It was something someone said to me a few weeks ago, about going on holiday and how they had bought an all covering item of clothing to wear on the beach so that stretch marks could not be seen. It made me think that those stretch marks are badges of honour….caused by the stretching of skin as the miracle of new life grew within. I wonder why women see them as ugly and are, therefore, embarassed.
Moving on from badges of honour to badges of identity, there are birth marks, moles, scars caused by accidents and carelessness, all these are exterior marks that we can identify with but perhaps don’t want others to see. But why do we feel shame? The dark mark positioned on the face, boastingly referred to as a “beauty spot” makes a mole more acceptable? Freckles are seen as “cute” on little children, but on adults they are viewed as unattractive? Even as sun damage. (I like my freckles, even if they are a tad smudgy in my old age)
So what about the marks within, those that no one can see, caused by emotional damage? Abuse, words, lies, cruelty, rejection, bullying? We can hide those so very easily by pretending, publicly, they don’t exist. The psychologist or wiser person may notice by your actual behaviour or responses to adversity, but most people you know won’t know they are there, just as you cover up the external scars.
Why feel shame? We need to be transparent so why is it okay to express our opinions, be they religious, political or social? The only thing one should be ashamed of is our own wrong behaviour surely? But by confessing it and intending not to go there again, we are forgiven and can move on, so why hide our “war” wounds? We are meant to be a more tolerant people, less judgemental, more accepting of people in their various walks, with their various styles of tattered baggage, or physical differences.
It makes me sad that still, today, people will judge you from their perception of what perfection is, failing to be that person, in any little way makes you the victim of their disdain. Surely that is the perpetrators downfall, not yours?
Early in my twenties I developed a skin disease called psoriasis, following a trauma. I was pretty much covered in little red, scaly spots. It was embarassing, people stared and I would explain if able, but the one place that was a real bone of contention was the public swimming pool, which I loved to mess about in. However, the getting out and jumping back in showed these patches up in a spectacular way, crimson rings of disgusting looking “could it be contagious” marks. It was one way of getting the pool to myself, but then it was a boring place to be. I learnt not to like going swimming in public swimming pools. I still have psoriasis, and people still stare at the scaly patches on my elbows, but I don’t cover up anymore…I am who I am, warts and all. I just wish other’s would not feel so intimidated by the stares and jeers too. Don’t be the victim to the bullies or ignorant.
- Posted in: My journey