Jazz Jennings is turning her scars into stars.
A year and a half after the 19-year-old activist and reality TV personality underwent gender confirmation surgery, Jazz is practicing self-love in honor of the end of 2019. The I Am Jazz star took to Instagram on Tuesday with an empowering message to go along with the first public photos of her surgery scars.
“These are my scars on full display in #2019,” she captioned the bathing suit pic. “I’m proud of my scars and love my body just the way it is. I call them my battle wounds because they signify the strength and perseverance it took to finally complete my transition.”
In a separate Instagram post, Jazz recalled the unexpected and “major” post-surgery complication she endured in 2018. At the time, Jazz was forced to undergo a second procedure to correct the issue. As she described, “It was a tough journey, but experiences like that one only make us stronger in the end. Though it can be hard at times, a positive mindset and the support of those around you can help you conquer any challenge. Thank you to all my fans who have supported me throughout the years!”
It’s been quite a transformative year for Jazz, who graduated from high school in June (as the valedictorian, no less!) and continued her advocacy efforts on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community. She was also accepted into Harvard University, but ultimately deferred her entrance to prioritize her health.
“It wasn’t an easy decision but it is the right one for me. These past few years have been so full and busy that I realized I could use some time to refocus and recenter to be the strongest version of myself,” she wrote at the time. “I am so grateful to have the support of my parents and Harvard in making this decision and look forward to focusing on some self-care and getting prepared to start this exciting next chapter in my life.”
Season 6 of I Am Jazz is expected to air on TLC in 2020.