I have plenty of stretch marks. They are deepest on the tops of my thighs and my hips, running like dark lighting bolts across my skin. They are lighter on my arms, and on the top of my stomach.
For some time, I was deeply concerned about being rid of them. I looked for cures everywhere I could; I bought plenty of creams promising to reverse my body, my skin back to its pre-weight gain era; I massaged the places where they ran deepest, reading that ‘stimulating’ the skin would help them lighten. I drank water. I changed my diet, and started hitting the gym frequently, with all my might. Yet still, they remained. They remain. They lay, heavy and deep on my thighs and near my breasts and on my stomach, wispy and light on my arms. For some time, I was deeply concerned about being rid of them; that time has come to pass. I am fond of them, in the way one is fond of a family member that you many not necessarily get along with most of the time. I think they tell a story about my past.
For so many years I was so wrapped up in my mind that my body was going neglected. Mental illness does that; it keeps you so trapped in your misery inside that the external world becomes something distant. Of course, I still fed it when it was hungry and watered it when it felt parched, but it wasn’t anything more but a vessel; I stopped going to workout, I barely drank any water, and I never followed through on skin care routines. It was bad when I first started to struggle with depression; and contrary to what is told about antidepressants, it got even worse when I upped my dosages of Zoloft. My stretch marks tell the story of my train wreck experience with my first ever SSRI, a medication that wholly did not work for me and made me feel like a zombie, but one I stuck with for an entire year thinking that one day it would really kick in.
I threw on bulky clothes, long shirts and large jackets and black pants to cover myself up while I stayed closed off in my head. I remember one day coming back, body and mind as one, and I was shocked at the modifications that had happened when I wasn’t paying attention. The disastrous year on my first antidepressant had left its mark; my breathing felt limited the cellulite on my legs had not only worsened but spread up to my back, my love handles doubled, my chest size increased, and of course my friends the stretch marks ran deep and unchallenged on my skin—this was a body I barely recognized, so ravaged by misuse and depression. I quit the meds cold turkey. After the withdrawals, I went to therapy religiously. I found a new cocktail of medications that make me feel like a functioning person with up and down emotions, instead of a walking husk. I still fall into the same old coping mechanisms of overeating when I’m feeling too many emotions at once. There is a strange disconnect happening to me, at least one this society would consider strange, I guess—I have never been as heavy as I am right now in my entire life. And I’ve never been healthier.
Weight fluctuates here and there, depending on my mood and the season and the time of the month. One week I have more cellulite, the next I have a bit less. I’m far from disgusted with my body after years and years and years of being in turmoil. It’s the only one I’ll ever have. I may as well be used to it, whether at 150 pounds or 300 pounds. I’d like to lose some weight for practical reasons, such as keeping away Diabetes and fitting into my clothes, but for the first time, losing weight is not a top priority for me, and its never been more freeing. I am able to focus on things that I like to do, without worrying what bypassers or strangers will think of my body. i can see myself living beyond my twenties, should the universe permit it. I’m on a long, slippery, up and down road to recovering completely. I have plenty of stretch marks, and they tell a story, of where I’ve been.