Meet Michelle Elman.
This young 22-year-old woman is a body confidence coach and creator of #ScarredNotScared, a campaign empowering people to celebrate their scars as oppose to hiding them.
Just last summer, she bravely shared a photo of herself in a bikini on Instagram exposing all her scars.
"People with scars can't wear bikinis. This is what I have believed for the last 21 years of my life," Elman wrote in the caption of this Instagram photo.
"I had had 15 surgeries, a brain tumor, a punctured intestine, an obstructed bowel, a cyst in the brain and have lived for the last 21 years with a condition called Hydrocephalus, yet somehow my scars have always been the hardest part. They make already awkward moments in your adolescence even more uncomfortable — like taking your top off for the first time in front of your boyfriend, and made me feel even more isolated in a world where I felt no one could understand.
At age seven, I tried on my first bikini and after receiving a range of reactions from disgust to pity, it soon became easier to hide away and be doomed to a life of tankinis and one-pieces. Why did I believe this? Because over the years, I have learned that my scars make people uncomfortable. I had become ashamed of my body and soon other people's disgust became my own and this was allowed to be the case because of one simple reason — I had no one to talk to about it.
Well in January, I started to talk about it — all of it, and I want other people to join in on the conversation. Every human has scars, whether there are emotional and physical — they are part of our story and we should be proud of them."
After receiving incredibly positive responses to that Instagram post, Elman created a powerful video to promote the idea of #ScarredNotScared.
In the video, five other people, who were inspired by Elman, share their own emotional stories on struggling with their scars and learning to embrace them.
"Everyone has a different story — it shows that everyone's journey is personal, from acne scars to cancer scars. But it all essentially comes down to the same thing. We are battling with our bodies," Elman said in an interview with BuzzFeed.
Watch the entire video below.
Each and every scar tells a story. Instead of being ashamed, we should proudly show them, Being proud of every part of ourselves is the true meaning of strength and beauty.