How I Decided to Get Over My Stretch Marks and Start Wearing Shorts
Hello, world. My name is Carlie, and I’ve recently decided not to hide from you anymore.
When I weighed 135 pounds, I wanted desperately to be thinner. When I stepped on the scale and saw I was 140 pounds, I prayed it was water weight. At 150 pounds, I did whatever I could to lose weight. I did Nutrisystem, then joined Weight Watchers, then did the P90X program. At 160 pounds, I decided to pay over $1,000 to join Slimgenics. I joined an elite gym and paid almost $200 a month to take high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes there. I saw both Western and Eastern doctors. Now, at 180 pounds, I run five times a week, have seen 10 different doctors, take over 40 supplements a day, and avoid all gluten, processed sugar, dairy, and meat.
When I went to my sixth doctor last summer, I was diagnosed with a condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Woo hoo! Finally, an answer to my problems! A nodule was discovered on my thyroid and I started taking medication. Welp, I gained 10 pounds in a week on my new medication. Then I saw a different doctor, and a different one, and a different one. I now see two doctors simultaneously, one Eastern and one Western, as well as a nutritionist. I have been diagnosed with numerous conditions: Hashimoto’s, candida overgrowth, Epstein Barr Virus, hormone and testosterone deficiencies, vitamin deficiencies, my list kinda goes on and on.
Doctors are still trying to figure out just what in the heck is causing all this weight gain. My most recent anomaly was when I woke up one day to a slew of big fat purple-red stretch marks all over my upper thighs. All it took was one night’s sleep, and I woke up with quite a surprise. I’ve tried creams, ointments, prescriptions, and have even looked into plastic surgery to get rid of these suckers.
Point is, I’ve been steadily gaining weight for a couple years now, and NOTHING WORKS. It doesn’t matter how clean I eat or how much I exercise, this weight ain’t going anywhere. And I haven’t been able to accept that.
As an elementary school teacher, it is my job to show my students how insanely amazing they are all. Seriously. Haven’t met a kid yet who is not fantastic. It’s not necessarily in my job description to directly teach students to love their bodies, but I certainly pray they all do. But, how can I really want this for my students, and not practice what I preach? Children are vulnerable and impressionable. All of them deserve the best. I am committed to NEVER telling them some of the things I was told as a child about my learning abilities, popularity (a giant lack thereof), or my weight. It is my duty to show children how great they are, thus teaching them to love themselves and be so very proud of all that they do. But I’ve been a giant hypocrite. I wouldn’t even go to my friend’s bridal shower because I was too humiliated to walk out my door looking the way I do. And this is stopping now.
I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve cried myself to sleep over this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve compared myself to others. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like I had to explain my medical conditions to every person I meet, especially males, so they won’t judge me. I have wasted about five years of my life obsessing over this. And I’m so tired.
The other day, my father (who was very well intentioned), told me I should not be wasting my time worrying about guys and being so hopelessly single while I look the way I do. He said we all know how shallow guys can be, and why would I want to go through the hurt of people rejecting me because I don’t look the way they would prefer me to look? Well, I’ll tell you why. I want to have kids one day. I also want to live to be an old, wrinkly, irrational, crazy cat lady. My body changing over the course of my life is inevitable. Why on EARTH would I want to meet someone when I was back down to 135 pounds who would not want to date me if I got up to the 180 pounds that I am now? My weight will always fluctuate, that much is quite clear to me. I’ve worked so hard to love myself the way I am that I don’t want to include anyone in my life who can’t appreciate and respect me for all that I am, at whatever weight I happen to be.
I met a friend for lunch today, and she had the cutest little shorts on. I gave up on wearing shorts when the stretch marks came around a few months ago. I. Just. Can’t. Wear. Shorts. Or bathing suits. Or skirts. I then said to myself, I wish I could wear shorts.
Why the fudge would I not be able to wear shorts???? Because people might not like my legs? Because I might not like my legs? Screw that. I am SO lucky to have a body that works, and I’m even more fortunate just to have legs!
Ladies: NONE of us deserves to walk around hating ourselves. We are wasting our lives when we do this. I can’t express the joy I feel having finally come to a place where I can love every part of myself, including the purple friends on my legs. I would say to you all, JUST STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP AND LOVE YOURSELF!, but I can’t. It’s taken me years to get to where I am now. And some people might never get there.
I don’t currently own shorts other than exercise ones, but you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be buying some shorts soon. And I’m going to wear them so hard.
My purpose for writing this is to share with everyone that, no matter where you are in your self-love journey, you’ll get there some day. Try to be patient with yourself, because you might love your body one day and hate it the next. Life is a process, but man it’s a great one.
You’ve got this.
Carlie Snyder is a 24-year-old first grade teacher from Denver, Colorado. She just completed her Master’s degree program in Special Education. She is an avid follower of all things HelloGiggles, and feels truly honored to have a piece published by them. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, running, binge-watching TV shows, and cuddling with her cats.