A health and confidence advocate says a "beach body" is all about feeling.
Meghan Cary Brown, from Virginia, took to Instagram earlier this week with a carousel of snaps from the beach sporting a black and white Aerie swimsuit and a hot pink button down.
She proudly displayed her ostomy bag, which the influencer has had for more than six years. Brown was diagnosed with a precancerous colon at age 24.
Brown captioned her post saying it took her a long time to learn "having a summer beach body isn’t about how you look or what you wear — it’s all about how you feel."
Since having her surgery, Brown admitted she felt restricted to covering up.
"I felt like showing my bag was taboo and I feared making others uncomfortable or worried about what they’d think."
"But the longer that I’ve lived with my ostomy, the more I’ve thought about how this is permanent," she said. "I am literally going to be living with this forever and I don’t want to look back and regret not doing something for myself — like wearing the biikini."
Brown said people did stare at her at the beach, "but I did this for me and it felt beyond amazing to finally feel myself again at the beach."
She encouraged her nearly-10,000 followers to wear what makes them happy.
"You look so beautiful. And people who stare? Well. We all will deal with something in life so they should fasten their seatbelts," one Instagram user commented.
"You look amazing! I’ve had mine for [one] year now... and wouldn’t have it any other way," another added, "because I’m here living my best life with my family again."
Someone else chimed in, "Well done for being so brave and confident in your own body and stoma. You give me the hope that one day I will be as confident as you with my own stoma." They continued: "We need more [positive] people like you in the world."