During my college days, instead of going out to bars and clubs, I mostly went to a lot of themed house parties. There was the very un-politically correct "White Trash Party." The juvenile "Awkward Middle School Dance Party." And, one of my favorites, the scandalous "Wear Anything But Clothes Party."
One girl showed up wearing nothing but her own skin. A bit more modest, I showed up in a paper bag shirt and plastic bag skirt. When I talked to the nudist, I told her I was shy about showing off my legs because my veins were so visible.
She told me: "Oh, but that's so cool! It's like you're an animal! It's your special pattern. Like a leopard. Or a zebra. Grrr!" Clearly, she was drunk. And a little crazy.
Weird as her comment was, it boosted my confidence, at least for the night. So I hiked up my plastic bag skirt a little higher, proud to show my stripes.
As a throwback to my college daze, this post is dedicated to our bodily imperfections. In particular, it's an homage to stretch marks.
Gearing up for bikini season, Refinery29 recently published a slideshow, "5 Images That Will Make You Embrace Your Stretch Marks." The photos, originally shot by Chloe Newman for Polyester Zine, celebrate glittery stretch marks on bedazzled boobs, butts and hips. While the flaws are stylized and glamorized, they're not retouched or softened. "It's refreshing and reassuring when you see something a bit more real," Newman said.
The #LoveYourLines account on Instagram shows black-and-white photos of women revealing their stretch marks and cellulite with empathy and acceptance. The images are accompanied by uplifting captions, that embrace the fullness of the female body—raw, real and, quite literally, in the flesh. The account is curated by wives, mothers and photographers Alex Elle and Erika Layne, who encourage women around the world to submit their own images and stories.