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Paralyzed bride poses in lingerie because women with disabilities are beautiful too

Julia Horniacek is an independent freelance writer reporting beauty and fashion for SheKnows and Bustle.com, addicted to exercise, coffee and making an attempt to get outside her comfort zone.

Paralyzed bride launches social media campaign encouraging women to show what makes them sexy

With social media movements such as #MakeupFree, #DropTheTowel and #PowerOfMakeup, women are making strides to keep the body positive movement progressing. Rachelle Friedman Chapman launched her own installment to the cause Monday, encouraging women across social media to embrace what makes them sexy.

Like most of us, Chapman experienced a significant amount of insecurity growing up, telling People, “I was not part of the in crowd.” Naturally, growing out of her awkward stage and getting her bearings in college gave Chapman a newfound self-confidence, but that all disappeared in 2010 when one of her bridesmaids pushed Chapman into a pool at her bachelorette party, leaving the bride-to-be paralyzed from the waist down.

More: Paralyzed bride walks down the aisle for her wedding (VIDEO)

Once the world began to see Chapman as the “paralyzed bride,” she began to view herself as less like a human and more like a breathing disability.

“The big thing that I am self-conscious about is the catheter I have to wear all the time,” she admitted to People. “I have to accept it, and I wanted to show people that just because you have this, just own it. It doesn’t have to be the focus of what you are, what you look like.”

More: I want you to #KnowMe beyond my wheelchair

In a successful attempt to let go of her insecurities and realize the beauty beyond her catheter, Chapman posed in a few sexy pieces of lingerie for a social media campaign she hopes will inspire those with disabilities to realize they are beautiful.

“I’m hoping it will inspire others to just focus on the things they love about themselves and not be so critical. I’m encouraging everyone to get on social media and mention something the hashtag #WhatMakesMeSexy.

"It doesn't necessarily even have to be physical," she says. "A sense of humor, courage, confidence, determination are all things I'd consider sexy as well."

More: Not all disabilities are visible, so think before you judge someone

"We all have flaws," Chapman reminds us. "We all have things going for us, and for the first time I'm not hiding my catheter. I'm not hiding anymore."

We allow our so-called imperfections to play a significant role in how we view ourselves. Our weight, disabilities, bad case of acne or uncomfortable height — anything that can be subject to criticism will be. We must change our mindsets. We must shift our focus to what makes us beautiful, what makes us sexy. We are not our flaws. They only contribute to a beauty beyond the surface.

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