Monday, 16 September 2013

My Battle with Stretch Marks & Self-Confidence

My Battle with Stretch Marks & Self-Confidence | www.latenightnonsense.com

Today I've decided to do something a little different, because I want to share with you how I started my journey into the beauty world. I know some of you may have pieced parts of a story together from places like Twitter, my skincare posts over on Tattoo Tealady and even some of the writing I've done for London Beauty Queen. But I want to share with you a very personal side of me, as I want every single one of you to know that things get better.

When I was younger and was in full swing of a hormonal battle with my body, I lacked self-confidence. Not just in the way I looked, but mentally, and it was the biggest and most heartbreaking thing I think I've ever felt in my entire life to date. The reason I had no confidence? Scars. Terrible, awful, gut-wrenching scars caused by intense growth spurts that left my body a ripped, raw canvas.

I was a massive tomboy growing up, preferring to have my face painted like a Ninja Turtle rather than have it adorned with glittery butterflies. I played football, I found male company much preferable to the bitchy conversations that my female friends had started adapting and I wore little to no makeup. This went on for many years until hitting high school, where I started to take a little more pride in my appearance and took note of boys in a way I hadn't really done before. I would take care to put my hair up in a ponytail, wear slightly shorter skirts, put on a little mascara and, most importantly, I'd smile more often. This was a good time for me, school holds a lot of great memories as well as some of the darker ones. Puberty came and I developed as any young girl did and my breasts growing at this point were fine. The stretch marks I gained mainly on my thighs were what made me switch to trousers, but they were fine and barely visible unless I was being particularly observant. In the few years of high school I went from being flat chested to having fairly sizeable breasts for such a slight person. However, it wasn't until the summer before college was due to start that things took a turn for the worst..

It was like it happened overnight, because looking back on it now it didn't seem as if everything happened over the course of several months or even weeks, it felt like days. I looked down and all I could see was red, stretched skin where my breasts used to be. I could hardly bare to look at them most days, switching bras between hasty showers was something that reduced me to tears. I was a wreck by the time the warmer weather was truly upon us and would wear oversized t-shirts and baggy jeans even in full 30 degree heat. It wasn't until I was in my usual cover-all attire, in the garden with my mother that it all came out. She'd told me to go get changed into a bikini, which was the last thing on my mind. Who would want to look at such a ravaged body? Who could bear that? It looked like I'd been mauled by a tiger, and to this day it's what my mum and I talk about whenever it's brought up. I burst into tears, all my pent up emotions flooding out of me and I didn't stop. It was like the seal had been broken and it felt like I must have cried for hours, but in that time I had been consoled and set to rights. First thing in the morning, I was to try a new 'wonder product' my mum had come across: Bio-Oil.

The next day, a massive bottle of Bio-Oil in hand, I sat on the edge of the bath and stared at the packaging. I chose not to believe that this could ever work for me. How could an oil change what had already happened to my body? It was no use, in my mind, it was already ruined and I'd never find someone to love something so hideous. But, resigned to worst case scenarios, I did use it. It may not have changed me overnight, but several months of continual use morning and night, with occasional extra use when I had the chance and my scars faded. Once not even able to look at my reflection in the mirror, I could see them disappearing before my eyes, and it looked like me again. I went to college, I started developing a different sense of style, I could feel myself changing into the person I wanted to be since before my body grew and I was left with life changing stretch marks. Yes, stretch marks don't ruin your life, but they ruin your self-confidence, which is as good as hammering the final nail in the coffin of a teenager with body hangups. I used that whole bottle up and the stretch marks look like fine, slightly silver/white dashes on my skin. I know I'll never be fully rid of them, but how they are now is something I'll take any day over how they were.

So what happened to me after that? Now I look back on the younger me and wish I could tell her everything will be okay. That she will meet a man, that in fact she will have several relationships and even be living with the love of her life. That she will graduate with honours and have worked with some of the biggest clients she could ever think of. That she will even visit her best friend in America and spend most of that time in a bikini in the sunshine. All these things and more. It's a shame I don't have any pictures of me from that time, it would be nice to see just how far I've come, and how much further I've yet to go.

Recently I was contacted by the PR company for Bio-Oil and asked if I would like to be their Story of the Week on their Facebook page. I was blown away that they had gone out of their way to scope out the snippets of conversation I'd had about Bio-Oil over twitter and various other platforms that I didn't hesitate. My story went online on my birthday and made me feel ridiculously proud that such a product not only turned my life around, but allowed me an avenue into beauty. I know there has been some controversy recently about mineral oil being used as one of the ingredients of Bio-Oil, but I have had no negative results from this so can't attest to that fact. Mineral oil isn't a bad thing, it's not necessarily beneficial, but it's not going to harm your skin. For someone like myself, who has had their life vastly improved by something that did contain such an ingredient, I will never complain against it.

So that's me, Adrienne with the confidence to start up a blog, a YouTube channel and go to events. Who would ever have thought that?

64 comments:

  1. This is such a lovely and inspiring post. Funnily enough I have just bought some bio oil. I have really struggled this summer. Thank you for sharing this. Emily x

    www.britishbeautyaddict.com

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    1. Thanks for your comment Emily, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Bio Oil is a lifesaver for me, no matter what people say about it.

      xo

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  2. This is such a wonderful and brave post! I had no idea as you are so confident in your videos! I have stretch marks all over at the moment, and some scars from operations, so I think after reading this I might just invest in some Bio-Oil. I'm glad you are feeling much better now lovely! xxx

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    1. I'm glad you're thinking of investing, Bethany. If my post can inspire others to try out certain products and hopefully build their confidence back up, I'll be a very happy blogger!

      xo

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  3. Oh, Adrienne I have to say I did do a little cry doing this. Since having my little boy, I have been so down about my stretch marks. I'd see people talk about their own as if they were something to be proud of, but I already have a little boy to be proud of, not these awful marks across my tummy. I made myself feel so down about it, and I really think it make me enjoy motherhood a lot less than I should have. I can't imagine what it must be like to get these from simply just growing up, but I am so glad you've found something that works for you. I'm still looking for my Holy Grail, but your post has made me realise that it isn't the be all or end all, so thank you. xxx

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    1. Hi Chelsea,

      Thank you for your wonderful comment. It means a lot to know you can share your story so openly with me through sharing my own. I can only imagine how distressing it must feel with the pressures of motherhood on top, but know that scars fade and the pleasure and strength you'll receive from you son will last a lifetime.

      xo

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  4. been waiting for you to post this with all your tweets about it this week haha :) such a lovely post hun, braught back lots of old and current feelings about my body. bringing teats to my eyes (sad i know!) but you really are beautiful and lucky that Bio-Oil worked for you :) nice to see a post like this though, shows that lots of people go through the same thing even though we think at the time that we are all alone xoxo

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    1. Thank you lovely, I wanted to share something a little more personal to let people know that they aren't the only ones. It can be tough when you think you're suffering alone, and sometimes just that helping hand can be the difference between getting on with life or letting it spiral out of control.

      xo

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  5. Great post - great story and thanks for sharing. I'm so glad teh Bio-Oil worked for you.

    katespitz.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Katie, it means a lot. :)

      xo

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  6. Aw so honest honey *hugs* I just love you. I know how certain things can damage your self esteem especially when growing up, all the changes is hard - I had a similar issue to you but mine was during my exams at school I came out in spots all on my legs and it wasn't pretty as I get pigmentation easily and guess what BIO OIL helped my legs too! To this day I keep bio oil handy.

    Love you loads my angel xo

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    1. *hugs back* thank you beautiful! I swear it's tough enough to be a hormonal teenager without random things like this cropping up. It's like life likes to through you a curve ball every once in a while. Luckily we both got to the point where a product helped us, so that we can be thankful for. So glad Bio-Oil helped you too, I'm amazed that worked and will be putting it to other uses ASAP.

      Loves!!! ♥

      xo

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  7. I really admire you for sharing your story and I'm so glad bio oil worked for you. Earlier this year I had a pretty bad allergic reaction to who knows what and my legs are really scarred and it has knocked my confidence a lot which lead to me spending the majority of summer inside with leggings on :( I've been hopping between the Palmers Body oil and Bio Oil hoping they're going to make some difference! Thanks for sharing :) x

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    1. Hi Elena, I'm sorry to hear about the issues you've been having. My advice would be to stick with one or the other and use it continually, twice a day at least. If you find it's not working for you after a month or two, then I'd suggest trialling the other. I think sometimes giving some a real chance can make all the difference.

      xo

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  8. This was so moving! Bio Oil really changed my life too, I had awful stretch marks on my thighs and until discovering the product I was completely miserable. It really is remarkable what an oil can do to make stretch marks disappear, and improve your self confidence. Such a well written post, thank you for sharing xo

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    1. Thank you for reading Lydia, and even more so for commenting. I'm glad you found it insightful and that you've shared your experiences too. I have some on my thighs too, which annoy me almost as much as the ones on my breasts did. Bio-Oil getting to work once more!

      xo

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  9. What a lovely post so well written and so moving I welled up reading it, it's only when you like yourself can you write about your past and the bio-oil that's fab

    Libertylovesmakeup.blogspot.com x

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    1. Thank you Laura, I'm glad I wrote about my experiences and could inspire other young people into the same mind frame.

      xo

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  10. Great post, I've been through exactly the same thing, im a bit more confident and I've been using rescue oil and it really helps, I've learnt to just embrace them because they won't completely disappear :) xx

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    1. Hi Ashleigh, that's the one that's in the poundshop, right? I've bought some of this but yet to try it as a substitute for Bio-Oil. I think I will start using it now. :)

      xo

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  11. I'd pieced together some of it, but I obviously didn't know it ran this deep. Looking back at my memories of you from 10 years ago, many of them make a new kind of sense to me, after reading this.

    I remember in some of the earliest versions of those silly bra threads, you came off as confident and happy with yourself. Not long after, I distinctly remember you saying you 'hated them so much' in another thread a few months later. Sizewise, there hadn't been a ridiculous change between the two posts(though apparently it was fast enough to cause the marks), so I wondered at the time if something else bothered you, but figured it wasn't my business. That if you wanted to talk about it, you would. Didn't want to come off as nosey, and sometimes there is a fine line between asking because one cares, and seeming nosey.

    I also remember that even though everyone at the board thought you were fine as hell, one of the most attractive people to post a picture, you sort of kept a distance from that in your reactions, in a way that struck me as being about more than mere modesty. Correct me if I'm wrong, but did it make you shy about even your face, despite no scars being there? Seeing you mention your style changing from baggy shirts in high school to more 'feminine' clothing in college, I recall that change in your pics, but also that your hairstyle changed from covering a large portion of your face to letting both of those gorgeous eyes see the world. Did that have anything to do with your confidence changing?

    Kate has similar stretch marks that have since faded to the same kind of silver you describe. She went from a C to a G cup rather quickly, and it was hard on her skin. She's been knowledgeable about skincare products as long as I've known her, so I'm thinking she took care of the marks rather quickly, as I cannot recall her ever lacking confidence about that area.

    I didn't know that puberty could cause similar marks on girls' legs, though. I suppose if they go from slight to very shapely in short time, the same can happen. Just never considered that, before.

    Well, from a purely objective yet male point of view, I can definitely recall thinking you rocked the bikini, *cough*. ^^; Your utter comfortability showed through, too, so I think that added to the effect.

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    1. Thanks for this wonderful comment, Todd. It's very touching that you'd go so in-depth based on my post and I really do appreciate it.

      Those threads were great, and at the time before I rapidly got the stretch marks, it was the best kind of release from boredom. Then they developed and I hated pretty much everything about myself, not just where they had ruined. I just recall a lot of the time trying to hide it but not quite accomplishing it and I suppose that was pretty apparent when I look back on it now.

      When one part of you is ugly and effects you, the rest of you both physically and mentally starts to feel wrong and it rolls into all areas of your life. I had this moment not long at all after the stretch marks appeared, it shattered my confidence more than I care to admit in such a short space of time. I'd like to say I took a stiff upper lip approach, but going from not minding the way I was developing to wanting to cover it up was distressing.

      My stretch marks on my thighs are more from where I shot up in height rather than they filling out so much. My legs are about the same size now as they were back when I first got them, so I'm thinking that my skin has terrible elasticity generally.

      And thanks Todd, I'm hoping I'm coming along in leaps and bounds and hopefully I'll be even more confident to try new things and not let past experiences hold me back.

      xo

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  12. Is there such a thing as a cyber standing ovation? *claps*
    This is a fantastic post. Subject matter, aside it was beautifully written.
    Stretch marks really are a confidence killer, I struggled with them too and still do today so it's nice to know you're on the other side of that battle now.
    Thank you for writing this x

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    1. *blushes*

      Thank you Kelly, that's a really sweet comment. I hope you're dealing with your own issues the way I started to learn to cope with mine. I won the battle but am still fighting the war, so in a few years time we will see where we are.

      Thank you for reading it, darling.

      xo

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  13. A year or so ago I started to notice these weird stretch marks on my inner thighs. I wouldn't say I'm particularly large at a size 10 but they really wrecked my confidence and made me feel ugly and fat. After reading a post you did over on Tattooed Tea lady's blog recently I realised that people of any size could get them. I even chatted to my friends about it and again realised they had them and it was perfectly normal. So although I've never met you, I'd just like you to know that your experience has really helped me grow confidence in my body and make me feel more comfortable. And for that I'd like to give you a huge internet hug and say thank you xxxxxx

    p.s. I also started using Bio-Oil a few weeks ago and am already starting to see a difference!

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    1. Hi Bea,

      Wow, you've really blown me away here with your praise. It's made me feel warm inside and nice to know that I could help out another person going through the same thing. It's so infuriating when you can't even get answers as to why it's happening. It's just one of those things and you have to learn to change your perception or drown in the process. I think both you and I are stronger individuals and will float to the surface, coming to terms and growing from it all.

      I hope Bio-Oil continues to help you even, if only to bring you back to how you should be.

      xo

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  14. This is such a beautiful post. I'm so happy that you have regained all of that confidence (and more, it seems!) and are able to share your story with others who may be going through that same stage in life. Thank you so much for showing me that beauty is through overcoming and that we can all learn to love every part of our bodies xx

    Natalie | Salt & Sail

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    1. Thanks for your kind message Natalie. It's definitely what I was aiming to prove, and hopefully there are young women out there who can now know it won't be as bad even a day from now if they believe they can overcome it.

      xo

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  15. Such a lovely post, I am so happy for you gaining that confidence back x


    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD 

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  16. Oh gosh my internet lost connection as I went to publish my comment! I'm back again though for round two....

    This post was really nice to read. I think it will be so useful to others that may have be in a similar situation as you once were. I think as young teenagers us females can be at our most vulnerable, everything is changing, our bodies, friends and then the boys come along to make things even more complicated...! :)

    A lovely post Adrienne.

    Amy x
    -A Little Boat Sailing-

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    1. Thank you Amy, you're so right! We need to learn to love our bodies and take the good with the bad.

      xo

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  17. This is such an inspiring post, Adrienne, and it really hit home. At the end of year 10 I was still a mere B cup, but six weeks later by the first day of year 11 I was a DD. Like you, it felt like it happened over night and I still have the stretch marks, although they bother me now a lot less than they once did. They used to make me feel really self conscious, esp as you could see them if I wore a strappy or low cut top. You can still see them now, but I've learnt to love them as another part of me. I have found body oils and body butters to be massively helpful, but I will definitely be giving Bio Oil a go after reading your story :) xo

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    1. Thanks for your wonderful comment Sophia, it's lovely that you can share as openly and I hope that people take inspiration from it. I don't think anyone prepares you for this kind of change physically or emotionally. They tell you your body will change but don't mention how it might drastically change over a very short period of time. I do think stretch marks need to be taken into account when they discuss puberty, so that young girls don't feel self-conscious.

      xo

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  18. This is such a beautiful post its really inspiring that you gained your confidence back, Im really happy you shared your story because i was always doubt-fall of bio-oil, always heard good things but never no actual person saying it worked, going to give bio-oil a go for my stretch marks since it done wonders for you, its also nice to know your not the only one experiencing the same feelings :) xxx

    ~ VISUALCANDY INC

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    1. Thank you lovely, I'm glad you're going to give it a go. I know it might not work for everyone, but it certainly did for me. I almost wish I had some pictures from back then and how it's changed now, but I was far too ashamed to even think about how it could get better.

      xo

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  19. This was such a great post to read. I suffer with some minor stretch marks that I hate but have never had faith that Bio-Oil would do anything so the bottle is at the back of my cupboard. It's safe to say it will be pulled out immediately!
    I'm so glad you got through it all, this was a really inspiring post from a beautiful lady! Thank you for sharing your story with the world :) xxx

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    1. Thank you Katie, I'm glad you could draw some confidence from the post and will try out that amazing Bio-Oil! Perseverance is all I would say, and using it as often as you can for as long as you can.

      xo

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  20. Adrienne, this was such a beautiful post to read. I get so body conscious all the time, when I was at school being curvy never bothered me but in recent years it its really become a problem. My weights fluctuated so much over the past 2-3 years. I had a boyfriend of 3 years and he broke up with me because he didn't find me attractive anymore as I'd put weight on (mainly due to contraception and being comfortable) and as hard as I've tried, it still really gets me down. I am fearful every guy I meet will think the same thing and send me on a spiral of self doubt and confidence. It's hard enough being a girl but when your confidence is low, it's hard to get out of that mind frame. I know that kind of negative feeling is so silly because at the end of the day I know I'm a good person with a bright personality and I'm healthy. I totally know where you're coming from and I'm so happy you've found help through bio oil but also that you've now got all the confidence you should have as you're such a gorgeous girl!

    Katie xo
    sugarfixxbeauty.com

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    1. Ahw, Katie, this made me well up. A lot! I can't believe anyone would be that much of an arsehole to you over something like that. Especially when the main cause is something that benefits the relationship. You're definitely better off without him, if that's the way things went down. Now you can look forward to meeting someone that will love you for who you are and not what you look like. You're beautiful inside and out lady, don't you forget that.

      xo

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  21. You're definitely not alone there, such a great read!
    This is a really great post :)

    Kendra
    xx

    Blog: Stolen Inspiration
    Instagram: KendraAlexandra
    Facebook: StolenInspiration

    Ohhh by the way we have a great giveaway on at the moment!

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    1. Thanks Kendra, I'm glad you enjoyed the post, it was difficult to write.

      xo

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  22. Such an amazing post! I have stretch marks from losing weight and I hate them, but now I will definitely try Bio Oil! Thank you for this!

    xx

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    1. Yay, Rita! Let me know how you get on. :)

      xo

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  23. I think this type of post is super important.
    Thanks for sharing.

    I used to use Bio Oil and it totally works BUT it does contain mineral oil. So for anyone who is concerned about that, buy Rescue Oil instead. It contains the same ingredients and works in exactly the same way.. except no mineral oil.

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    1. Hi Sophie,

      Thanks for your comment. Just to highlight something I said in the original post: "I know there has been some controversy recently about mineral oil being used as one of the ingredients of Bio-Oil, but I have had no negative results from this so can't attest to that fact. Mineral oil isn't a bad thing, it's not necessarily beneficial, but it's not going to harm your skin. For someone like myself, who has had their life vastly improved by something that did contain such an ingredient, I will never complain against it."

      It may not be a beneficial ingredient, but it won't harm your skin. I think there has been a big uproar about it but not enough facts are being given.

      xo

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  24. I started following your blog as I've just joined the Skincare Project over on Sophia's - I'm so glad I did, because this post hits home to me so, so much - in fact there's parts of it where it could literally be me writing it.

    My boobs also seemed to grow overnight but it happened when I was about 13. A few little red stretch marks popped up, but mostly round the side near my armpit and thankfully they've never got any worse and (thanks to Bio Oil actually) they're now really faint white lines that are barely visible.

    I do however have a stomach that is still completely ravaged by stretch marks, thanks to growing and a cycle of gaining and losing weight. I probably have about 25, ranging from fairly small up to about 15/20cms long, in a spiderweb pattern round my bellybutton. Bio Oil is slowly fading them, but I do get quite choked up sometimes when I catch sight of them in the mirror. I go through phases of how I feel, sometimes I think I could have it a lot worse, sometimes I feel like my body's completely ruined and I'm only 21. If I had gone through pregnancy I could justify them, but my body should be young and healthy and smooth and it isn't - it won't ever be and I've accepted that but it does hurt and it does make me feel really sad.

    But like you, I've just graduated with honours, have got myself a dream job and live with someone who loves me inside and out and doesn't bat an eyelid at my big old stretch marked tummy. And those are the important things. I'm not ready to wear a bikini yet but hopefully that'll come in time.

    Re: mineral oil, I get a bit frustrated at the recent outpouring of loathing for it. Yes it's not beneficial, but it's not harmful (especially when used on the body for things like stretch mark oils). Bio-Oil has made a massive difference to my stretch marks and in turn my confidence and that to me is much more important than the fact that mineral oil isn't skincare's greatest ingredient.

    Thanks again for this post, it's so nice for me to read that other people feel/have felt the same way as I do especially on a subject that is so deeply personal to all of us. :) xxx

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    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment Harriet, I'm so pleased you stop by and left such a personal experience on this post.

      I completely feel your pain and I'm thrilled you were able to find help in Bio-Oil just like I did. It does take a while and I remember getting to annoyed after only a few days of use that nothing was working, but perseverance really does pay off and they did fade about a month later. It's that initial angry red stage that worries me the most, it always seems so horrible to try and hide. Once they're silver and faded there's not much that can be done about them, and they don't bother us as much but I do still wish they were gone entirely. I try to look at them like a badge of honour, that having them makes me a better and stronger individual.

      Thank you once more, you are the exact person I wrote this post for, and the kind that I will continue to write these types of posts for.

      xo

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  25. I really love that you have shared this story you are definitely not the only one! Bio Oil is a godsend! I absolutely love how it got rid of my scars not straight away but over time and whilst i'm not 100% confident with my body at least I am (slowly...) coming to terms with what I have got!
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful inspiring post!

    Madeleine || Madeleine In Wonderland || Madeleine In Wonderland Facebook page
    Xx

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Madeleine, I'm so happy that Bio-Oil has helped you also. I'd bathe in a tub of the stuff every night if I could afford it. ;)

      xo

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  26. Ahhh what a true beauty you are! x

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  27. You are an inspiration, Adrianne! I'm glad that you shared the full story, as I've only been able to piece out bits and bobs that never really was the whole picture.
    You're right, a blow like that when you're already a teenager will almost completely destroy you. But I'm glad that you bounced back and found your way to be more confident. I often think about the things that I would say to my younger self if I ever had the chance to go on a time machine (which, apparently has not yet happened in the future as I've yet to met myself) and I love the things that you'd say to your younger self.
    You once said that I made you want to live life more, but I'm telling you this: you make me want to live life more and actually look forward to the future! x


    Daphne | Peanut Butter and Chocolate Life | bloglovin

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    1. Welling up here, Daphne! Your comment is so lovely, and makes me truly appreciate what I have and what I've yet to accomplish. I'm not going to let me past dictate my future, unless it's in a positive light.

      xo

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  28. Aw you are gorgeous inside and out! It must been so hard when you were younger, you never think things can get better! I'm so pleased for you, and sharing your story has given me confidence we all worry about the way we look! Sometimes we have to be patient :-) so lovely that this post has a happy ending xx

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    1. Thank you Christina, your kind words warm my heart. :)

      It's tough to look on the bright side at varying points in your life, but especially when your hormones are raging and you already feel the pressures of school and the students. Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

      xo

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  29. Such an inspiring post. It takes such courage to be so open, so thank you :)

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  30. I really enjoyed this post. I appreciate when bloggers open up about themselves and it's also nice to see stories about why you started blogging. You are beautiful and definitely an inspiration.

    Madeline | Ring-a-Round a Rosey | Bloglovin’

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    1. Thanks Madeline, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I hope to write more inspirational pieces like this.

      xo

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  31. This is truly inspirational. Fortunately, I've managed to escape any dark stretch marks - mine are all pale and silvery - but I have suffered from horrid acne scars throughout my teenage years. I've been the girl waking up an hour before school to conceal, conceal, conceal, who has cried when the teachers asked me to remove my make-up, who avoided serious relationships so nobody would see my naked skin. Since turning 20 I've found a few useful products and, more importantly, I've found confidence. My boyfriend is amazing and looks straight past the scars, I'm even confident enough to just wear a light coverage foundation without concealer recently, and I'm happier than i ever have been
    xx

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    1. I'm so glad you found your confidence Mel! I find that the love and support a partner gives you unconditionally definitely can help the process. It reminds you that you are a beautiful person, despite what you may feel about the outside.

      Proud of you! :)

      xo

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