When one woman was tired of being referred to as the "fat friend" of her group, she decided it was time to speak up and teach others a much-needed lesson about body insecurities. And now she's going viral for it.
At a young age, Michelle Elman underwent 15 surgeries, which left her abdomen covered in scars that she thought resembled fat rolls. For much of her life, she refused to show her belly in public, avoiding bikinis at all costs. Now 23 years old, Michelle has shed those inhibitions and is encouraging others to do the same through her work as a body-confidence coach and creator of the empowering Scarred Not Scared campaign.
Although many of her blog posts and Instagram photos focus on the importance of embracing your scars, one of her more recent shares takes a broader stance to address any gals struggling with accepting their weight. When Michelle and her friends went on a spontaneous adventure to a fjord in Norway, she posted a photo to document their trip. In the snapshot, both Michelle and her friend are sporting nothing but bras and pants — and they look great! The background of the picture is sure to take your breath away, but the powerful caption is what we simply can't get over.
The 23-year-old discussed the stereotype around being "the fat girl" in a group of friends. "She's the one who sits on the sidelines and never joins in . . . She's the insecure one, the one constantly complaining about her body and talking about diets," she wrote. And then she went on to explain exactly why this stereotype is complete and utter "bullsh*t."
"Since the age of 11, I have always been the 'fat' friend but I have never been THAT girl. Even with all my insecurities around my scars, and my body in general, I was never the girl who sat inside — I refused to because of my pride and ego and my surgeries never let me be the person who missed out on life," Michelle said. Although she admitted that, a few years ago, she would've tried to hide her body before jumping in the fjord, she followed up by noting that now, she's "the one suggesting photos" and "the first to whip off [her] top" because she wasn't even thinking about the differences between her body and those of her friends.
Michelle then provided us the best possible definition of body positivity that we've ever seen. (Seriously, not even Merriam-Webster can top this.) "The fact that I know many girls, fat or skinny, would miss out on opportunities like this is what fuels my body positivity," she wrote. "Body positivity isn't about being able to take underwear selfies, it's about not letting your underwear or your swimsuit be the reason you aren't taking part."
For any gals who feel like the "fat friend," Michelle has some advice for how to avoid it: surround yourself with the right people. "I don't look at these pictures and see me as the odd one out," she wrote. "I look at the pictures and see the memories and the three bodies that we had fun in!"