“Have you ever looked at yourself and just started noticing random imperfections and insecurities? Well I never did, until someone else pointed them out to me. I was the ‘fat girl’ or the ‘ugly girl’ in school, and I was bullied for it. And for those reasons, I hated the way I looked. I felt that I looked like a man, I felt that I was too fat for someone to love me, I felt ugly and lonely. I had these maze-like markings on my butt, legs and hips and come to find out later they’re called stretch marks. I hated them.
I hated them more because the girls on commercials and movies didn’t have any and I wanted to be like them. Well, skip ahead to me being 16-years-old and pregnant. These maze-like markings not only were on the other areas, they were now on my arms, breasts and stomach. I hated myself even more. I couldn’t stand them. I wanted them gone and did everything I could to ‘stop’ them but it was inevitable.
I had my first daughter Jessie and second daughter Jax 4 years later. One day as I was complaining about myself (not realizing Jessie was listening to me), my 4-year-old said, ‘Mommy, I hate the way I look. I have all these brown spots (moles) on my body.’ Boy did that crush me to hear her say that.
As the years went by, I made sure Jessie heard me make positive comments about myself and let her know how much I love my body. I let her know that every body is different, and that we all have different imperfections but we must love those imperfections because they’re ours. I told her that God made us all different because he didn’t want to get confused when naming his children. And I will be sure to let my Jaxi know as she has questions also.
I got this tattoo because over those four years of ACTUALLY naming things that I love about myself, I learned to love myself. I learned to love my stretch marks, I’ve learned to love the big belly, I’ve learned to love my cellulite on my ‘thunder thighs,’ I’ve learned to love my beautiful face that God made just for me.
The placement of this tattoo is everything too. Because she’s placed where my stretch marks are, she looks like she has stretch marks too. It’s probably one of the most painful tattoos I’ve ever gotten, but it’s the most beautiful. My body is my body, it doesn’t belong to anyone else, and I will forever appreciate what my body can and cannot do.
You may not think or notice, but your little ones watch every single step you take. Their little ears listen to every word you say. Make sure every step and word are positive, because this world needs more love and positivity spread.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jazmin Gonzales, 23, of California. The tattoo artwork was created by Frances Cannon.
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