These Marks, My Map.

A Poem

by Jessica Mandanda
© Orianne Lopes

Ugly Ugly Marks

Long streaky veiny lines that represent what? My inability to contain my body from blossoming

But wait… She has them too and our bodies are nowhere near the same

Ugly Ugly Marks

I am ashamed of my waistline, well, whatever is left of it since I birthed that Beautiful life

I am ashamed of my thighs, my breasts, my arms, my calves… my body

I am covered in stretchmarks

Streaky Ugly Marks

I have tried the most outrageous remedies to rid my body of them

Methylated spirit, three times a day for three months

Lemon juice, three times a day, for three months

A mixture of honey, brown sugar, ginger and lemon juice before bedtime

Overpriced stretchmark cream

Snail Stretchmark removing soap

Do you know how long it took to cover all the marked body parts with that shit?

But here I am, looking in the mirror with them looking right back at me

Stubborn and Streaky

Ugly Ugly Marks

My marks

Time to change the narrative, I mean if I am stuck with them forever I might as well make the best of it

My marks, they are not beautiful, they are actually weird and awkward looking but they are mine

They do not ooze sexiness but they do make me feel like one of a kind

Like I am a part of the great stretch marked band touring the world flashing every and anyone who dares to look

Perhaps I can look at them as the map they are

A map branching out toward each and every phase of my life

I mean I have enough of them to cover each of my phases….

I must look like an anomaly when I walk with them on full display,

But I do so with such a wide smile because I know how long the journey has been

To get here, to love them, to accept them and embrace them as a part of me

My stretchmarks

My Ugly Ugly Marks


My name is Jessica Mandanda, a Young African Queer Feminist from Malawi. I am a communications specialist, a writer, activist and sexual and reproductive health and rights champion. I am an advocate for Body autonomy and body positivity.

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