As I was relaxing in Mexico with my husband, I stood there on the balcony with my cup of coffee and realized how far I’ve come. I'm talking about self love here. Years ago, you would never catch me in a photo bearing so much skin. I hated my body with every ounce of energy I had. I struggled not only with my disability, but my height, weight and proportions, too.

**Side note: Yes, I use the word "disability." Yes, I have a disability. Please don't associate this word with a negative connotation, because disability, to me, is empowering. Disability means strength, wisdom, courage. I'm saddened we, as a society, turned the word "disability" into something negative, something we should feel sorry for. Please never feel sorry for my disability.

The media can really alter the way you perceive yourself. Being told how short I am is like beating a dead horse, and at 125 lbs, I'm constantly reminded by agencies I need to lose weight (which is insane). With a 38" hip measurement, I'm limited in the number of designers who find interest in me.

I have a lot going against me in the fashion industry, let's be realistic here. But what is important to me is that I learn to just love the body I was given. The fashion industry has constantly taught me to hate certain qualities about myself, but over the years, I've learned to embrace those characteristics and love the body I have.

Today, I want you to look in the mirror and say to yourself:

• "I am beautiful."

• "I am worthy."

• "I respect and love myself."

Forget what the media says is beautiful. What's really beautiful is our uniqueness — how different we truly all are. Our skin color, shape, height, weight — these are all things that make us so great. When you learn to love yourself before others, an entire world of opportunities open up to you.

I have a husband, y'all! And I don't think I'd be here, enjoying my marriage and my love for him, without loving myself first.

Gold arm by: Össur, Hanger Clinic & Nub Grafix

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Best known as the "Bionic Model," Rebekah wears one of the most advanced prosthetic hands on the market and breaks down barriers in the mainstream fashion industry.

© 2020 Bionic Model Rebekah Marine

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