My experiences with my stretch marks are long and confusing. I started to notice the tiger stripes spread across my butt at the age of 12 when all my other major puberty changes were taking place. The confusion came from believing that only pregnant and overweight people had stretch marks (I was neither) and I had never seen anyone with them on the ass or knees. I remember feeling disgusted and as if the adult body I was just growing into was ruined. Who would find me attractive now with these lines on my ass? I was very keen on getting them removed. At first, I believed that they would go away as I got older but they only solidified. When they began to appearing on the sides of my knees, I thought I might die.
I began googling ways to get rid of stretch marks and most of the suggestions were only preventative and meant for pregnant women. I was very disappointed when none of these sites offered me a concrete solution. They suggested using bio-oil which conveniently, I had in my home. This didn’t work. I tried coconut oil and shea butter which made my skin soft and subtle and may have helped prevent any further stretch marks but ultimately this did not work. Once, at the height of my embarrassment, I used my mom’s foundation to cover the marks along my knees when wearing shorts. I’m sure I looked ridiculous because the foundation was not my shade.
I’ve since done a lot more research on stretch marks and I realize that my marks are caused by growing quickly and there is no guaranteed way to get rid of them naturally. I have learned to live with them in the last few years through understanding that many people have them to the point that it should be normalized. I have never experienced scrutiny from strangers, my family and friends or romantic partners for having them. I can’t say I love them. Although I am no longer hard on myself, if someone off offered to remove them completely for me, I would take that offer. I currently use preventative moisturizers such as mango butter or shea butter, and specifically on my ass I use Sol de Janeiro’s “Brazilian Bum Bum Cream.”
Creative Direction: Ubuntu Talks
Photography: Kirubel Mehari
Videography: Jackie Batsinduka