Why this woman's first-ever bikini photo is taking over the internet
“I’ve spent the past 18 years of my life waiting,” writes 21-year-old Lesley Miller on the Love What Matters Facebook page. Since these words were first posted on June 2nd, Lesley’s post has acquired over 30,000 likes and for a downright inspiring reason.
“I kept my body covered up and hidden away,” Lesley reveals. “I told myself that one day I would finally let myself be seen; I would finally do all of the things I dreamed of when I was enough. Thin enough, happy enough, confident enough. When my body looked the way that it was ‘supposed’ to.”
Miller explains that she’s always felt ashamed of her body, which has caused her to remain silent in the past. At age 3, she began fighting her body when classmates asked why she was bigger than they were. They also wondered why she wasn’t able to wear the same smock as them.
“When I was seven, I lied to the lady at Weight Watchers, desperate to sit in on meetings full of middle aged women trying to shed a few pounds,” writes Lesley. “When I was nine I went to weight loss camp and stood in line the first week to take my ‘before’ photo.”
When she was only 11 years old, Miller’s surgeon told her that she would be much happier after he cut into her stomach. At the time, she was the youngest person to undergo weight loss surgery. Four years later, Lesley still wasn’t happy and began self-harming.
“When I was twenty, I lost half my body weight in nine months, my worth for the day solely determined by the number on the scale being lower than the day before,” Lesley divulges, asserting: “And then I got tired of waiting.”
Now that she’s 21 years old, Lesley’s perception of herself has changed – for the better. “I bought my first bikini. EVER,” declares the young woman. “You can see it all. Weird bulges and rolls of fat. Hanging excess skin. Stretch marks, cellulite, surgical and self harm scars. Awkward protrusion on my abdomen from my lap band.”
To conclude her empowering story, Lesley writes, “I want to learn to love all of myself, not just the parts I’ve been told are ‘acceptable.’ Because the secret is, I was always enough. And you are too. 🙂”
Ultimately, Lesley’s words remind us that all bodies – no matter the shape, size, or color – are bikini bodies.