One step in Michelle's mission to accept and love her body was learning to deal with people's perceptions of those who are bigger than others - or, as Michelle puts it, the "fat friend."
"There's a stereotype around being the "fat girl" in a friendship group," she wrote in a recent body-pose Instagram post. "Since the age of 11, I have always been the "fat" friend. 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. Before I would have said yes reluctantly, spent the time hiding as much of my body as possible until the last moment... and definitely wouldn't have taken photos, let alone been in them. Now, I'm the one suggesting photos."
Michelle hopes to lessen people's reservations about showing their scars in person using the hashtag #scarrednotscared. In her Insta post, she went on to describe how she doesn't want anyone else to feel the way she did about her body.
"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."
Michelle's post contains two photos and one video of her jumping in a lake in her bra with her friends. The post has had nearly 6,000 likes and plenty of positive comments. "Beautiful inside and out. The world needs more people like you," one user said. "Thank you so much for articulating this! I've felt this for a long time but not been able to clearly express it. Fat isn't a dirty word. We can be fat and beautiful and brave and interesting and confident," said another.
Ultimately, Michelle's message is one of self love and confidence: "No one should have to feel ashamed of their body, whether you have stretch marks or a C-section scar. This summer, let’s stand up and be proud of our scars and what they represent – a story."
Are you empowered by Michelle's story? Let us know @soFeminineUK
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