I discovered weird markings on myself the other day. Convinced I had cancer and the end was drawing near for me, I told my friend that I was pretty sure I was dying. When she saw the marks she just laughed and told me with a smile, "Claire , those are stretch marks." Now this didn't assure me much more because I had always considered stretch marks to be something that happened to women after they had kids, or to "older people". She then proceeded to show me that she had stretch marks herself.
It's funny how we consider these physical reminders of growth a negative thing. We hide them, we are ashamed of them. We want to appear that we have perfect lives, and that we remain the same happy, beautiful, intelligent, creative, kind people all the time. Stretch marks don't fit this facade that we show the world. And so we hide them, as we do all the things that are a reminder to us of our uniqueness, our personal identity, our flaws, and the ways we've changed from what we ourselves or others would like us to be.
Sometimes growing up is painful. But it's something we like to hide. Except sometimes for our closest friends, we don't want to admit it when in the process of discovering our identity that we struggle, constantly and often. Nobody stays exactly the same forever, at least if some people do I've never met them. But the process of stretching, reaching for our goals hurts. Anyone who has done physical stretching before or after running or playing a game understands the uncomfortable, slightly painful, yet welcome feeling that comes from actually stretching our limbs. Growing up is kind of like that too. It's painful, but at the same time we know that through the pain is something good.
Stretch marks are a reminder of our physical growth, but in a way they are also reminders of the continuous growth of our minds and our hearts. It's a "blemish" on our skin, while really they are the markings that tell us that change can also be good and beautiful though it may not appear that way at first.