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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » The Imperfect Things You Don't See

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Author Topic: The Imperfect Things You Don't See
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I think it can be easy for people to forget, especially if your life and world are full of visual media, that the way people look in magazines isn't generally how people look.

Those folks, for instance, no matter how "perfect" they may appear will usually have a host of lumps and bumps, scars or marks, hairs and other staples of living in a body that get brushed out, or that the light hasn't caught.

I thought it might be a good reality check if some of us shared some of those "imperfections" (I put that in quotes because the notion of "perfect" bodies in general is something I find preposterous) here. It might also be a good thing to look at if you find yourself having a moment where everyone's body or looks seem perfect except for yours.

So, for example, here on my 43-year-old body right now I've got:
• Stretch marks around my breasts and hips
• Scars on my abdomen from a surgery in my 20's
• A funny blotchy bit on one of my thighs from an oil burn as a child
• Chicken pox scars on my forehead
• A scar above and through my top lip from a dog bite
• Cracked heels
• A little bit of a mustache
• Graying hair
• A big bruise on my calf from clumsily walking into something (I don't even remember what, per usual: I'm clumsy so pretty much always have at least one or two bruises from walking into things)
• Half a reconstructed hand that very much looks reconstructed
• Wrinkles
• Freckles
• Some zits on my forehead
• A few broken capillaries around my nose

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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nixieGurl
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Love this.

Me:

Scar on my tummy from surgery (my belly button is split in half from that)

Tattoo I got of a frog when I was 19 and very thin no longer takes up a tiny bit of that hip. [Razz]

Stretch marks on top of my thighs.

Chicken pox scar on my wrist.

Scars on both wrists.

Large scar on left side of my ribcage.

My hair likes to go crazy mad whenever it gets a little bit hot outside. (I like to call that my side show Bob look).

Some freckles, some zits, some birthmarks.

Big scar on inside of my leg from falling off the roof while trying to fetch a tennis ball as a kid!

When I get really stressed my hair falls out in huge clumps then I am stuck with a crazy mullet like look while it grows back - hence the constant hat wearing!

Just to add to this, I am so totally okay with all of these, but my mother loves pointing these things out. Last time she did this I replied "Mum, if I got here and looked like one of those super models, you would still find something wrong with me", to which she went very quiet. My body is as normal as anyone else and while I am okay with it, most other people are too.

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atypical
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Some of my "lumps and bumps" I love, other's not so much. I'm barely 21 and am already covered in scars. Among other things.

Scars:
- 9cm long butched scar going from my left butt cheek and up my back from one time I got part of a plank lodged in my back.
- Prominent scar under my right knee from the one time I fell while ice skating.
- Stitched scar around the root of my left index finger from one time I was whittling.
- Several scars on both my hands from various accidents with knives and heat. Most of them on my left hand.
- Scars on my forehead and arms from chicken pox.
- Scars on the inside of my cheeks from the time I had a tooth pulled out and couldn't feel anything on my left face.
- Cuts up my arms from a cat that would love you then hate you the next moment. He also gave me one for my chest.
- Various scars that I have either forgotten how I got or I just didn't know in the first place.

Stretch marks:
- Marks around my breast from when they grew a little too quickly.
- Marks around my hips from the same reason + plus a bit of weight gain.
- Prominent marks on both sides of my tummy from weight gain (that I since lost).

Spots:
- Freckles during the summer.
- Zits. Just the face.
- Random red spots between my shoulder blades.
- Small birthmarks everywhere (and a rather odd pair on my left hip; One large pale next to a smaller dark brown).

Face:
- My right eyelid does not correspond to my left eyelid.
- My nose apparently looks quite a bit bigger in photos.
- My eyes change colour. (brown to blue to green and around)

I didn't even realize I could put it into categories [Razz]
Apart from the zits (which I'm assuming will eventually subside some) I am rather happy with all my bobs and bits. I could also go on about how weirdly proportioned my body is (my head is too big to find hats that fit while my hands are really petite), but I'll leave that for another time [Wink]

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I'm going to be posting my own soon, but I wanted to comment on this:
quote:
Originally posted by atypical:

- My nose apparently looks quite a bit bigger in photos.

This is a problem with the person taking the picture, or more accurately the lens they are choosing. Different legnths of lenses make pictures that look different. Have you ever seen a picture of someone taken with a fish eye lens? That distortion is an extreme example of what happens when you use a wide angle lens to photograph a person. So your nose appears big in pictures because the photographer (or the automatic camera settings) is choosing a wide angle lens.


(Sorry to derail).

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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MusicNerd
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Wow, this is so cool! Okay, here goes:
-stretch marks on my hips from puberty
-stretch marks on my lower back towards my butt (also from puberty)
-stretch marks on the inner side of my knees from the summer that I shot up 6 inches in height (again, puberty)
-scar on my right hand that's shaped like an "L"
-scars on my knee from a countless number of slips and falls (only my right knee interestingly enough)
-a really dark flat mole/dark freckle/idk on my left hip
-a few zits on my face
-acne scars on my chest and upper arms
-some dark peach fuzz right above my lip
-a trail of hair that goes from my belly button to my pubic region (that I tend to shave when I'm not feeling lazy/when there's warmer weather outside)
-sometimes I have a few tiny chin hairs (that I tend to pluck out)
-one small freckle on the left side of my nose
-a small flat mole/dark freckle/idk near my collarbone

That's all I can think of for now. [Smile]

[ 05-20-2013, 09:41 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Karybu
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Awesome topic! I don't tend to think a lot about my various lumps and bumps and "imperfections" but when I do, it's usually from a place of affection, not dislike.

Some of what I've got going on with my almost-29-year-old body:
-A big birthmark on my chest, just below where my collar bones meet. It's quite red but also weirdly indented, so you can feel it as well as see it.
-Lots of scars - several on the backs of my hands and my knees, and a couple on my shoulders from having some pre-cancerous areas of skin treated.
-Stretch marks around my hips.
-Lots of freckles.
-Gray hairs that have been around since my late teens and seem to be multiplying lately, as they do.
-The start of wrinkles around my eyes, more on the right than the left because that one closes more than the other when I smile.
-Very lopsided boobs in terms of size.
-Knobbly bumpy feet from years of wearing pointe shoes.
-What my sister calls my "snaggletooth": one bottom front tooth that never wanted to be in a row with the others.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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nosalis
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Let's see what I've got...

Acne (minor, but was a lot worse): Face, Neck, Chest, Back, Legs and the scars to prove it.

Scars: Assorted acne-related,
1 inch immediately above right eyebrow from cracking my head on a windowsill.

2 inch across my left bicep from having a mole removed and failed plastic surgery to cover up scar.

3 inch on right shoulder blade same as above.

Small scar on edge of left hand from mole removal.

2 inch on my front right hip from having surgery on varicose vein in my testes.

Moles: Everywhere, even on the top of my head and the sole of my right foot. Some are quite large, dark, and irregularly shaped. No skin cancer (yet).

Hair: Everywhere except upper back, palm of hands,
soles of feet. Haircut now at shoulder length, brush it out of my eyes.

Dark rings under my eyes from life of getting up at 6:30 AM to go to school.

Somehow I have yet to think of myself as ugly. Perhaps I'm just deluded.

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atypical
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Hello there Moonlight!

I am quite aware of camera techniques and the like, I was meaning in a quite general sense. Regardless of the type of camera used or the person taking the picture as well as distance etc. my nose just seems bigger in pictures. Which is perfectly fine, it's just an odd quirk.

This really doesn't bother me as my nose is perfectly fine as it is. I really don't think it's particularly big anyway [Razz]

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September
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Oh, this is great. I like my "imperfections" [Smile]

This is me at 28:
- I have lots of scars, some from self-injury, some from surgery, some from generally being a klutz; the most visible are some scars on my left upper arm from cutting myself; if you have the privilege of seeing me naked, the most obvioius scar is right below my pantyline from abdominal surgery
- Am starting to get some wrinkles around my eyes
- There is some wierd pigmentation going on on my left wrist and the skin is a few shades darker there than the rest of my body
- I have 6 tattoos, all of which I love, but one of them is a bit messed up because I had to have it redone a few times - now the lines are a bit scraggly and you can feel the ridges of the needles when you touch it
- Crooked teeth - my lower jaw is very crowded

(On a side-note: I used to model when I was a teen, and those pictures look nothing like the family snapshots of me from the same time. Professional make-up and lighting really do a lot to change how a person looks.)

[ 05-21-2013, 10:16 AM: Message edited by: September ]

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Johanna
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skiesofgreen
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At 22 I have:

- Stretch marks on my thighs
- Scars from a variety of embarrassingly clumsy incidents
- Perpetual bags under my eyes
- Eczema (occasionally in areas that are inappropriate to scratch)
- Crooked teeth

I'm really quite fond of most of these "imperfections." Except the eczema. Eczema has few, if any, redeeming qualities.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Hey atypical! I didn't mean to assume you didn't know anything about photography. I guess the photography peer helper in me was shining through!

Okay, so for my "imperfections":

A smallish flab of skin on my left side above my stomach but below my right breast. This is because I had scoliosis and that side of my body was all bunched up, so as the curve progressed, the fold was created. This is one thing I am pretty self conscious about because it makes me feel fat, like it's a flab of fat, but I am working to accept that it is the result of a deformity that I had and that I was fortunate enough to be able to conteract with surgery.

Stretch marks on my inner thighs from rapid growth during puberty. I was self conscious of these for a while, but reading so many peopl write about very similar marks, I feel much better about them.

Weird formation of freckles on my belly (which I absolutely love!).

Beauty mark on my cheek, along with lots of awesome freckles all over my face, arms and to a lesser extent body and legs.

Big long scar down my back from the spinal fusion surgery for my scoliosis. This scar is a point of pride for me.

Breasts of different sizes. Not so big an issue when I want my chest to be breasts, but something I feel very self conscious about when I bind because one side binds perfectly while the other side only adequately.

Various small scars and marks from cuts, scrapes, a (small) burn from coffee pot steam.

Oh yeah. Warts on the bottom of my foot that I have had for a decade. I went for treatment for them for weeks and weeks but on the final appointment was told not to make more unless they didn't go away. I'm very busy and haven't yet made that appt. I'm very self conscious of the warts and avoid showing the bottom of that foot most of the time. But again, I am getting a lot better about this.

And that's about it. Oh and the lips of my labia sometimes seem to be different sizes and sometimes stick out uncomfortably.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Burdened with glorious booty
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SO listing these, because I have a lot of these. On me right now, I have:

[*]A scar on my right leg, spanning the width of my thigh just above the knee, from surgery when I was 3.
[*] Around the aforementioned scar, thread veins.
[*] Also on my right knee, a small scar from when I fell over as a kid.
[*] Moles. Mostly on my arms, but I have some on my back, stomach, and one one breast too.
[*] Body hair, due to either not shaving or being in a place where I'm unwilling to put any kind of shaving/waxing implement anywhere near (some people would treat this as an imperfection).
[*] My hands - my fingers are subtly bent and people always seem to freak slightly when they notice.
[*] Really dry skin on my feet.
[*] Spot scars on my shoulders.
[*] What I'm assuming to be a burst blood vessel in my face, just under one of my eyes.
[*] HUGE shadows under my eyes which I can't get rid of.
[*] What I think is a birthmark right between my boobs.
[*] Stretch marks on my hips and thighs.
[*] The kind of complexion that makes blushing very easy, meaning LOTS of photos where my face is scarlet.

Got over pretty much all of these, though, so it's all good. [Big Grin]

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Ta-da!

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Onionpie
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Yay! I've always loved scars, because as has been proven here, every one has a story behind it! When I was younger and cut my arm on a hose rack (yeah, the things on the house/garage wall to wrap your hose around for storage? Me, a klutz? How could you tell?) and the cut formed a scar I was SO PROUD BECAUSE LOOK GUYS I HAVE A SCAR NOW. Too bad the story behind it was pretty lame [Razz] ANYWAY. Just to be contrary, I will list mine in no particular order.

I have:

Stretch marks GALORE. Seriously, I am a stretch-mark factory. I'd say "around" my breasts but really, my breasts sort of just ARE stretchmarks. They've faded to silver now, they were more pink/purply when they were new and I tried to make them go away. But then I realized that they were gonna fade if they wanted to, at their own pace, and they would never go away so I'd better suck it up and befriend them.

I also have stretch marks all over my inner thighs and my butt, I call them my "zebra stripes". Also on my hips.

I have this one dark vein on one of my legs that I am suspicious will eventually become a varicose vein, because like, ALL the women in my family have varicose veins.

I have two scars that were from one huge cut on my knee when I was young and fell down while running on some ragged boulders (not the smartest cookie, me). It cut all the way down to the ligament, I was fascinated by it and just stared until it started seeping blood and then I realised it was a problem [Razz]

BLEMISHES LIKE WHOA. All over my face, from years of wonderful acne... Oh hey there, a pimple growin', too.

Slight moustache because I am too lazy to remove it most of the time.

LITTLE HAIRS ON MY TOES [Big Grin] I used to be SO self-conscious about those. Well, I'm still fairly self-conscious about it, but far less than before. I wouldn't have admitted to having it, before [Razz]

OH, OH. And fairly-hairy backs of my thighs. Unfortunately as a kid I only had blonde friends so I thought I was a ******* freak for having HAIR. ON MY THIGHS. THAT IS ACTUALLY, LIKE, BROWN KINDA. But then I met other thick-haired brunettes and was like "oh lol okay."

Also a faint happy trail from my navel to pubic mound which I was, again, self-conscious of when I was younger but now don't give a passing crap about.

Same goes for some hair on the small of my back which I used to think was SO ICKY especially when my mum pointed it out one day and laughed at me (she's good at making me feel *totally awesome* about my body...) and some boy in grade 7 went "EWWW YOU HAVE HAIR ON YOUR BACK", but really it's like... slightly darker and longer than peach fuzz. NOT SEEING THE BIG DEAL OVER HERE, GUYS?

Cellulite [Big Grin] When I clench my awesome butt muscles the cheeks go all dimply :B

I have these three freckles close together on my left wrist that, when people ask me what the time is and I don't have a watch, I look at and say "three freckles o'clock".

I also have three freckles on the tops of each thigh in exactly the same places, it's like a mirror image. And one freckle near each elbow so when I bend my arm it forms a face with the freckle as an eye and the line formed by my arm closing as the mouth, which I have always found amusing. I am starting to realise how much of a child I act with my body [Razz]

Blisters on my feet! I always have blisters on my feet. My feet hate me.

Always-visible roots of my leg hairs, because I have dark thick hair, you can see it under the skin even after freshly shaving, and I don't even THINK about or notice that anymore (I had to look to realise) but I used to be self-conscious and thought it looked horrible. Again with the blonde childhood friends who never seemed to have that problem [Razz] (not to suggest that NO blondes ever have similar experiences with hair -- just that I never met anyone who did until I finally had a brunette friend!)

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blueberry
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Love this thread! [Big Grin]

Here's my list (I'm 21):

- lots of scars all over my legs and arms from mosquito bites in the summer that I used to scratch until they bled when I was younger

- other scars coming from grumpy cats, being clumsy with a bread knife, and one right under my eye that I got from being bitten by a dog when I was 3 (I agree with Onionpie though, scars are cool!)

- Cellulite. I'm almost underweight (according to BMI) though, so for some reason it feels a bit stupid to care about it.

- really dark, long hairs on my lower arms that I'm not so happy about, I tried shaving them when I was 13-14 but that was a bad idea so now I'm just trying to not care about it. (And I have little hairs on my toes too!)

- sort of a moustache if you look carefully

- stretch marks all over my thighs/butt, just from growing I think since I haven't gone up and down in weight

- I always have lots of bruises on my legs that I never remember how I got, I'm just a bit clumsy

- two identical scars on the back of my thighs that I got from accidentally leaning too close to a radiator (it was cold, and I had just come out of the shower with just a towel...so silly).

- inverted nipples, except I love them! It's so cool that only about 10 percent of women have them, it makes me feel special. And at the same time really sad that so many people seem to think it's something that needs to be 'corrected' [Frown]

- slightly different sized areolas. But I love my breasts otherwise.

- the soles of my feet are always quite dry and not so good-looking, but hardly anyone sees them so it doesn't really matter.

- really big nose that I wasn't particularly aware of until some 'friends' started commenting on it when I was 12. One girl even told me I should avoid showing my profile to people so they wouldn't see how ugly my nose was. After that I used to hate my nose for some years, but I feel more comfortable about it now (and disgusted at how some people think they have a right to tell others they look ugly).

- one thing I'm concerned about is my bad posture, partly because it doesn't look nice but mostly because it just seems bad for my body

- my stomach. I want to include this because it looks deceptively nice and flat, but I feel so swollen up and nauseous all the time. It's sort of pretty but it just doesn't work at all. (I'm trying to find out what the problem is, but no luck so far).

- lots of moles, and acne scars on my face

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Patricia H
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On my 24 year old body, soon to be 25 in a few weeks (!! I love birthdays!!):

  • Stiches underneath my chin from a fall I took on the basketball court in middle school
  • Stiches on my left hand between my index finger thumb from a surgical removal of a benign schwannoma that was bothering me
  • My one dark and super pokey hard hair that insists on growing near my right nipple, even despite multiple pluckings over many years
  • My two dark moles directly below my neck and on top of the ends of my clavicles
  • One mole (I'm more or less sprinkled with moles primarily on the front of my body) underneath my right breast that lines up perfectly with another mole about 3-4 inches down on my belly
  • A faint birthmark on one of my buttcheeks in the shape of a neighbor island (or so one lover told me)
  • Another faint birthmark on the top of my left shoulder
  • The back of my head is flat
  • Stretch marks on my hips
  • The occasional zits and blackheads that make their way onto my face, usually in the chin area
  • I've had braces, but I still have a small underbite
  • Two small little painless knobby growths, one each on the backs of my ears (had them ever since I was a kid)
  • Ingrown hairs on my legs from shaving
  • Two flat skin tone moles on my labia majora


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Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. - Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

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