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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!

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In films, tv-series en campagnes is er een standaard stereotype terug te zien: die wat dikkere vriendin. Met name actrice Rebel Wilson wordt met haar volle figuur vaak gecast voor deze stereotype rol. De Amerikaanse Michelle Elman zegt al jaren die "dikke vriendin" te zijn en doet een boekje open.

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Nadat Michelle vroeger met verschillende gezondheidsproblemen kampte is ze veel aangekomen en heeft ze een groot litteken op haar buik. En als jonge tiener was ze de enige "dikke vriendin" uit de vriendinnenclub, zo schrijft ze in een openhartige Instagram-post. En juist over dat stereotype wil ze het één en ander kwijt. Vooral over de vooroordelen, want die zitten haar niet lekker.

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Hart luchten
"Die dikke vriendin is het meisje dat altijd aan de zijlijn toekijkt en eigenlijk nooit mee doet. Zij is degene die altijd single is, terwijl haar vriendinnen uitgebreid hun liefdesleven bespreken. Want als zij ooit een vriend zou krijgen zou ze zich nooit comfortabel voelen, naakt of in de slaapkamer. Zij is de onzekere. Degene die constant klaagt over haar figuur en eindeloos praat over diëten. Dit is allemaal onzin dat zit vastgekleefd aan dit stereotype. Sinds mijn elfde ben ik al die "dikke vriendin", maar ik ben nooit, noooooit dát stereotype meisje geweest."

Body positivity
Ondanks dat Michelle zich niet dat dikke meisje voelde, heeft ze wel jarenlang met iets geworsteld: het dragen van een bikini. Maar twee jaar geleden was ze er helemaal klaar mee en dat heeft haar meer kracht gegeven dan ooit."Toen ik mijn bikini eenmaal aan had voelde ik me zo bevrijd. Ik liet niet langer twee stukjes stof me weerhouden om mij comfortabel te voelen in mijn eigen lijf. Ik geloof dat niemand zich hoeft te schamen voor zijn lijf. Laten we aankomende zomer onszelf laten zien, en trots zijn op ons lichaam, de littekens en het verhaal dat ons lichaam ons vertelt. Ondanks wat kranten en tijdschriften ons wijs maken over 'bikini bodies', iedereen heeft het recht om te dragen wat ze willen. Welke maat je ook hebt." Amen!

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WHY I AM IN BODY POSITIVITY - I worried more about my head being shaved than a brain surgery - I worried more about the scar that was created in a 12 hour surgery than whether I would survive that surgery - I worried about having a permanent bald patch on my head more than I did about the fact I had a brain tumour - I worried about weight gain when I started eating after 3 months, rather than celebrating the fact that I was recovered enough to let food pass my lips - I worried about my hair falling out from the multiple surgeries more than I worried about the effect of that anaesthesia on my body - I worried about how slow I was running instead of being grateful for my ability to move - I worried more about what people would say about my body than the fact that my body still worked - I worried more about not being treated like a "weirdo" than processing my emotions - I worried if my body would be the deciding factor to not date me than the fact that the person I date must be there to support my illnesses too - I worried more about the stigma of mental and physical illness more than I worried about myself AND MOST OF ALL... I am in body positivity because each sentence above was written in the past tense and that is only possible because of body positivity. My body positivity is intrinsically linked to my hospital experiences. Every serious incident came with superficial worries about the consequence on my appearance. Every day when I should have been thinking about very real life or death situations, I instead worried about what I looked like. It's why I continue to embrace my scars and why they symbolise more than the physical marks on my body. In every sense of the word, I am Scarred Not Scared #scarrednotscared

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