Perception is an interesting thing. Particularly when it comes to body image: How I’ve seen myself for the last three years, for example, turns out to be completely different than the image other people have been observing. That’s not all that uncommon. In fact, it’s probably rather normal. I know that I critique myself much harder than anybody else would critique me. But, I also know that the perception one has of oneself can be incredibly strong; strong enough that I believed it to be the only truth.
Until recently, I would not have even considered showing my belly area to the light of day; not even for one second. Like many women who have carried a child, the skin in that particular area has undergone some serious changes; changes that I had viewed as absolute unsightly destruction. In fact, I would cringe anyone happened to catch sight of what was underneath my shirt.
Viewing myself in a confident and positive way happened only just recently. It was a process that took quite a long time. I had to dismantle the image I had built of myself to allow the new idea some time and space to grow and replace it. There were several outside factors to all this, but what it came down to, I realized, is that wearing anything–be it a bold outfit or a patchwork of scars–with confidence is going to make all the difference for the image I maintain of myself, and also how others perceive me. Frankly, I never (and when I say ‘never’, I truly mean it) thought I would be wearing an outfit that brazenly shows off my imperfections, let alone posting the photos thereof to a public space online. Yet, here we are.
I know that a lot of men and women alike struggle with body image in some ways or others. And a lot of us suffer silently. For me, it took a long time to believe that the changes undergone by my body were not things to be dismayed or disturbed by; rather, they show a part of my story: The reality that I carried a child, and the metaphor of the scars that were left as a remnant of the events of my past. In both of these instances, I would not be the woman I am today without them. So, like in any situation that depends on choice of attitude, I’ll choose to wear the scars with pride, confidence, and a smile. And I’ll continue to feel comfortable in my own skin. After all, everyone has scars; some are just more visible than others.