This Powerful Video Will Change the Way You See Your Scars

michelle elman
Michelle Elman/YouTube

Take a second and think about your body in its entirety. Are there any marks or scars that come right to mind? I would bet my money on yes. As our bodies make their way through life, every single one will gain a scar at some time or another. So why don't we ever see scarred humans on the covers of magazines, or in fashion ads, or on the television screen? By default, this makes us feel like we should hide or get rid of our own scars.

  • Body image coach Michelle Elman addresses this very notion in her latest installment of her "Scarred Not Scared" campaign.

    The spoken word video, which took 18 months to make, features Elman and a few other beautifully scarred people reciting a poem written by Elman herself. They express how they're embracing their scars as beautiful, and urge others to do the same.

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  • It's a message at the crux of Elman's work.

    After enduring several surgeries for a variety of conditions at a young age, including a brain tumor and punctured intestine, Elman says her largest insecurities were the scars leftover. She tells CafeMom that becoming a life coach and working at a children's hospital changed the way she saw scars.

    "My aim was simple: to help people with scars realize they aren't alone, talking about scars isn't taboo -- and for the people without scars to realize that with every stare, you are looking at a person, not just a scar," she said.

  • Scars, as the poem starts off with, go against what society deems as beautiful.

    "What I found with my last campaign video is that when men have scars, they are seen as cool, tough, and badass, but when women have scars it's unattractive, shocking, and ugly," Elman tells CafeMom.

    Even Kylie Jenner, the queen of social media, has a scar on her thigh. Yet you'll never see it while browsing through her feeds, because -- just like magazines and ads do -- she hides it with Photoshop or airbrushing. It's like when a movie or show has a character with an illness such as cancer, you don't see scars shown on the actor's body.

    "Because that would be too realistic, not pretty, no matter who you are," Elman says.
  • "Instead of dealing with the PTSD these operations left me, I'm worried about whether with these scars I'm still pretty," one person recited.

    That goes for anyone who gained a scar through an accident, surgery, or even a knife attack. In the poem, Elman opened up about spending her first pocket money on anti-scarring cream and slathering the entire tub on, only to have the scar survive and continue to taunt her.

    More from CafeMom: Woman With Endometriosis Boldly Shows the Dramatic Changes Her Body Goes Through

  • "It cuts deep, not the scar itself, but the memory I keep," the poem continued.

    Elman wants her poem to make people second-guess the assumptions they make about scarred bodies, and to remember that there's usually a personal story surrounding that mark.

  • The poem asked: "Why do we spend our time worrying about stretch marks, cellulite, or scars, when the important thing is that our bodies are ours?"

    "Ours to own, ours to use, ours to decorate," the poem continued. "It's not meant to be the subject of all this hate."

    More from CafeMom: What the 'Perfect' Female Body Looks Like, According to This Insane Instagram Poll

    Elman hopes that people who see her video begin to feel the same way about their own bodies. After all, our body is pretty incredible -- it survives a struggle and then heals itself, so all that's left is a mark of something you overcame. This reminder makes #scarrednotscared a campaign worth following.

body positivity body image self esteem