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Here's to posting all the pictures we hate. My belly rolls were created for me when I was 7 years old... or at least that's when I noticed them, and called them rolls. My rolls were created by surgeons, not by fat. They were created for my health, not in spite of it. They were created for my survival, not for my beauty. They don't just exist when I sit but when I stand as well. They are how I experienced the stigma of being fat, before I was fat. They showed through my T-shirts and even my tankinis and whilst I could hide my scars, I couldn't hide the rolls they created. The deepest cut is the one at the bottom which is the accumulation of 5 surgeries. 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. And yet when I look at this scar, all I can think about is how my heart broke when I put on a T-shirt for the first time. I stared in the mirror and cried. I had already had 9 surgeries before that one, but this one couldn't be hidden. "I'm never going to be beautiful again" I had been in a hospital for 3 months, and hadn't been allowed to leave yet the day I was allowed to, I didn't want to go in that t-shirt because I was embarrassed. I was so scared of looking fat, that I would rather stay in hospital another day, than leaving in that T-shirt. And that is what the fear of fat is about. THAT is why I fight the fear of fat. THAT is why I will always fight the fear of fat, whether I am fat or not. #scarrednotscared
Michelle Elman aus Großbritannien hat eine schwere Zeit hinter sich. Als bei ihr im Alter von 11 Jahren ein Hirntumor diagnostiziert wurde, musste sie 15 Operationen über sich ergehen lassen. Monatelang konnte sie nicht richtig essen. Als sie dann aus dem Krankenhaus entlassen wurde und wieder zu ihren alten Essgewohnheiten zurückkehrte, nahm Michelle enorm zu.
"Ich sah aus wie eine fette Rolle", sagt die 23-Jährige gegenüber 'Cosmopolitan'. Nicht nur, dass sie unter den Blicken der anderen jahrelang litt, auch sie selbst fühlte sich nicht mehr wohl in ihrer Haut. Sie sah sich als "die fette Freundin" in ihrer Mädchen-Clique.
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I've got a whole bunch of new followers in the last month so I thought I would just introduce myself and what better what to do that than to start at the very beginning. This is where it all began. This photo. Me wearing a bikini for the first time, with my scars on show! I am Michelle Elman, I am a life coach that specialises in body confidence. I am also a writer (with hopefully a book on the way!) and I am the creator of scarred not scared. I started this campaign with this photo. Sharing the story of me having 15 surgeries, a brain tumour, a punctured intestine, an obstructed bowel, a cyst in my brain and a condition called hydrocephalus. I wanted to start a conversation about scars and show that body positivity isn't just about weight. I ended up going viral appearing on the Today Show, People, The Daily Mail, The Independent, was shared by George Takei and Zooey Deschanel and even being named by Cosmopolitan as one of the top body positive moments of 2015. Earlier this year, I shared a video of everyone else's story, telling the stories of a few people who came forward from the previous summer. It went viral again, appearing in Fox News, BBC Radio London, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, and was shared by Ashton Kutcher. It's been an incredible journey but one that's only just begun. I want to make scars a conversation because I never want anyone to feel alone in their scars. We all have scars, some of ours are just physical. Surgery is hard enough, and coming to terms with changes to your body that were out of control is so difficult. That's why I created this community. Just check out the comment sections under each post. It's a wholly positive space - (very unusual for social media) and the best part is you are totally welcome!! #scarrednotscared
Heute steht Michelle zu ihrem Körper
Heute weiß sie: Es gibt keinen Grund, sich für seine Figur zu schämen. Nie hätte Michelle sich früher einen Bikini gekauft. Nun postet sie ohne Scheu Bikinifotos, auf denen auch ihre Narben deutlich zu sehen sind. "Einen Bikini zu tragen war für mich bisher das Schwerste, was ich jemals getan habe. Aber es war auch das Befreiendste - zu wissen, dass zwei Stofffetzen mich nicht davon abhalten können, mich in meinem Körper wohlzufühlen", sagt Michelle selbstbewusst.
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There's a stereotype around being the "fat girl" in a friendship group. 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 find 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. I couldn't call bullshit more on this stereotype. 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. The difference between now and then is that there's no hesitation, there are no second thoughts and when my friend suggested jumping in the Fjord, I was all "Hell yeah!". Before I would have said yes reluctantly, spent the time hiding as much of my body as possible until the last moment, definitely worn a top and definitely wouldn't have taken photos, let alone been in them. Now, I'm the one suggesting photos, I was the first to whip off my top and the thought that my body was different wasn't there. The fact that I know many girls, fat or skinny, would miss out on opportunities like this is what fuels my body positivity. 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. And ultimately when you are around the right people, you won't EVER feel like the "fat friend". I don't look at these pictures and see me as the odd one out. I look at the pictures and see the memories and the three bodies that we had fun in! #ScarredNotScared Swipe for a video of me high pitch screaming as I jump in!
Zu einem Bild mit einer schlanken Freundin heißt es: "Jetzt schaue ich dieses Foto an und sehe mich nicht als die Komische. Ich schaue es an und sehe die Erinnerungen und die Körper, die Spaß hatten." Ihr Mut löste im Netz eine Welle der Begeisterung aus. Eine Instagram-Userin schreibt: "Du bist eine Inspiration für alle Mädchen auf dieser Welt." Und damit hat sie völlig Recht.