ways of embracing them once you’ve officially announced your dedication to them. You can do this by writing it out and/or verbally announcing it to yourself in the mirror. Better yet, make a video to document the day. It will be something nice to look back at later on in your journey.
  1. Give your stretch marks an alternative name to help. I’ve found that the moment I declared my stretch marks as Tiger Stripes I instantly felt more willing to accept them. By breaking up with the term stretch marks I got rid of my negative thought pattern. I no longer associated them with stretch mark removal creams which ultimately made me think about the lack thereof on models. I would start to think of tigers and how fierce and powerful they are. So, choose words that don’t remind you of your current thoughts but instead spark your empowerment. 
  1. Practice shifting your perspective. The most common and most effective way is to express your thoughts about your tiger stripes in a manner that allows you to view them in a positive light. For example, I use to be quick to say, “I wish I was lucky enough to not get stretch marks from pregnancy.” Then, I eventually learned to say things like, “I am lucky enough to have these marks because my baby grew as he should’ve.” It’s true and more meaningful. It helped me connect to their purpose in turn making them beautiful to me. I know you’re probably thinking, “but what if mine isn’t pregnancy related?” This tip is still valid no matter the cause of your stretch marks. They are a symbol of growth. Instead of attaching that growth to the physical growth of your body, try attaching them to what you’ve overcome since the time they first appeared. This will make it easier to love because they will represent your story and not just a mark you were taught not to want. 
  1. Look at them often to promote normalization. Spend more time in the mirror, take pictures of them, even consider turning them into glitter art that you can put on your phone as wallpaper. The point is to get rid of the shock factor and accept them as a part of your beauty. Trust me, after thousands of photos in celebration of my tiger stripes I couldn’t and don’t want to imagine myself without them. 
  1. Ask yourself the hard questions by starting with the most basic question, “why don’t I love my stretch marks?” List your reasons and be sure to explain why. You’ll want to continue to explain why until you’ve exhausted all possible thoughts. Be like the little kid who always asks why no matter what is being said. This will make you aware of the underlying issue(s) that needs to be addressed.
  1. Create an intimate session for your stretch marks that you do routinely. By making a conscious effort to show physical love to your stretch marks helps deepen the bond you have with them. These sessions can look like mindful massages where you hydrate them with your favorite oil, or spoken affirmations while you trace your finger over where they adorn your body. Intimacy is key to keeping you excited about the love you are creating. Make it fun or make it sexy, but most importantly make it true to you and you can’t go wrong.
  1. Keep it realistic. Know that this love will not grow overnight. Take your time and have patience, but continue to work on the relationship. Remember that not every day will be easy but each day will be noted as a part of your story. Every moment is important in making you who you are. 

The process of self-love reveals everything you’ve been keeping tucked away. It may sound scary but it’s a beautiful growth experience that you won’t regret. I encourage you to use the tips I’ve shared to jumpstart your journey. If you want more tips and guidance I’d love to support you along the way. I am set to release my Body Love Guide in early September where I breakdown the above tips, plus many more into individual practices. Simply connect with me on Instagram @talmeshak


Talmesha Keonna

Self love Photoshoot

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