At just 23, UK blogger Michelle Elman is streets ahead than most of us when it comes to body acceptance, and body positivity.
Her young body is scattered with scars that tell a story of a lifetime battling serious illness, that started just before her first birthday. Across her skull are scars from brain surgery, and across her abdomen are long scars from multiple intestinal surgeries that have given her the impression of ‘fat rolls’.
“The deepest cut is the one at the bottom which is the accumulation of 5 surgeries,” says Elman in an earlier post.
“That was created when I was 11 when I had to have an emergency operation. They had screwed up my previous operation and my intestines were leaking into my abdomen. My dad was called and told to fly over instantly, just in case I didn’t make it.”
She says that whenever she looked at her scars, she cried. And despite being grateful for being alive, harboured a deep shame for how she looked.
“I had already had 9 surgeries before that one, but this one couldn’t be hidden. “I’m never going to be beautiful again,”” she wrote in a previous post.
But a picture uploaded to her personal Instagram account two days ago tells a very different story. Elman, posing next to a friend in Norway, is about to jump into a fjord and is posing in just her bra with a wide grin from ear to ear. Her scarred belly is on show, without an ounce of hesitation.
In her post, Elman says that it’s easy to assume from looking at this picture that she’s the ‘fat friend’ in her group, despite being proud of how she looks.
“There’s a stereotype around being the “fat girl” in a friendship group,” she writes.
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“She’s the one who sits on the sidelines and never joins in. She’s the one perpetually single and sits silently while all her friends discuss their love life because god forbid, if she actually finds a boyfriend, she would never be comfortable naked or in the bedroom. She’s the insecure one, the one constantly complaining about her body and talking about diets.”