Flesh-eating bacteria is no joke. If anyone knows that best, it’s Aimee Copeland, who fought a long battle against necrotizing fasciitis after a fall from a zipline left her with a deep cut in her leg. Ultimately, all of her limbs had to be amputated in order to save her life. According to the timeline on AimeeCopeland.com, which appears to have been set up after her accident in 2012, she went from 22 stitches in her calf to life support within a matter of days.
Four years later, and Copeland is doing just fine. She’s since finished her master’s in transpersonal psychology and is working on a second master’s in social work when she’s not doing motivational speaking as an advocate for people with disabilities.
But even ridiculously awesome people have to take a little time off — and that’s just what Copeland is doing. Earlier this week, she posted a photo of herself relaxing on a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“It has taken me a long time to become comfortable with and accept my new body,” she wrote in the caption. “We are ALL made with imperfections and there is so much beauty in our flaws. The scars and skin grafting build character! It’s not about what you have — what you do with what you have is what really counts.”
Copeland’s beach photo has been well-received by her followers, with over 10,000 likes and 700+ comments. And she’s inspired others with perceived bodily imperfections to say, “Screw the patriarchy, I’m wearing my bikini this summer!” As one commenter wrote,
This photo just instantaneously changed my life. I have been wearing sleeves – regardless of the weather – to cover a skin-graft scar from a skin cancer surgery 17 years ago. Today, I say “Screw that!” What an idiot I’ve been! What a minor, petty flaw that I have been letting affect me and my comfort for way too long. Your beauty is so inspiring. I wonder how many others are influenced by your grace and strength? Thank you.
Copeland’s bare-all photo is just one in what appears to be a very healthy trend toward body positivity and acceptance. We can’t all look like the cover of a Women’s Health magazine, and that’s okay. Bodies are beautiful no matter what size the thighs on them are, or no matter where the scars hide.