From moms changing the world to challenging (as well as breaking) the conventional notions of “beauty” and “flaws,” we’re regularly sharing inspiration across the Internet. Plus-size beauty vlogger Loey Lane hit back to trolls who told her she couldn’t wear a bikini. Instagram unblocked the term #curvy because they recognized that the term is closely tied to body positivity. And recently, Italian footwear brand Woz Shoes swore off Photoshop in an effort to promote the idea that “normal is special,” rather than pushing an impossible ideal of beauty. The latest person on our radar is Michelle Elman.

A body positivity coach from the UK, Michelle has suffered from a disease called hydrocephalus for the last 21 years, which is when there is an accumulation of cerebral spinal fluid around the brain. Due to her disease, she’s had a brain tumor, a punctured intestine, an obstructed bowel, a cyst in brain and 15 surgeries to date. According to her, the hardest part hasn’t been the disease itself so much as”dealing with the scars those operations left [her].”


She posted this pic of herself along with an incredibly inspiring caption that talked about how she’d lived most of her life believing she couldn’t wear a bikini due to the reactions from others she received that ranged from “pity to disgust.” For a very long time, she felt isolated and ashamed, but about a month ago, she decided enough was enough. She believes “that no one should have to feel ashamed of their body, whether you have stretch marks or a C-section scar.” And this summer, she is rocking the bikini boldly and bravely (yaaaaasss, girl, yaaaasss!). She uploaded this gorgeous pic of herself and tagged it #scarrednotscared. With that hashtag, Michelle is calling everyone to action to “be proud of our scars.”

After all, behind every scar is a story, and every story, if you choose to share it, is worth being heard.

Do you have any scars, and has this movement changed how you feel about them? Tell us in the comments below!

(h/t Huffington Post, photos via @mindsetforlifeltd)