Okay, so for some reason I have this whole “confidence” vibe going on this week, and after reading Yum Yucky’s (as well as today’s) post on We Are The Real Deal and it got me thinking, “how many other women out there have stretch marks, and why are we so afraid of them?” And then I thought, “what if we found out that all of our friends and family have stretch marks and cellulite – would we then be okay with our own badges of life?”

Once upon a time, way back in the day of Junior-College Jill, there was a beauty pageant held at this little tiny JC I was attending. Normally, I could not have cared less about beauty pageants, but a friend of mine had entered – her goal was to make it to the Miss Oklahoma pageant. All of the girls were beautiful, and I remember thinking to myself that no way could I have entered because I had some serious cellulite on the backs of my thighs. Imagine my surprise when, during the bathing suit portion of the pageant, I noticed that 99% of the girls prancing around on stage had CELLULITE ON THE BACKS OF THEIR THIGHS!!!! I can totally remember the feeling of RELIEF I felt. Relief that I was not some flawed freak and most other girls my age had the same “affliction”. And just for the record, the 1% who did not have cellulite? My friend W, who won the pageant and went on to compete in Miss Oklahoma (she didn’t win). I don’t know if it was the lack of cellulite or the hours upon hours of coaching she had from a professional pageant-coach that won her the title of Miss Tiny Junior College (not the real title btw), but I prefer to believe it was the latter and not the former that won her the cubic zirconia crown.

The next time I felt this same relief is when the Dove Campaign for Beauty came out a few years ago. I had been through at least one pregnancy (maybe two by this time, I can’t remember exactly), and was feeling frumpy, dumpy, and fat. Once again I felt like the only woman in the world who had a poochy belly and thunder thighs. When those ads came out, I breathed that same sigh of relief to see that I was not the only pear body shape in the world (I come from a family of apples) and other women had short legs like mine.

Just knowing that there were (and are) other women out there who look like me, gives me a lot of confidence. It seems ironic to me that we (and by we, I mean a whole heck of a lot of us) yearn for small hips, thin thighs, long legs, and flat bellies because we believe that that’s how the rest of the world looks, or should look, and yet, if you look around, most women are naturally curvy with a slightly poochy tummy, rounded hips and thighs, and legs that don’t resemble those of a race horse. It doesn’t matter what size you are, you can have all of these things even if you are a size 2!

I guess what I want women to know is that it’s okay to have cellulite, because honestly we all have it, just like we all have noses. If you’ve had a baby, or you’ve lost/gained weight then you probably have stretch marks. If you’ve nursed a baby, then you probably have breasts that are headed south. If you are a female then you probably have curvy hips and thighs. IT’S OKAY – SO DO MOST WOMEN!!!!

I also think it’s totally fine to want to improve on those things if it’s what you want, but don’t feel like you are a freak of nature because you have some “gifts” that Father Time has bestowed upon you. He has pretty much bestowed them on all of us.

I was going to post a poll, but I’d like to hear from you all about your “badges” – do you have stretch marks, curvy hips, full thighs, large comfy bosoms, or a poochy belly? You can comment anonymously if you want, so don’t be afraid to speak up!

*Oh, what badges do I wear, you ask? Well, pretty much all of the above. I’ve got stretch marks, my size D girls are hanging a little lower than they used to, my stomach sticks out farther than my boobs, I could give JLo a run for her money on the booty thing, and my thighs would have been extremely popular when Rubens was the most sought after portrait artist back in the 17th century. All this packed into a size 12. And guess what? I’m not some hideous beast locked up in a tower. My friends think I’m beautiful, my husband thinks I’m totally hot, and when my hair is behaving, I feel pretty good about going out on the town. I even wore a bathing suit IN PUBLIC last week during our vacation – and no one vomited at the site of the cottage cheese attached to the backs of my thighs.